During today’s Goldman Sach’s Technology and Internet Conference, Tim Cook was asked whether there’s something in Apple’s culture or business model that turns it against large acquisitions.
Some analysts speculated that Apple might be interested in buying Dell or Nokia, but Apple never decided to buy either company and has instead focused on buying smaller companies. Tim Cook says that Apple isn’t against buying big companies, but none of them have passed Apple’s tests.
Cook explained that, over the past five years or so, Apple has acquired a new company every other month, but each of those companies has either really smart people or really great intellectual property that they’re working on.
The big factor that determines whether Apple will acquire a company depends on whether those smart people and their IP can help make better products for Apple. Cook described how they decided to acquire PA Semi a few years ago.
“With PA Semi we were in the process to design the engine that is in today’s iPhone. We took the incredibly skilled group of guys and used them to supplement the staff off Apple to work on the iPhone, iPad and iOS device engines,” Cook said. We’ve done many others that are similar nature to that and will do many more like those.”
Apple’s looked at acquiring large companies, but Cook says that none of them have passed their tests for various reasons. “I’m sure we’ll look again and could do it again, but we’re disciplined and thoughtful and we don’t feel the pressure to go out and acquire revenue. If a large company can help us make great products then we’ll go over them.”
“Our cash isn’t burning a hole in our pocket.”
It sounds like Apple, probably will buy a major company within the next few years, but the culture within that company would have to match up closely with Apple’s and they would have to be making some great products or have some great tech to help Apple. But on the other hand, would such a company be in a spot where they need to be purchased by Apple? Probably not.