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
26 weeks 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
26 weeks 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
26 weeks ago
Yet Siri is still a total ****ing **** show.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArPe Avatar
26 weeks 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
26 weeks ago
Me: Hey Siri, what time is it?

S: "I'm on it..."
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Razorpit Avatar
26 weeks 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)

Top Stories

Twitter Feature

Twitter Opens Spaces to All Users With More Than 600 Followers

Monday May 3, 2021 10:31 am PDT by
Beginning on Monday, Twitter will enable anyone with at least 600 followers on its platform to host Spaces, its version of the audio room network Clubhouse. Announced via a blog post, Twitter says that its decision to open up the functionality to users with at least 600 followers came following feedback from Twitter users and the community. Spaces originally launched last year, but so far...
Apple car wheel icon feature triad

Apple Car Project Loses 'Several' Top Managers

Wednesday June 2, 2021 5:51 am PDT by
Apple has lost "several" top managers from its internal Apple Car project, codenamed "Project Titan," causing a potential setback to the launch of the self-driving car, according to a new report from Bloomberg. From the report: Apple Inc. has lost multiple top managers of its self-driving car team in recent months, a sign of attrition at the division involved in what could become an...
apple us investments

Apple Announces $430 Billion Investment to Create 20,000 US Jobs Over Next Five Years

Monday April 26, 2021 4:51 am PDT by
Apple today reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to create jobs and opportunities in the United States by announcing a $430 billion investment over the next five years. The new investment will help create more than 20,000 new jobs across the country and beats its previous investment of $350 billion announced in 2018. The new round of job creation will focus on innovations from 5G,...
apple tv 4k design blue

CNBC Details 2015 Acquisition Talks Between Apple and Time Warner

Tuesday May 25, 2021 1:37 pm PDT by
Back in 2015, Apple considered purchasing Time Warner, with Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue suggesting Apple bid on the media conglomerate. Discussions did not ultimately progress and there was no purchase, but CNBC today provided some previously unknown background information about the talks between the two companies. Eddy Cue met with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and former executive vice...
buddybuildapple

Canadian Startup Buddybuild Shutting Down Following 2018 Apple Acquisition

Monday March 1, 2021 1:10 am PST by
Vancouver-based app startup, Buddybuild, will officially shut down in the fall of this year following Apple's acquisition of the company in 2018. In an email sent to existing customers, Buddybuild says that services will no longer be supported as of March 31, 2021, and updates ceased. By the fall, the company will shut down operations altogether. In the run-up to the closure, Buddybuild is...
Screen Shot 2021 03 08 at 1

Apple Listed as 'Leader' In TIME's Most 100 Influential Companies List of 2021

Tuesday April 27, 2021 5:59 am PDT by
Apple has been listed as "Leader" on the TIME's newly released list of the 100 Most Influential Companies of 2021, continuing the Cupertino tech giant's streak of dominating lists for the most influential and admired companies in the world. TIME says that Apple's record-breaking holiday quarter, its growing selection of products and services, and the way it handled the global health crisis...
mgm

Amazon to Acquire MGM for $8.45 Billion Amid Competition With the Likes of Netflix and Apple TV+

Wednesday May 26, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
Amazon today announced it has reached an agreement with MGM to acquire the entertainment company for $8.45 billion, following a report last year that claimed MGM had reached out to Apple to gauge interest in a potential acquisition. The acquisition of MGM will likely bolster Amazon Prime Video's catalog of movies and TV shows amid increasing competition from the likes of Netflix, Disney+,...
tim cook mark zuckerberg

Tim Cook Urged Mark Zuckerberg to Delete User Data From 3rd Party Apps in Private 2019 Meeting

Monday April 26, 2021 4:33 am PDT by
At a private meeting on the sidelines of an informal gathering of tech and social media executives in July of 2019 in Sun Valley, Idaho, Apple CEO Tim Cook urged Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg to delete all user information his company has collected from third-party apps, according to The New York Times. According to the Times, the executives met annually at the conference...
aapl logo banner

Apple Ranks Third in Annual Fortune 500 List With $275 Billion Revenue

Wednesday June 2, 2021 7:47 am PDT by
Apple has regained its third-place position in the annual Fortune 500 rankings of the largest companies in the United States by revenue. Apple earned $274.5 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year, an increase of 5.5 percent, and made $57.4 billion in profit, a 3.9 percent increase. Last year, Apple fell to fourth place, but now the company returned to third place, only surpassed by...
Android 12 vs iOS 14 Feature

Google Previews Android 12 With Deeper Customization and iOS 14-Inspired Privacy Protections

Tuesday May 18, 2021 1:15 pm PDT by
During its Google I/O developers conference today, Google previewed Android 12, the next version of Android that will ship to millions of Android devices around the world later this year. Google is mainly targeting customization as the theme for this year's new release and a new design language that it's calling "Material You." Google says this new design language brings a "humanistic...