Apple quietly gobbles up small companies

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Apple acquisitions
As easy as a stroll down the street.
Photo: Drew Angerer

When Apple sees something it likes, it merely dips into a prodigious cash reserve for an easy purchase.

How easy? CEO Tim Cook says Apple buys a company every couple of weeks.

Cook, usually mum about company acquisitions, told CNBC over the weekend that Apple has bought 20 to 25 companies in the last six months alone.

“We acquire everything that we need that can fit and has a strategic purpose to it,” Cook said in an interview at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting. “(Apple is) primarily looking for talent and intellectual property.”

Many of the companies are small. During one day this year, Feb.15, Cult of Mac reported on two: Pullstring, which creates apps for digital assistants, and a small digital marketing company called DataTiger.

Neither purchase price was made public, but analysts speculated Pullstring was worth more than $30 million.

Some offer a glimpse into future products. In March 2018, Apple bought Texture, a digital subscription service for magazines. A year later, Apple rolled out its new flat-fee subscription service, Apple News+.

Apple’s most expensive acquisition is the 2014 purchase of Beats, which, at a reported $3 billion, made Dr. Dre even richer.

Apple is cash-rich. Apple told investors during last week’s second-quarter earnings call it has $225.4 billion on reserve.