Apple doesn’t spend as much on R&D as you may think for as big of a company as it is. Sure, it’s a ton of money, but it’s often considered pretty minuscule when compared to its overall revenue and when compared to competitors such as Google and Microsoft.
The chart above shows how much money Apple has spent on R&D each year since 1995.
As website TUAW points out, there is a noticeable drop around the time Steve jobs came back in 1997. Here’s a portion from the report explaining that:
One of the more interesting data points from this chart is that the company’s R&D costs took a noticeable plunge following Steve Jobs’ return to Apple. This is without question the result of Jobs’ effort to streamline Apple’s entire product line and refocus the company’s energies and efforts on just a few core products. Of course, in the process, some beloved products like the Newton were shown the door.
You can read a bigger report here.