- Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon (FAMGA) are the leading acquirers of artificial intelligence startups, according to a CB Inights report.
- Apple leads FAMGA companies in AI acquisitions. It has aggressively acquired audio transcription, object recognition, natural language processing and computer vision companies, particularly in 2017.
- Since 2012, FAMGA companies have contributed to 124 AI startups through equity investments. The companies made 36 equity investments in 2018 and nine so far this year, though Apple and Facebook have yet to make equity investments. Google remains the top equity investor.
The race to AI superiority is underway. The market consolidation of AI startups is enabling a select few to have the most robust AI toolkit.
Consolidation can edge out market contenders, leading customers to select vendors that have complete tool suites rather than contracting with specialized, niche firms.
Amazon's AI investments operate within AWS, which has an AI as a service solution, Amazon AI. The offering enables developers to access Alexa's natural programming language processing tech, Polly's speech synthesis and Amazon Rekognition, functioning similar to an API.
Microsoft, under the guidance of CEO Satya Nadella, has turned its attention to the cloud and cloud-based AI solutions. The company has acquired Bonsai AI for data management and invested in Graphcore for building AI-capable hardware, according to the report.
Its primary focus is on sales and CRM and data management solutions. Microsoft's AI attention spans commerce, semiconductors, healthcare and government industries.
Google has its hands in improving search services, image recognition, quantum AI, and autonomous vehicles, according to the report. In the last seven years Google contributed to 16 cybersecurity startups, including CrowdStrike, and 14 healthcare startups. Security and data management is where Google is investing most heavily with primary focus on the healthcare and financial industries.
FAMGA companies are focused on AI use cases for enterprise customers. However, the fruits of Apple's acquisitions are likely seen in its customer-facing products. The investments made in the last seven years enabled Apple to launch iPhone tools like Face ID and AI chips.