Apple has bought just under 100 small businesses in the past six years as part of its wave of corporate acquisitions, CEO Tim Cook told shareholders in a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
According to BloombergCook said Apple has been buying small businesses at the rate of one every three to four weeks. Notable acquisitions for Apple in the last year alone included VR / AR startups NextVR Y Spaces, a weather app called dark sky, mobile payment service Mobeewave, and others. Apple has always tried to keep the details of its acquisitions in the dark, but prices in the hundreds of millions have been suggested for some of the companies. Apple supposedly bought 20-25 companies only in the six months prior to May 2019.
“We are not afraid to consider acquisitions of any size,” Cook told shareholders, according to MacRumors. “The focus is on small, innovative companies that complement our products and help drive them forward.”
The avalanches of acquisitions by massive firms such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have come under scrutiny by antitrust regulators: a House Judiciary Committee report in October 2020 found that the four companies “were once , underdog startups that challenged the status quo [but] They’ve become the kind of monopolies we last saw in the era of the oil barons and railroad moguls. ”The Federal Trade Commission demanded details on Apple’s deals to buy other companies last year; However, Apple tends to buy smaller companies that are well below the threshold for regulators to intervene. Most of Apple’s allegations of anti-competitive behavior have focused on a different (if not totally unrelated) subject from its monopoly full domain on iOS and the App store.
Last year, Cook told CNBC that Apple had sidestepped antitrust questions about its acquisitions because its “strategy has been to buy companies where we have challenges and intellectual property, and then turn it into a feature of the phone,” rather than simply taking over the competition.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Cook also claimed that Apple (which shot to a $ 2 trillion market capitalization in 2020) somehow does not have a dominant position in any market, according to Bloomberg:
“Apple does not have a dominant position in any market we compete in, not in any product category, not in any service category, not in software or applications,” said the CEO. “This competitive market drives us all to be better. So while scrutiny is always fair, allegations like these fall apart after a reasonable examination of the facts. “
Other issues addressed during the call included Apple’s environmental impact and new iOS features cracking down on certain types of tracking behavior, the latter of which is the subject of a ongoing dispute with Facebook. Cook said the company is on track to be carbon neutral by 2030 and that he expected Apple’s stricter privacy guarantees would be a “wave in the puddle,” according to MacRumors.
By CNBC, shareholders rewarded Cook during the meeting with a vote (advisory and non-binding) to approve more executive compensation, including a generous stock package of up to one million shares for Cook, and rejected a proposal to limit the payment of executives more in line with that of employees.