Apple is leading the AI arms race by acquiring more artificial intelligence companies than Google or Amazon. But is that synonymous with long-term success?
Increase your business, Not your inbox
Stay up to date and subscribe to our daily newsletter now!
Read 3 min
This story originally appeared on PCMag
The artificial intelligence market has exploded in the past decade. While platforms like Alexa from Amazon, Siri from Apple, Assistant from Google, and Cortana from Microsoft dominated the market, these companies weren't the source of this growth. Instead, fierce competition between the largest companies has led to aggressive acquisitions of AI startups.
According to CB Insights, a total of 635 artificial intelligence acquisitions were made between 2010 and September 2019. These purchases also increased six-fold from 2013 to 2018, with 166 acquisitions in 2018 alone – an increase of 38 percent over the previous year. For companies like Apple, Google and other companies, these purchases can almost always be linked to a new product or function.
Related: Italy initiates antitrust investigation against Amazon and Apple
Apple has led the way with 20 acquisitions since Siri was purchased in 2010. As an example, technology giant Novauris acquired Technologies and Voysis to improve speech recognition on its voice assistant platform. Apple also bought companies like Perceptio and RealFace to develop its Apple ID technology.
Google followed with 14 acquisitions over the same period, although it led all technology companies in artificial intelligence acquisitions between 2012 and 2016. Google used DeepMind Technologies to develop artificial intelligence applications. In addition, companies like Api.ai and Superpod were acquired to strengthen the functionality of Google Assistant.
Microsoft bought 10 startups, Facebook bought eight, and Amazon bought a total of seven. Of the 489 companies that have bought an AI startup in the past decade, 431 have only bought one company. This means that these technology giants – and Apple in particular – dominate this AI arms race.
Related topics: How to use your iPad as a second monitor on any computer
Unfortunately for Apple, it doesn't seem that all of this spending has resulted in an AI platform dominating the market. According to the Voice Platform Impact Ranking, which takes into account both consumer acceptance and support for the ecosystem, Siri has fallen behind the competition. On a scale of -250 to 250, Alexa is currently at 110.2 and Google at 97.3, while Siri is only 38.3 ahead of Samsung's Bixby.
So far, the Siri ecosystem could not be expanded beyond the iOS operating system. In the meantime, Google Home and Amazon Echo devices offer robust support from many third parties. It seems that money spent isn't necessarily long-term growth or success, but Apple will also make acquisitions in 2020.