Apple outbuys Google in AI acquisitions, report claims
Apple is investing in the future
CB Insights claims Apple is now buying AI companies at a faster pace than Google, Microsoft, Facebook or Amazon.
It is also recruiting top talent, not least Google’s AI and Search chief John Giannandrea, who joined Apple in 2018 and now has a seat on the top table of executive management as Senior VP Machine Learning and AI Strategy.
That Giannndrea holds a seat on that table means that AI and AI-related acquisitions really have been given the green light in Cupertino, as the company seeks for ways to put industry-leading machine intelligence at the edge.
AI is Silicon Valley’s big investment
The AI sector is on a roll.
It attracted over $26 billion in funding in the form of 2,200 deals in 2019, CB Insights claims. That’s up $4 billion on 2018 and is $10 billion more than the industry attracted the year before.
Of course, revenue doesn’t necessarily reflect activity, but it shows where the money is flowing, and AI is hot. It’s also important to note that VC spending declined last year, even while AI investments grew.
Where’s the money going?
As you might expect, healthcare is way at the top of the stack, followed by finance retail, sales and cybersecurity.
As the current UK government moves to “protect” the NHS, no surprise that Babylon Health raised half a billion last year.
So, what are the 20 AI-related companies Apple has acquired since 2010?
I’ve looked through my files and identified 20 that more or less relate to the sector. They include?
- Silicon Valley Data Science
- Tueo Health
- Silk Labs
- Pop Up Archive
- Lattice Data
- Novauris Technologies
- Polar Rose
What’s rather interesting about all of these purchases is how closely the most recent acquisitions relate to machine imaging.
Indeed, include Beddit and you have 21, which in combination with the 2018 Tueo Health buy hints a little at Apple’s plans for digital health. (Tueo Health was working on asthma monitoring tools for kids).
However, right now it looks to me that the main thrust of Apple’s work (at least in the short term) will be on machine intelligence in imaging
What else can sensors tell about a person using a combination of AI-boosted machine imaging, motion sensors, heartbeat and other vital signs?
With Tim Cook’s many references to the company’s digital health plans, it looks like this is just one of many things we’ll soon find out.