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Apple (AAPL - Analyst Report) has reportedly acquired personal assistant app provider — Cue. According to TechCrunch, the iPhone maker has shelled out around $50 million-$60 million for the app and service of Cue.

Cue, known as Greplin before it was renamed in Jun 2012, provides mobile app for iOS that collects relevant information from users’ email and social/professional networking platforms such as Facebook (FB - Analyst Report), Twitter and LinkedIn (LNKD - Analyst Report) and displays it on the mobile screen from time to time. This allows users to get all the information through a single app.

This is a strategic acquisition for Apple as it will help to integrate social networking capabilities to its operating system. Google Now has similar capabilities. Apple has a strategy of acquiring small startup companies whose expertise and capabilities synergize with its current operations. This has helped the company to not only overcome small but critical snags but also enhance its services.

The company has been very active on the acquisition front in 2013. The Cue acquisition is Apple’s eighth, to date. Very recently, the company acquired AlgoTrim, which provides data compression capabilities. Other acquisitions are predominantly made to enhance Apple’s mapping, media search capabilities.

Moreover, Apple has a strong balance sheet with cash and investments of $117.2 billion which allows the company to go for strategic acquisitions to bolster its service. However, Apple continues to face significant competition from the likes of Samsung, Google and Amazon in most of the markets it operates.

Nonetheless, we believe that Apple remains the biggest growth story over the long term based on its superior product pipeline, Apps, iCloud and loyal customer base. In our view, Apple is also well positioned to gain from international expansion, going forward.

Moreover, the recent shareholder-friendly moves such as dividend payment and share buybacks are expected to drive the stock.  

Currently, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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