Apple Acquired The Highest Number Of AI Startups In Last 5 Years

Apple Acquired The Highest Number Of AI Startups In Last 5 Years

Apple Inc. (AAPL) went on an acquisition spree during the last five years and acquired more artificial intelligence companies than other U.S. technology giants during the period, according to new research from GlobalData.

What Happened: The Cupertino, California-based company acquired 25 AI startups during the five-year period from 2016 to 2020, leading the acquisition race that was dominated by U.S. tech giants.

Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGGOOGL) Google, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), and Facebook Inc. (FB) were the other U.S.-based companies that dominated the deal-making landscape in the AI tech space. Ireland-based Accenture plc (ACN) was the only non-U.S. company to appear in the list of the top five acquirers.

Collectively — Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook undertook 60 acquisitions in the AI tech space. Accenture acquired 17 companies and Google bought 14 companies during the period.

Apple’s acquisition of AI companies is mainly related to improving Siri, the virtual assistant on Apple devices, or creating new features on its iPhones, according to Nicklas Nilsson, Senior Analyst on the Thematic Research Team at GlobalData.

Why It Matters: Apple’s acquisition spree highlights the company’s consistent efforts to catch up with Alphabet’s Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. While Apple lags in smart speaker sales, the company dominates in the smartwatches segment.

In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook was quoted as saying that the tech giant acquires a company every month or so and has acquired about 100 companies over the last six years, according to a CNBC report.

Apple acquired self-driving startup Drive.ai in June 2019. It was also reported in August last year that Apple purchased Montreal-based contactless mobile payment startup Mobeewave.

The iPhone maker has also been quietly been working on pushing into the virtual reality and augmented space for years. The company confirmed in May last year that it acquired virtual reality startup NextVR and the acquisition of Spaces in August.

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