Apple Slows Pace of Buying Startups in the Past Two Years: Report

According to a report from Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, Apple has significantly restricted its acquisitions of other companies since the beginning of 2021.

The Cupertino, California-based company spent roughly $200 million USD on acquisitions from the beginning of its fiscal 2021 to date. In comparison, Apple paid $1.5 billion towards acquisitions in its fiscal 2020 alone.

Image: Bloomberg

Apple historically hasn’t been the type to go after big-ticket companies. However, the iPhone maker would previously acquire startups and companies it saw potential in every few weeks. In February 2021, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple had acquired 100 companies in the six years prior. Now, in an analysis by Bloomberg, we see just how few companies Apple has acquired in the past couple of years.

Apple would particularly seek out companies whose technologies and talent it could incorporate into its own products or use to develop new ones.

In stark contrast, Apple acquired just one company in its fiscal 2021, the classical-music streaming service Primephonic. So far in 2022, the company has only bought two U.K.-based businesses — credit calculation technology developer Credit Kudos, and artificial intelligence-powered custom music generator AI Music.

A recent analysis of Apple’s acquisitions since 2018 revealed a sharp focus on companies working in AR/VR and AI.

The change in Apple’s appetite for acquisitions could be an indicator of the company scaling back its spending due to ongoing economic uncertainty. Increased regulatory scrutiny of Apple and the tech space as a whole could factor in as well.

Now, there’s also the possibility that Apple wants to develop the technologies and intellectual property it has already acquired and bring the resulting products to market before acquiring more companies. Apple has been working on a line of mixed reality products for quite some time now, the first of which isn’t even expected to launch until early 2023.

Alternatively, the tech giant simply may not need or be interested in anything right now. Mr. Cook is also quite fond of share buybacks, so it’s not like the company’s extensive cash stockpiles are sitting idle.

Apple ended its last fiscal quarter with a whopping $179 billion in cash and cash equivalents. However, Mr. Cook recently said that Apple will be more “deliberate” with its expenditures in the near term.