Apple Bought the Most AI Companies From 2016 to 2020

Apple is the leading buyer of companies in the global artificial intelligence space, according to data shared today by GlobalData. From 2016 to 2020, Apple acquired the highest number of AI companies, beating out Accenture, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, all of whom also had a high number of AI acquisitions.

ai company acquisitions
Over the course of the last several years, Apple has bought companies like Emotient, Turi, Glimpse, RealFace, Shazam, SensoMotoric, Silk Labs, Drive.ai, Laserlike, SpectralEdge, Voysis, XNOR.ai, and more, all with the aim of improving the AI and machine learning capabilities of its products and services.

Apple does not make all of its acquisitions public, so it's possible there are other artificial intelligence companies that Apple has purchased that have gone under the radar.

During Apple's February shareholders meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple had acquired close to 100 companies over the course of the last six years. "We're not afraid to look at acquisitions of any size," said Cook. "Focus is on small, innovative companies that complement our products and help push them forward."

According to GlobalData analyst Aurojyoti Bose, growing competition in the AI space has led to an acquisition spree.

"Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook collectively undertook 60 acquisitions in the AI tech space during 2016-2020 while Apple led the race with 25 acquisitions. AI has remained a key focus area for tech giants and growing competition to dominate the space has resulted in an acquisition spree among these companies."

Many of Apple's acquisitions have been aimed at improving Siri. Apple purchased Inductiv to improve ‌Siri‌'s data, while Voysis was acquired to improve ‌Siri‌'s understanding of natural language. PullString, meanwhile, makes it easier for iOS developers to use ‌Siri‌ features in apps.

"Apple has gone on a shopping spree in efforts to catch up with Google (Google Assistant) and Amazon (Alexa). Siri was first on the market, but it consistently ranks below the two in terms of "smartness", which is partly why Apple is far behind in smart speaker sales. Apple also want to make sure to keep its strong position within wearables. It is the dominant player in smartwatches. The acquisition of Xnor.ai last year was made to improve its on-edge processing capabilities, which has become important as it eliminates the need for data to be sent to the cloud, thereby improving data privacy."

Other acquisitions are aimed at future products, like Drive.ai, a self-driving startup that Apple purchased in 2019, presumably to further its autonomous car development project.

All of the above listed companies are also on an "AI talent-hiring spree" and collectively posted more than 14,000 jobs in the AI space in 2020.

Top Rated Comments

ian87w Avatar
18 months ago
And yet Siri still sucks... :D

So much for AI.
Or should I say, thank goodness. This means SkyNet is still far away from reality.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DocMultimedia Avatar
18 months ago
That sure is a lot of AI for having Siri say "I'm not sure what you are talking about."
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FlyGuyDEN Avatar
18 months ago
Yet Siri is still a total ****ing **** show.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArPe Avatar
18 months ago
Hope they are good. Many AI start ups are fake to get funding from VC (also known as vampire capitalists) firms. They say they have some kind of machine learning coffee machine that can tell how much caffeine you need if you stick your retina in the camera when you really just need a damn simple good cup of coffee.

Or they say they have some magic AI that can write your term paper but in reality it’s some human slave in Philippines who is being beaten with a stick to make him write faster.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Blackstick Avatar
18 months ago
Me: Hey Siri, what time is it?

S: "I'm on it..."
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Razorpit Avatar
18 months ago
My favorite recent Siri moment...

"Siri add milk to the grocery store list." (They same list we've been using for ~ 5 years at least.)
"I'm on it. To which list would you like me to add it to?"
"Grocery"
"To which list would you like me to add it to?"
"Grocery"
"To which list would you like me to add it to?"
"Gro-cer-y"
"To which list would you like me to add it to?"
"F off Siri."
(Wife laughs at me.)

Happening all the time now.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

vanarama apple car concept

Report: Apple Developing Apple Car Autopilot Function With South Korean Partner

Tuesday February 22, 2022 3:59 am PST by
Apple has developed the chip modules and packages for the autopilot functions of its rumored Apple Car with the help of an outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) company based in South Korea, claims a new report today. Apple Car concept by Vanarama based on patents filed by Apple OSAT is a service that suppliers often provide to partners that involves semiconductor assembly,...
arm logo blue bg

Nvidia Likely Pulling Out of Arm Acquisition After Failing to Win Regulatory Approval

Tuesday January 25, 2022 11:37 am PST by
Nvidia is no longer planning to acquire chip maker Arm after failing to win approval for the venture, reports Bloomberg. Nvidia will "quietly" abandon the purchase because it has made no progress in gaining support from regulators and is facing an FTC lawsuit blocking the deal. Nvidia in September 2020 announced plans to purchase Arm from SoftBank for $40 billion, but it was clear from the...
Steve Jobs garage

Today Marks Steve Jobs' 67th Birthday as MacRumors Turns 22

Thursday February 24, 2022 4:46 am PST by
Born on February 24, 1955, if Steve Jobs were alive today, he would celebrate his 67th birthday. Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, tragically died in 2011 after his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was just 56. Apple under Jobs unarguably changed the world, from the launch of the very first Apple computer in 1976 to the launch of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Jobs founded and ran...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
european parliament

EU Provisionally Agrees on Law That Would Force Apple to Allow Alternative App Stores, Sideloading, and iMessage Interoperability

Friday March 25, 2022 4:46 am PDT by
European lawmakers have provisionally agreed upon a new law that would force Apple to allow user access to third-party app stores and permit the sideloading of apps on iPhones and iPads, among other sweeping changes designed to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive. The European Council and European Parliament said on Friday they had reached a political agreement on the...
credit kudos apple

Apple Acquires UK Banking Startup in Potential Hint at International Apple Card Launch

Wednesday March 23, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Apple has acquired Credit Kudos, a UK open banking startup that seeks to help lenders make better decisions (via The Block). Credit Kudos offers insights and scores based on loan applications drawn from transaction and loan outcome banking data, sourced by the UK's open banking framework. The company's API offers lenders a way to get faster, automated decision-making about loans with reduced ...
apple privacy

Apple Fined $11 Million in Italy for Employing 'Aggressive Methods' in Commercial Use of Private Data

Friday November 26, 2021 2:16 am PST by
Apple and Google were today fined 10 million euros ($11 million) by Italy's Competition Authority for allegedly using user data for commercial purposes without their explicit consent, an apparent violation of Italy's Consumer Code. The authority claims that both Apple and Google utilize user data they collect through their services for promotional and economic activity without the user's...
iPhone 12 Pro Layout

Chinese AI Firm Wants Apple to Stop iPhone Production Over Patent Infringement Claims

Wednesday September 8, 2021 3:31 am PDT by
Ahead of next week's Apple event, which is expected to include the launch of the iPhone 13 lineup, a Chinese AI firm is asking a court to stop the production and sale of the iPhone in China, alleging that Siri infringes upon its patent, South China Morning Post reports. Apple last year was hit with a $1.4 billion lawsuit from the Chinese AI firm Xiao-i Robot, which claims Apple violated its...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
z fold 4 1

Hands-On With Samsung's Latest Foldable Smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip

Friday August 12, 2022 12:46 pm PDT by
Samsung this week launched its fourth-generation foldable devices, the $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip and the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold. Though there's no sign of a comparable Apple foldable device on the horizon, rumors suggest prototypes are in the works, so we thought we'd take a look at Samsung's newest smartphones to see what Apple needs to measure up to when a foldable iPhone does come out. Subscribe ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro: Analyst Believes Storage Will Continue to Start at 128GB Despite Rumored Price Increase

Friday August 12, 2022 7:04 am PDT by
It wouldn't be the month before an iPhone launch without a few back-and-forth rumors, with the latest debate concerning iPhone 14 Pro storage. iPhone 14 Pro render by Ian Zelbo While research firm TrendForce forecasted that iPhone 14 Pro models could start with an increased 256GB of storage, Haitong International analyst Jeff Pu today forecasted that the upcoming Pro models will continue to...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
top stories 13aug2022

Top Stories: New Battery Percentage Icon in iOS 16, USB-C AirPods Rumor, and More

Saturday August 13, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
This week brought some shocking news for iOS 16 beta testers, with Apple bringing back the iPhone battery percentage to the status bar after a number of years. Other news and rumors this week included word that Apple has started recording portions of its media event planned for next month to introduce the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8, claims about iPhone 14 Pro pricing and Apple's...