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Apple acquires 100 companies in six years

TIM Cook, Apple’s chief executive, revealed that the company has acquired about 100 companies over the last six years -- buying a company every three to four weeks.

Apple recently delivered its largest quarter by revenue of all time, bringing in $111.4 billion (£78.7 billion) in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2021.

Cook told the shareholders meeting that the acquisitions are mostly aimed at acquiring technology and talent.

Apple’s largest acquisition in the last decade was its $3bn purchase of Beats Electronics, the headphone maker founded by rapper and producer Dr Dre. Another high-profile purchase was music recognition software company Shazam, for $400m in 2018.

Most often, Apple buys smaller technology firms and then incorporates their innovations into its own products. Apple has also invested in back-end technology that would not be so obvious to iPhone or Macbook users.

Apple is an immensely profitable juggernaut worth more than $2 trillion, so it has plenty of money to make acquisitions. But even if it has bought 100 companies in six years, Apple appears to be very selective about what it buys.

Measured by value, Apple’s acquisitions are actually far more restrained than those of many of its tech rivals.

Microsoft paid $26 billion for LinkedIn, Amazon paid $13.7 billion for Whole Foods and Facebook paid $19 billion for WhatsApp.

Apple’s ten largest purchases put together would still be worth far less than any of those deals.