Although Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) didn’t purchase any large companies in fiscal year 2013, it bought three times as many small companies than it did the previous year. CEO Tim Cook noted Apple’s steady increase in acquisitions during the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call in October. “We also completed 15 strategic acquisitions,” said Cook. “That’s an average of one acquisition every three to four weeks.” As noted by Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple only bought five companies during fiscal year 2012.
Unlike Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Apple does not typically try to acquire large businesses. Instead the company focuses on buying smaller companies when it needs to acquire a specific technology for a certain product or service. “None of these acquisitions that Apple does gives them new users or revenue,” Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture capitalist Matt Murphy told Bloomberg Businessweek. “It augments their innovation that they do internally.”
For example, Apple was likely attempting to bolster its Apple Maps app when it bought location data company Locationary, mass transit navigation app company HopStop, and transit system app company Embark earlier this year. Similarly, Apple likely acquired the personal assistant app Cue and social analytics company Topsy Labs in order to improve Siri’s capabilities.