Acquisitions were a major topic of discussion during the big tech antitrust hearing earlier this week, but the focus was primarily on Apple’s competitors, including Amazon and Facebook. In a new interview with CNBC today, Apple CEO Tim Cook offered additional details on what he believes sets Apple’s acquisition strategy apart from the competition.
Cook’s argument in the interview is that Apple doesn’t acquire a company because it’s a competitor — which is the accusation being levied against Facebook for its acquisition of Instagram. Instead, Cook emphasizes that Apple acquires a company to eventually implement the technology into the iPhone:
“If you look at the things behind the investigation, the things are acquisitions, and if you noticed, we didn’t get any questions on acquisitions because our approach on acquisitions has been to buy companies where we have challenges, and IP, and then make them a feature of the phone,” Cook said in the interview.
Cook points out a specific example of this. “An example of that was Touch ID. We bought a company that accelerated a Touch ID at a point,” the Apple CEO told CNBC. There are plenty of other examples too, ranging from smaller acquisitions of AI technology for improving Siri to Apple’s acquisition of the Beddit sleep tracking company.
Apple’s largest acquisition to date is Beats, which it acquired in 2014 for $3 billion. One of Apple’s most recent acquisitions was Dark Sky, a weather app that now serves as the basis of new features in the Weather app on iPhone in iOS 14.
As CNBC points out, Apple reveals very little detail about its acquisitions because the deals are small enough that they don’t need to be reported to the SEC. In fact, this interview marks one of the few times where Cook has directly addressed Apple’s strategy for acquiring smaller companies from time to time. Last year, Cook said in an interview that Apple acquires a company every two to three weeks on average.
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