August 31, 2021

Which companies are leading the way for artificial intelligence in the technology sector?

By Eric Johansson

We aggregated thousands of records from GlobalData’s proprietary jobs, deals, patents and company filings databases to identify the top companies in the area of artificial intelligence in the technology sector.

International Business Machines Corp and Microsoft Corp are leading the way for artificial intelligence investment among top technology companies according to our analysis of a range of GlobalData data.

Artificial intelligence has become one of the key themes in the technology sector of late, with companies hiring for increasingly more roles, making more deals, registering more patents and mentioning it more often in company filings.

These themes, of which artificial intelligence is one, are best thought of as “any issue that keeps a CEO awake at night”, and by tracking and combining them, it becomes possible to ascertain which companies are leading the way on specific issues and which are dragging their heels.

According to GlobalData analysis, International Business Machines Corp is one of the artificial intelligence leaders in a list of high-revenue companies in the technology industry, having advertised for 8,040 positions in artificial intelligence, made seven deals related to the field, filed 461 patents and mentioned artificial intelligence 10 times in company filings between January 2020 and June 2021.

Our analysis classified 15 companies as Most Valuable Players – or MVPs – due to their high number of new jobs, deals, patents and company filings mentions in the field of artificial intelligence. An additional four companies are classified as Market Leaders and zero are Average Players. Two more companies are classified as Late Movers due to their relatively lower levels of jobs, deals, patents and company filings in artificial intelligence.

For the purpose of this analysis, we’ve ranked top companies in the technology sector on each of the four metrics relating to artificial intelligence: jobs, deals, patents and company filings. The best-performing companies – the ones ranked at the top across all or most metrics – were categorised as MVPs while the worst performers – companies ranked at the bottom of most indicators – were classified as Late Movers.

Microsoft Corp is spearheading the artificial intelligence hiring race, advertising for 15,092 new jobs between January 2020 and June 2021. The company reached peak hiring in March 2021, when it listed 1,495 new job ads related to artificial intelligence.

International Business Machines Corp followed Microsoft Corp as the second most proactive artificial intelligence employer, advertising for 8,040 new positions. Dell Technologies Inc was third with 5,323 new job listings.

When it comes to deals, Tencent Holdings Ltd leads with 29 new artificial intelligence deals announced from January 2020 to June 2021. The company was followed by Microsoft Corp with 19 deals and Apple Inc with nine.

GlobalData's Financial Deals Database covers hundreds of thousands of M&A contracts, private equity deals, venture finance deals, private placements, IPOs and partnerships, and it serves as an indicator of economic activity within a sector.

One of the most innovative technology companies in recent months was Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, having filed 1,271 patent applications related to artificial intelligence since the beginning of last year. It was followed by Intel Corp with 505 patents and International Business Machines Corp with 461.

GlobalData collects patent filings from 100+ counties and jurisdictions. These patents are then tagged according to the themes they relate to, including artificial intelligence, based on specific keywords and expert input. The patents are also assigned to a company to identify the most innovative players in a particular field.

Finally, artificial intelligence was a commonly mentioned theme in technology company filings. Google, Inc. mentioned artificial intelligence 12 times in its corporate reports between January 2020 and June 2021. Intel Corp filings mentioned it 12 times and Microsoft Corp mentioned it 12 times.

Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed cross border deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

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