Apple buys fingerprint sensor firm AuthenTec for $356 million

Apple buys fingerprint sensor firm AuthenTec for $356 million

Summary: Enterprise loves hardware that incorporate fingerprint readers, now Apple is in a position to add this feature to Macs and iOS devices.

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Apple has agreed to acquire security technology company AuthenTec for $356 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made by AuthenTec.

AuthenTec is the leading supplier of smart sensors, identity management software and hardware, and embedded security devices such as fingerprint readers.

These fingerprint swipe sensors use a patented sub-surface technology to read the live layer of skin beneath the skin's surface where the fingerprint is first formed, making them much harder to fool than traditional fingerprint sensors.

Last year the company collaborated with NXP Semiconductors and mobile payment software firm DeviceFidelity to bring support for NFC mobile payments and transportation check-ins to Android smartphones.

AuthenTec's mobile VPN client is also pre-loaded onto Samsung's Galaxy S III Android-powered smartphone.

A feature that's conspicuous in its absence from Apple hardware is a fingerprint reader, it's also a feature that is much loved by enterprise because it both hardens device security while at the same time making access to a system quicker and easier than typing in a password. It's a checkbox feature commonplace on most Windows-powered enterprise-class hardware, and this acquisition now allows Apple to integrate this feature into both Macs and iOS devices.

The acquisition, along with earlier patents, also lends credibility to the rumors that Apple is planning to add NFC support to the iPhone 5. iOS 6 features a new app called Passbook which allows you to store your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more all in one place. Passbook allows you to ditch the physical cards and tickets and instead scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon.

While Passbook is interesting, when combined with NFC technology it becomes a whole lot more interesting. It eliminates the hassle of having to dig out the iPhone, search through it for the right card or ticket and then scan the screen. While NFC on its own has been a solution looking for a problem to solve, Apple's way of leveraging technology through apps suddenly gives it relevance.

AuthenTec currently counts a number of Apple competitors as customers, including Samsung Electronics, LG, and Motorola.

Image source: AuthenTec.

Gallery: Best tablet for those who don't want an iPad

 

Topics: Apple, Android, Hardware, Security, Tech Industry

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  • Apple buys fingerprint sensor firm AuthenTec for $356 million

    Adding this to the Macbook will only do one thing, increase the cost of it because it sure isn't about the security. We have laptops here with fingerprint sensors and they don't get used. Its a pain to work with because you have to have the owner there if you need to work on the laptop. No dropping off and picking it up later.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Are you Serious?

      There are centralized Biometric products for AD... You don't use these for local aunthentication unless you're an idiot.
      slickjim
      • Only news here is Apple is paying for a company that designs & Makes things

        Third largest maker of what? Apple doesn't make anything. It doesn't even design anything aside from the cute plastic box and the rest of the components are assembled together from parts made by Samsung, Sony, LG, Motorola, Garmin, and various wireless device vendors etc. And the software? It is based on the freely available BSD and MACH OS kernal with some cute bubbly pictures and animations thrown in by Apple's artists. This company is not only overvalued thanks to Ashkenazi media hype, it is going down thanks to its racist stupidity and malicious nature which always comes back to bite it.
        P_Smith3
        • P_Smith3

          That was the lamest comment!!! I switched from Windows to Linux to Mac! I absolutely love the Mac! Wish I would've switched years ago! I let all you Apple haters keep me stuck in the crappy Windows world for far too long!
          dantiv@...
          • Are people still using macs?

            Thank you for advertising your technical illiteracy so well
            P_Smith3
          • You're one to talk

            .DeusExMachina.
          • I can feel the pain reading your posts

            It keeps you up at night doesn't it? The pain must be unbearable to constantly hear about new record quarterly revenue from Apple or how year over year they sell more iPhones, iPad and Macs. If you let the small minded hatred go the pain will also go. Either that or get back on your meds, your choice.
            non-biased
        • You are, quite simply, an idiot

          Apple doesn't design anything?
          How about the CPU in the iPad and iPods?
          How about much of the support logic?
          How about the logic boards in their laptop lines, and the MacPro?
          How about the algorithms used in the touch UI?
          How about the specific hardware used in their touchpads?
          How about the hardware in AppleTV and Airports?
          And the list goes on and on.
          You are a troll without a clue.

          As to software, you have no idea what you are talking about. The VAST majority of code in freeBSD was submitted by Apple. Mach (not MACH) was created down the street from me, and its developers all now work for Apple.

          And you have the gaul to call them racist?!? After that Ashkenazi comment? Really?!?

          Again, you are an idiot, who knows NOTHING about what you are spewing words about.
          .DeusExMachina.
        • 2+2=10

          A baker doesn't make anything: They don't produce wheat, sugar, eggs, milk, yeast, chocolate, vanilla, berries, etc., etc., etc. Throw all that stuff into a bowl and it is a cupcake, right? Apple's revenues and stock price reflect just how little value they add.
          Scott HB
        • Are you honestly that clueless or that blinded by your hate?

          From a hardware stand point please point out the company that produces any consumer electronic device which only consists of components that they produce? Can't do that, let make it easier, consists of components in which they produce 50% of? Can't do that either, big surprise. Now name a major supplier of consumer electronics that has never purchased another company to acquire their technology? Can't do that one either can you. No point in even bothering getting it the software end of it with you but racist stupidity? What are you talking about? Is this something like how the Democrats call anybody that doesn't agree with them a racist even though race has nothing to do with it. Can't debate on facts so call the other person a racist and hope they go away?
          non-biased
    • That statement makes no sense

      You can still log into a computer using the traditional Username and Password with one of these devices on it. They just bypass having to enter it if you registered your fingerprint, they don't eliminate it at all.
      BrewmanNH
      • It makes perfect sense

        Let me clear it up for you:
        Loverock Davidson doesn't know what he is talking about, and just makes up fact out of thin air.

        There. Mystery solved
        .DeusExMachina.
    • Apple buys fingerprint sensor firm AuthenTec for $356 million

      Yes, it would seem they have lost their leadership ability when Steve Jobs died and they are far afield now. I hate to see this but it's happening. Far off from original mandate which was user and tech friendly originally. They need the fun guys back and not the financial top heavy so-called wizards. They are beginning to gut Apple. If not, this will be their downfall from grace and they will lose their innovative base of supporters as well. This new purchase says to me ~ Apple has lost it's heart.
      Wd40dry
      • Apple hasn't lost its heart

        You can't lose something you never had to begin with.
        toddbottom3
      • "They need the fun guys back..."

        Oh yea...Steverino was a REAL "fun guy"...for a Megalomaniac.
        IT_Fella
      • I'm really having trouble understanding your comment

        What I see with this purchase is Apple attempting to solidify its position in the enterprise rather than trying to created the market. A lot of the complaints against Apple in the enterprise has been its apparent lack of security efforts, which are being addressed as we discuss this through both improved encryption within their devices and now through biometric security which speeds up access to the device while still permitting complex passwords for those who aren't fingerprint-authorized. This isn't a downgrading of their leadership ability as much as it's an effort to meet existing security needs with advanced products preparatory to breaking into high-security environments like government offices and military usefulness.

        What I don't see is them losing any of their current "fun factor" with this device.
        Vulpinemac
      • I am not racist

        Leadership or swindiling? Let's get our facts from something other than Wall Street Jewrnal, Reuters, BBC, Jew York Times, The Jew Yorker, etc. please
        P_Smith3
        • Not Just Stupid @P_Smith3

          is also a Nazi bigot.

          Not that you deserve an explanation Apple designs all their products. Like most all other Manufacturing companies they farm out the assembly. They even design their own microprocessor at their own semiconductor design firm.

          Unbelievably stupid. There are a lot of stupid post but you win the dunce hat. Freakin Bigot!
          Patrickgood1
    • Only news here is Apple is paying for a company that designs & Makes things

      Third largest maker of what? Apple doesn't make anything. It doesn't even design anything aside from the cute plastic box and the rest of the components are assembled together from parts made by Samsung, Sony, LG, Motorola, Garmin, and various wireless device vendors etc. And the software? It is based on the freely available BSD and MACH OS kernal with some cute bubbly pictures and animations thrown in by Apple's artists. This company is not only overvalued thanks to Ashkenazi media hype, it is going down thanks to its racist stupidity and malicious nature which always comes back to bite it.
      P_Smith3
      • This coming from the moron who can't even figure out how not to double post

        .DeusExMachina.