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Apple Makes Acquisitions Like Clockwork, Every Three to Four Weeks

This might be hard to imagine. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently commented that his company has acquired nearly 100 companies over the last six years. That comes out to about one acquisition every three to four weeks, Cook explained in a meeting of shareholders.

Apple’s market capitalization of $2.1 trillion is the largest of any U.S. company. The Cupertino, California-based giant has enjoyed a robust year of trading. Demand for its products and services has skyrocketed in the pandemic.

In February, Apple reported a record quarterly revenue of $111.4bn. This revenue put Apple in an exclusive group of companies to earn more than $100bn in a single three-month period.

Cook remarked that Apple’s acquisition strategy was designed to bolster its offering both in terms of technology and talent, Bloomberg reported.

Apple’s largest acquisition of the recent past was its 2014 takeover of Beats, the headphone maker and streaming service founded by rapper and producer Dr Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine.

At the time, many analysts were “baffled” by the $3bn purchase.

Cook emphasized in 2014 the importance of the music content. “We get a subscription music service that we believe is the first subscription service that really got it right,” he said. “They had the insight early on to know how important human curation is.”

Apple Park by Arne Müseler

“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” said Jimmy Iovine when the sale was announced. He had reason to be happy. He and Dre joined Apple as part of the acquisition. They pocketed $2.6 billion in cash and $400 million in stock.

Cook said in 2014 that Apple could have built its own subscription service and headphones. But he saw Beats as offering far more than that thanks in part to “incredible” and “creative” people — particularly Iovine and Dre. Moreover, Cook said he sees Beats’ business as being strongly complimentary to Apple’s. Cook predicted that there’s much more they can do together in the future.

“The point is that Jimmy and Dre have built something phenomenal. And they have phenomenal skills,” Cook told Recode. “And we can begin, the instant that this deal is approved, working on the future together. I think that future is better than either company could create on their own.”

In 2018, Apple spent $400m to acquire the music recognition app Shazam.

Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music, said at the time, “Apple and Shazam have a long history together. Shazam was one of the first apps available when we launched the App Store and has become a favorite app for music fans everywhere.”

Shazam lets users identify songs simply by listening to the music playing around them. The app will soon offer its experience ad-free for all users. In that way, everyone can enjoy the best of Shazam without interruption.

In April of 2019, Apple signed a $600m licensing deal with British chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor.

About 300 Dialog workers headed to Apple. Apple signed the deal in October of 2018. As a result, Dialog received a payment from Apple of $300 million in cash for the transaction. It also received prepayment of $300 million for delivery of Dialog products over the ensuing three years. Apple also awarded a number of new contrcts to Dialog for development and supply of other mixed-signal integrated circuits.

Since the iPhones debuted, Apple has used Dialog power-management chips to extend their battery life. With the acquisition, Apple purchased the company’s intellectual property.

Ryan Carpenter serves as Attorney and Managing Director of Carpenter Wellington. Ryan advises clients across a broad set of corporate and commercial matters.

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