What it did buy was the technology—and the talent—behind Hello Barbie.
From Axios Apple buys voice app startup Pullstring:
Pullstring was founded in 2011 by a group of former Pixar executives, and originally was used to power interactive voice apps for toys (including Hello Barbie in 2015). It later broadened its approach with the introduction of such IoT products as Amazon Echo and Google Assistant.
It raised around $44 million in venture capital, from firms like CRV, Greylock, True Ventures, Khosla Ventures and First Round Capital. According to PitchBook, its most recent post-money valuation was just north of $160 million.
The upfront deal value is said to be around $30 million, plus around $10 million in potential earn-outs for management. That would include CEO Oren Jacob, who once served as Pixar’s CTO.
Below: A two-minute Pullstring promotional video for delivering health care services via Alexa.
As MacDailyNews put it, so many synergies!
My take: Why oh why do the pundits keep talking about Apple buying Netflix (market cap $155 billion). Apple could change its stripes, but its MO is to buy small, strategically important companies for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. One time it spent $3 billion, and look how that turned out.