Apple R&D spending up nearly 40 percent in 2012

Apple's spending on research and development continues to rise, but is still dwarfed by that of rival technology companies.

One of Apple's 17 different anechoic chambers, part of a $100 million research and development spend made years ago.
One of Apple's 17 different anechoic chambers, part of a $100 million research and development spend made years ago. Apple

Apple increased the amount it spent on research and development during 2012, though it remained a fraction of its overall spending.

According to the company's annual report, which was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this afternoon, Apple spent $3.4 billion on research and development during its fiscal year, up $952 million, or 39 percent from last year. The year prior, the company spent $2.4 billion, up $647 million or 36 percent from the year before.

While the cost went up, the amount Apple spends on R&D versus its overall sales remained tiny. As in 2011, Apple's tally for 2012 remained at 2 percent.

Apple's R&D spending has been under close watch for years, in no small part because it spends considerably less than many of its rivals. Microsoft, for instance, spent $9.8 billion in its fiscal 2012, while Google spent $5.2 billion in its fiscal 2011.

"[Apple] continues to believe that focused investments in R&D are critical to its future growth and competitive position in the marketplace and are directly related to timely development of new and enhanced products that are central to the Company's core business strategy," Apple said in its filing. "As such, the Company expects to make further investments in R&D to remain competitive."

Part of Apple's proposed R&D building in its new campus.
Part of Apple's proposed R&D building in its new campus. Apple

One of those is an expansion to its current R&D operations as part of its new Cupertino headquarters. That project, which Apple aims to have approved and built by 2015, will bring a new 300,000 square foot research facility. Renderings of that project, submitted by Apple last year, showed multiple research facilities both above and below ground (pictured right).

Apple CEO Tim Cook famously knocked competitors during an earnings call with analysts in April, saying other companies needed to be more inventive. Answering a question about ongoing litigation, Cook said he wanted to make sure the company did not "become the developer for the world," adding that "we need people to invent their own stuff."

 

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