Behind the scenes

Apple’s acquisitions: tech giant’s legacy built on a healthy business strategy

CEO Tim Cook looks to ‘small, innovative’ firms to push Apple products forward

Tim Cook has revealed that Apple has bought nearly 100 small businesses in the past six years as part of a corporate strategy to bring new technology and talent into the California-based firm.

Speaking at a virtual annual meeting of shareholders on Tuesday, the Apple chief executive said it works out at one new acquisition “every three to four weeks”, the BBC reports. The iPhone-maker’s spending spree saw 20 to 25 companies purchased in the six months to May 2019 alone, Gizmodo added. 

“We’re not afraid to look at acquisitions of any size,” said Cook. “Focus is on small, innovative companies that complement our products and help push them forward.”

In the past ten years the biggest acquisition by Apple was the $3bn deal in 2014 for Beats Electronics – the company founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop star Dr Dre. Other major deals include the $400m purchase of music recognition software company Shazam in 2018.

Apple’s list of acquisitions and investments is “extremely varied”, the BBC adds. In the past 12 months the Cupertino-headquartered tech giant has bought “several artificial intelligence companies, a virtual reality events business, a payments startup and a podcast business, among others”.

Tim Cook is CEO of Apple
World’s most valuable brand 

In January Apple surpassed Amazon and Google to become the most valuable brand in the world for the first time in five years, Business Insider reported. According to Forbes the company has a brand value of $241.2bn (£170.5bn) compared to Google’s $207.5bn (£146.7bn) and Microsoft’s $162.9bn (£115.18bn).  

Beyond its flagship iPhone device, Apple has expanded with new products and services including Apple Watch, App Store, iCloud, Apple Podcasts, Music, TV, and Arcade. It’s also reportedly planning to build a self-driving electric car by 2024.

Apple’s diversification strategy has “paid off”, says Business Insider, with its brand value increasing by 87% last year. 

Apple Time to Walk
Time to Walk: a healthy business strategy 

“Apple is working on something that will be even bigger than the iPhone,” says tech news website BGR

In a recent interview with Outside Magazine, Cook said the future for Apple will be in fitness. With products such as the Apple Watch, he has ambitions to make health and wellness the company’s greatest legacy.

“I really believe that if you zoom out to the future and then look back and ask, ‘What has Apple’s greatest contribution been?’ it will be in the health and wellness area,” said the Apple boss. 

Last month Apple launched Time to Walk, an audio walking experience on Apple Fitness+ which aims to inspire Apple Watch users to walk more. Episodes feature personal stories, photos, and music from guests such as country music star Dolly Parton, NBA player Draymond Green and Emmy award-winner Uzo Aduba. 

In a tweet, Cook said: “Walking has always been one of my favourite ways to clear my head and gain new perspectives. We hope Time to Walk can bring a little inspiration, some companionship and perhaps a laugh, all while enjoying the benefits of one of the healthiest activities.”

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