How Big Tech used health IT acquisitions to catapult it to the top: 6 things to know

Big Tech companies became the biggest in the industry by all following a similar pattern — acquiring hundreds of companies over decades, according to an April 21 report by The Washington Post.

Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook are known as the "Big Four" — tech giants that dominate many aspects of American's lives. First, these companies dominated their respective sectors, then moved into industries like healthcare and artificial intelligence to add revenue streams and beat out their competitors.

Six things to know about Big Tech's health IT acquisitions:

  1. Amazon was founded in 1994, and 18 years later, in 2012, Amazon started buying cloud computing startups. Today, more than half of the top 10,000 websites are hosted by Amazon.

  2. Amazon's first health acquisition was online pharmacy startup PillPack, which it purchased for $750 million in 2017. Amazon would later acquire medical technology startup Health Navigator in 2019.

  3. In 2013, 36 years after the company was founded in 1977, Apple purchased 15 companies in one year. From 2013-20, Apple acquired 14 artificial intelligence companies working with voice, machine learning and virtual assistance.

  4. From 2016-18, Apple acquired three healthcare companies: Gliimpse for health data, Beddit for sleep tracking and Tueo Health for asthma monitoring.

  5. Google was founded in 1998, and its first acquisition in the health sector was 23 years later when it purchased Fitbit for $2.1 billion in 2021.

  6. Facebook is the youngest Big Tech company, founded in 2004. Ten years later, the social media giant acquired ProtoGeo, the maker of an activity tracker app, in 2014.

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