Apple's Tim Cook has said the tech giant is mainly looking to acquire intellectual property and talent when it buys up companies.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on May 7, 2019

In an interview with CNBC, Tim Cook said Apple had acquired between 20 and 25 companies in the last half year alone.

Speaking from the annual Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting, the high-profile CEO said the company “acquire(s) everything that we need that can fit and has a strategic purpose”. This has meant Apple has been making an acquisition every two to three weeks on average.

“If we have money left over, we look to see what else we (can) do,” he said.

Tim Cook has overseen massive investment during his time leading Apple

The cashed-up tech colossus recently reported having US$225 billion cash in hand after the March quarter.

It still had US$113 billion in debt but plans to become net cash neutral in the long term.

Apple has also invested heavily in infrastructure and new facilities under Tim Cook.Buoyed by Trump’s tax cuts, it promised to invest US$30 billion in a new campus in Austin, Texas (which will cost US$1 billion and is expected to create 15,000 jobs) as well as upgrading its facilities in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California.

Cook said that building the Texas facility was the company’s number one priority but suggested that it was open to other acquisitions. Many of the purchases have been small and unpublicised.

Some of the acquisitions may help Apple move into the paid digital content sphere. Last year it purchased Texture, a digital magazine app. It has already retired that service and appears to be seeking to leverage the technology it gained in the acquisition with its plans for utilise a flat fee Netflix-like model for its premium Apple News service to be launched later in 2019.

The paid Apple News option is scheduled to become available later this month and will offer users access to content from hundreds of magazines, including prestige titles like Variety, Sports Illustrated, Esquire and GQ as well as papers like the Los Angeles Times.

Apple has made a number of acquisitions in the digital music space

Apple has also made a number of strategic purchases around music. Since the back half of 2018, it has bought the music recognition app Shazam, music analytics startup Asaii and Platoon, an artist development startup that allows musicians to produce, distribute and sell their own music.

The acquisitions mark a different tack for Apple in the Tim Cook era. It has generally not been known as an acquisitive company though it has made the occasional high-profile purchase, including snapping up headphone producer Beats for US$3 billion back in 2014.