Apple leads the FAMGA pack, with 29 AI acquisitions since 2010.
Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple (FAMGA) have all been aggressively acquiring AI startups for the last decade, as these tech leaders look to leverage machine learning and other AI technologies without building them from scratch.
Among this cohort, Apple has taken the lead.
With 29 total AI acquisitions since 2010, Apple has made nearly twice as many acquisitions as second-place Google (the frontrunner from 2012 to 2016), which clocks in at 15 acquisitions.
Apple and Google are followed by Microsoft with 13 acquisitions, Facebook with 12, and Amazon with 7.
Apple’s AI acquisition spree, which has helped it overtake Google in recent years, has been essential to the development of new iPhone features. For example, FaceID, the technology that allows users to unlock their iPhones by looking at them, stems from Apple’s M&A moves in chips and computer vision, including the acquisition of AI company RealFace.
In fact, many of FAMGA’s prominent products and services — such as Apple’s Siri or Google’s contributions to healthcare through DeepMind — came out of acquisitions of AI companies.
Apple continues to buy startups to improve Siri’s language understanding and accuracy as it faces increasing competition from the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. For example, in April 2020, Apple acquired Voysis to improve Siri’s understanding in the context of online shopping.
In May 2020, Apple bought Inductiv, whose AI platform aims to automatically correct errors in datasets. Inductiv’s engineering team is reportedly working on using AI to clean the data that trains Siri, in an effort to improve the virtual assistant’s accuracy with less manual lift in data cleaning.
For more on the trends shaping artificial intelligence M&A — including how AI acquisitions changed amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and which sectors have been the hottest for acquisition activity — dig into the full Race For AI report.If you aren’t already a client, sign up for a free trial to learn more about our platform.