updated 04:05 am EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Most remain undisclosed, but details on Beats buyout rationale emerge
Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed during Tuesday's conference call with analysts that Apple had acquired 30 companies and/or their talent over the course of the past nine months, back to the beginning of the fiscal year which began last October. Of these, less than half have been publicly revealed -- though a few of the higher-profile buyouts, such as the record-setting Beats Electronics and Music deal, have made headlines. On the topic of the latter company, Cook shared a bit more detail on the thinking behind it.
When asked to comment by an analyst on the nature of the new IBM partnership and Beats acquisition with a view to the possibility of other "big" deals like those, Cook said that Apple was "very excited about our agreement to purchase Beats Electronics and Beats Music. We think its part of Apple's DNA, and we think the addition of the Beats team will be great for music lovers."
"It's not my goal to acquire certain number of companies or spend a certain amount of money," he continued elsewhere in the call. "With Beats, we felt we were getting an incredible subscription service, a very rare set of talent that we think can do great things in Apple, and access to a very fast-growing businesses in their headphone and earphone space. Culturally, we felt there was a match -- and music has been deeply embedded in Apple's DNA for many, many years. So it was a great marriage, and I think the partnership with IBM is a great marriage as well."
Cook did not reveal any of the currently-unknown other acquisitions Apple has made over the past nine months, but if it maintains the current pace it could see another 10 companies or talented teams acquired before the end of the year. Among the companies known to have been bought by Apple are navigation firms HopStop, Embark, WiFiSlam, Locationary and Broadmap, most of which are involved in either iBeacon development or adding public transit data to future versions of Apple's Maps app.
Apple has also bought TestFlight developer tool maker Burstly, 3D sensor company PrimeSense, voice recognition company Novauris, micro-LED maker LuxVue, social search company Spotsetter, and mobile app developers Catch and SnappyLabs.
Analysts tried to quiz Cook on hints of any future large-scale acquisitions, but he refused to be baited. He reiterated, however, that "we have a very, very strong executive team and can [acquire and manage large acquisitions]."
"We're always looking in the acquisition space," Cook added, "but we don't let our money burn a hole in our pocket and we don't do things that aren't strategic. We want to do things that help us make great products that are great for our customers and so forth."