As per a latest report by portfolio management company Stocklytics, Apple acquired a total of 32 AI startups, securing its lead in the AI sector among major tech companies, in 2023. This strategic move places Apple ahead in the ongoing AI competition, despite Microsoft and Google investing heavily in established AI companies.
“Apple's approach involves a proactive strategy of acquiring early-stage startups, indicating a commitment to identifying and investing in emerging AI trends before mainstream adoption. Despite competitors like Google and Samsung rapidly advancing their generative AI in phones and devices, Apple maintains a lead in equity and add-on investment in AI technologies since 2017, with a 21% share compared to Microsoft's 12% and Alphabet Inc.'s 8%,” said Edith Reads, Stocklytics Financial Analyst.
Even though Apple is known for being discreet regarding AI initiatives, it is reportedly developing its own large language models.
Apple’s acquisitions include Voysis in 2020, focusing on improving Siri's natural language understanding. In March 2023, the tech giant acquired WaveOne for its video compression technology, along with other startups like Emotient, Laserlike, Drive.AI, and AI.Music, with some technologies integrated into Apple devices.
As part of its AI expansion, Apple plans to bring on board Brighter.AI, a German startup, to enhance its new headset, the Apple Vision Pro.
Apple's devices incorporate AI and machine learning advancements in both software and hardware. However, in contrast, competitors like Google and Samsung have rapidly adopted generative AI in their latest phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Galaxy S24+.
In the ongoing AI arms race, Apple is making sizable deals with many AI startups, putting it in a good spot for future tech developments even as its competitors, Microsoft and Google, make considerable investments in already established AI companies.
By acquiring promising AI startups, Apple gains access to top-tier talent and innovative technologies and consolidates its foothold in crucial AI domains, ensuring a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.