Apple is the top buyer of artificial intelligence companies with 25 acquisitions over the past five years

The mergers and acquisition (M&A) deal-making landscape of the 2016-2020 artificial intelligence (AI) tech space was dominated by US tech giants, according to the deals database by GlobalData. Four of the top five acquirers in the space – Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook – are headquartered in the US, with Apple leading the race. Further, it is interesting to note that these are also FAAMG companies. Ireland-based Accenture was the only non-US company to appear in the top five.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Business Fundamentals Analyst at GlobalData, said in a statment: “Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook collectively undertook 60 acquisitions in the AI tech space during 2016–2020 while Apple led the race with 25 acquisitions. AI has remained a key focus area for tech giants and growing competition to dominate the space has resulted in an acquisition spree among these companies.”

Apple top buyer of artificial intelligence companies with 25 acquisitions over the past five years
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Nicklas Nilsson, Senior Analyst on the Thematic Research Team at GlobalData, said in a statement:

The US is the leader in artificial intelligence , and the dominance of US tech giants in the list of top acquirers also indicate that these companies have some defined AI objectives. For instance, Apple has been ramping up its acquisition of AI companies, with several deals aimed at improving Siri or creating new features on its iPhones. Machine learning start-up Inductiv was acquired to improve Siri’s data, Irish voice tech start-up Voysis was bought to improve Siri’s understanding of natural language, and PullString should make Siri easier for iOS developers to use.

Apple has gone on a shopping spree in efforts to catch up with Google (Google Assistant) and Amazon (Alexa). Siri was first on the market, but it consistently ranks below the two in terms of ‘smartness,’ which is partly why Apple is far behind in smart speaker sales. Apple also want to make sure to keep its strong position within wearables. It is the dominant player in smartwatches. The acquisition of Xnor.ai last year was made to improve its on-edge processing capabilities, which has become important as it eliminates the need for data to be sent to the cloud, thereby improving data privacy.

Bose added, “An analysis of GlobalData’s Job Analytics database also revealed that these top five acquirers are also on an AI talent-hiring spree and collectively posted more than 14,000 jobs in the AI space during 2020.”

MacDailyNews Take: Siri has come a long way in the last few years and no other assistant comes close with language support. As of March 2020, Amazon Alexa supports 8 languages, Google Home supports 13, and Apple’s Siri supports 21 languages. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that, unlike other assistant, Siri is designed to do as much learning as possible offline, right on your device. Searches and requests are not associated with your identity — so your personal information isn’t gathered to sell to advertisers or other organizations. And Siri’s end‑to‑end encryption ensures that data synced between your devices can’t be accessed, even by Apple.

3 Comments

    1. Apple needs real intelligence, not AI.

      The pathetic performance of Siri is a symptom of relying on weak algorithms that are fed garbage data from the frenemy Big Tech firms that, ta da, keep their spy cans ahead of Apple easily.

      Google and Amazon and Fuckbook don’t have incentive to let Apple have good accurate data. Whatever data Apple did attempt to gather from its losing Homepod business clearly wasn’t worth the effort, so wither Apple is lying about not spying on users or Apple must be buying info from elsewhere. The late expensive home can speaker business was a bust. Where do the inputs for this great AI come from? Well that is easy. What companies’ apps suck up the most data? A quick gander at the most used apps on iOS shows that Google and Facebook and Amazon take more data from IOS users than Apple claims they do — of course, no user would ever know. Lots of garbage data and intentional misinformation there.

      Siri sucks also because the user has no way to fix stuff once and for all. There are no user settings or parameters to set. So, if you don’t let the end user have any feedback or “correction” control, then bad AI will always be as bad as the “data” (i.e., most popular or most profitable , not necessarily the right answer for you). Users will eventually stop wasting their time trying to teach the dumb tabletop can do basic stuff from publicly available info. Why have Siri take you to Wikipedia when you can navigate there yourself?

      Everyone should know by now that the business model of the spy can sellers isn’t to give a simple straightforward answer to a trivia question, it’s to get you to divulge marketing info and of course to incentivize consumers to buy more stuff that it suggests you must have to lead a full life.

      Apple claims they don’t sell your data. That may be true (they could give it away), but it is also true that less scrupulous actors will take your data, and sell Apple outdated and incomplete/incorrect data. It shows every day: look how stupid the general population has become.

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