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AI Acquisitions by Big Tech Firms Are Happening at a Blistering Pace: 2019 Recent Data by CBI Insights

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Recent report from CBI Insights shows the rapid pace at which the biggest tech firms (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon) are acquiring artificial intelligence (AI) startups, potentially confounding the AI talent shortage that exists.

The link to the report and free download is given here at https://www.cbinsights.com/research/top-acquirers-ai-startups-ma-timeline/

Part of the report:

TECH GIANTS LEAD IN AI ACQUISITIONS

The usual suspects are leading the race for AI: tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, & Apple (FAMGA) have all been aggressively acquiring AI startups in the last decade.

Among the FAMGA companies, Apple leads the way, making 20 total AI acquisitions since 2010. It is followed by Google (the frontrunner from 2012 to 2016) with 14 acquisitions and Microsoft with 10.

Apple’s AI acquisition spree, which has helped it overtake Google in recent years, was essential to the development of new iPhone features. For example, FaceID, the technology that allows users to unlock their iPhone X just by looking at it, stems from Apple’s M&A moves in chips and computer vision, including the acquisition of AI company RealFace.

In fact, many of FAMGA’s prominent products and services came out of acquisitions of AI companies — such as Apple’s Siri, or Google’s contributions to healthcare through DeepMind.

That said, tech giants are far from the only companies snatching up AI startups.

Since 2010, there have been 635 AI acquisitions, as companies aim to build out their AI capabilities and capture sought-after talent (as of 8/31/2019).

The pace of these acquisitions has also been increasing. AI acquisitions saw a more than 6x uptick from 2013 to 2018, including last year’s record of 166 AI acquisitions — up 38% year-over-year.

In 2019, there have already been 140+ acquisitions (as of August), putting the year on track to beat the 2018 record at the current run rate.

Part of this increase in the pace of AI acquisitions can be attributed to a growing diversity in acquirers. Where once AI was the exclusive territory of major tech companies, today, smaller AI startups are becoming acquisition targets for traditional insurance, retail, and healthcare incumbents.

For example, in February 2018, Roche Holding acquired New York-based cancer startup Flatiron Health for $1.9B — one of the largest M&A deals in artificial intelligence. This year, Nike acquired AI-powered inventory management startup Celect, Uber acquired computer vision company Mighty AI, and McDonald’s acquired personalization platform Dynamic Yield.

Despite the increased number of acquirers, however, tech giants are still leading the charge. Acquisitive tech giants have emerged as powerful global corporations with a competitive advantage in artificial intelligence, and startups have played a pivotal role in helping these companies scale their AI initiatives.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, and Amazon are the most active acquirers of AI startups, each acquiring 7+ companies.

To read more on recent Acquisitions in the AI space please see the following articles on this Open Access Online Journal

Diversification and Acquisitions, 2001 – 2015: Trail known as “Google Acquisitions” – Understanding Alphabet’s Acquisitions: A Sector-By-Sector Analysis

Clarivate Analytics expanded IP data leadership by new acquisition of the leading provider of intellectual property case law and analytics Darts-ip

2019 Biotechnology Sector and Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Forbes Opinion: 13 Industries Soon To Be Revolutionized By Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and Cardiovascular Disease

Multiple Barriers Identified Which May Hamper Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Clinical Setting

Top 12 Artificial Intelligence Innovations Disrupting Healthcare by 2020

The launch of SCAI – Interview with Gérard Biau, director of the Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI).

 

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