Historically, Apple (AAPL 0.81%) has played it conservative when it comes to acquisitions. The company generally never spends more than $500 million on any purchase. That might all be changing though, as Tim Cook has hinted that "huge" acquisitions are not off the table if it's the right fit for the long term. The price of innovation is going up, and it makes little sense to stick with an arbitrary monetary limit -- especially when you consider how much cash Apple has sitting around.
Google (GOOGL 0.95%) has been scooping up companies left and right, giving it optionality into future technological breakthroughs. Even Microsoft (MSFT -0.01%) has always been far more acquisitive than Apple. As a result, both Google and Microsoft have much more sitting on the balance sheet in the form of goodwill and intangibles. That theoretically increases their impairment risk. At this point, Apple can afford to take more acquisition risks.
In this segment of Tech Teardown, Erin Kennedy discusses Apple's new approach to acquisitions with Evan Niu, CFA, our tech and telecom bureau chief.