Tim Cook: Apple Has Bought 9 Companies Already This Year

| Analysis

Piles of MoneyApple has bought nine companies in fiscal 2013, according to CEO Tim Cook. The comments came at this year's D conference when Mr. Cook was asked by Kara Swisher why Apple didn't purchase more companies.

"Let's talk about something more mundane—your money. Your piles and piles of money," Ms. Swisher said, according to The Verge. " Why doesn't Apple do anything with it?"

"In previous years, we were on a pace of acquiring a company every 70 days or so, so we'd acquire six or seven companies in a year," Mr. Cook replied. "This year we've already acquired 9 companies."

Apple's fiscal year starts at the beginning of October, but even nine acquisitions in just under eight months would mean that Apple has dramatically stepped up its acquisitions strategy. This is even more interesting in that word of these purchases has largely gone unreported.

Walt Mossberg addressed this point when he asked if Apple had announced all of those acquisitions. According to GigaOM's Tom Krazit, Mr. Cook replied, "Of course not!" The Verge also said that Mr. Cook replied with, "Only when we have to."

That means that Apple has been picking up private companies, as publicly-owned and traded companies have to go through a process of announcing when they are bought.

Walt Mossberg also asked if Apple was looking at any large acquisitions. Historically, Apple has bought companies for a few hundred million dollars at most, companies whose people and technology can then be incorporated into Apple's culture and products.

"We're not currently looking at a big one," Mr. Cook said, "but we're not opposed to doing that. The key is will it help us make a great product?" He added, "We're not afraid of large acquisitions."

We want to emphasize that Apple buying nine companies in the last eight months is a big deal. The company has often been accused of not using its vast cash hoard to great effect—a charge that has had merit since Apple crossed the US$100 billion mark—but doubters should take note. Apple is clearly willing to be aggressive when it sees the need.



Looking at a big one…Hmmm.

Microsoft? Switch all of Windows to a ‘nix core and release office for the iPad. Make Ballmer into the janitor.
Adobe? Kick out every executive there and fix the software so it doesn’t need to be patched twice a day. Make the guy that pushed Creative Cloud into the janitor.
Dell? Use the manufacturing facilities for the new Mac model to be made in the US. Make Michael Dell into the janitor unless he liquidates all his assets and gives it back to the shareholders.
Samsung? Switching over to make legitimate Apple products would cost next to nothing.
Facebook? Just to do the world a favour.
BlackBerry? Just to put it out of its misery.
Paraguay? Just for the hell of it.

Any other ideas?


AutoDesk and/or Garmin.


Yahoo. For all the yahoos out there wanting money to be spent. Ford. To design an iCar. A wireless telecom and cable provider. To bring some new ideas to stuck in the past industries.


Frankly, I’m more interested in seeing what they are doing with the $3B-$4B R&D they are spending annually than the companies they are buying.  They already have significant talent internally.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account