“If you’ve ever complained of Apple not putting its cash to good use, you’re gonna love this,” Steve Symington writes for The Motley Fool. “No, I’m not talking about an unmerited increase to Apple’s already-historic share repurchase authorization. And no, Apple hasn’t changed its hefty dividend, which resulted in $2.8 billion in payouts last quarter alone.”

“I’m talking about innovation by way of strategic acquisition. You know, like when Apple’s prophetically purchased fingerprint sensor specialist Authentec last year,” Symington writes. “Specifically, during Apple’s quarterly earnings conference call this week, CEO Tim Cook told investors Apple completed 15 strategic acquisitions in all of fiscal 2013.”

“For those of you keeping track, however, you might recall when Cook was asked why Apple ‘doesn’t buy things with its money’ at AllThingsD‘s D11 conference, he countered to note that, while Apple had previously maintained a respectable pace of acquiring a new company every 60-75 days — or ‘maybe six a year’ — it had already purchased nine new companies at that point in the fiscal year,” Symington writes. “Curious, I did a little back-of-the-napkin math at the time, which put Apple’s pace then at around one acquisition every 27 days. But Cook conveniently made those comments almost exactly four months and six acquisitions prior to the Sept. 28 conclusion of Apple’s fiscal year, which puts its latest acquisition pace at roughly one every 20 days.”

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Apple reveals 15 acquisitions made in 2013, seven of which are mysteries – October 29, 2013