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Tim Cook says Apple is "on the prowl"; acquired 24 companies in the last 18 months


During Apple's earnings conference call yesterday, an analyst pointed out that companies like Google and Amazon are increasingly diversifying their business while Apple doesn't seem to be following suit. The analyst subsequently asked about Apple's business philosophy and laser like focus given the company's vast cash reserves which might otherwise allow them to make some interesting acquisitions and content deals.

Cook answered, in part, that Apple was "on the prowl" and that they actually acquired 24 companies in the last 18 months alone.

From an acquisition point of view, we have done 24 in 18 months. That shows that we're on the prowl, I suppose you could say. We look for companies that have great people and great technology and that fit culturally. And we don't have a rule that says we can't spend a lot or whatever. We'll spend what we think is a fair price. What's important to us is that strategically it makes sense and that it winds up adding value to our shareholders over the long haul. We are not in a race to spend the most or acquire the most. We're in a race to make the worlds' best product that really enrich people's lives.

So, to the tune that acquisitions can help us do that and they've done that and continue to do that, then we will acquire it. And so you can bet that you will continue to see acquisitions and some of which we'll try to keep quiet and some of which seems to be impossible to keep quiet.

Indeed, the rate at which Apple is snatching up companies has accelerated in recent years. Whereas Apple acquired just 6 companies that we know of in 2011 and 2012 combined, the company in 2013 alone acquired 15. Some of these acquisitions include PrimeSense, Passif Semiconductor, WiFiSlam, Nouvauris Technologies, and a slew of mapping apps.

In a previous earnings conference call, Cook said that Apple isn't afraid to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal (read: in the billions) if the numbers and strategic fit were appropriate.

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