Apple confirms Anobit acquisition: A strategic hit to Samsung?

Summary:Apple confirms the acquisition of an Israeli flash memory startup reported last year; a deal that could serve as a deadly blow to Samsung's smartphone hardware.

Apple has confirmed that it acquired Anobit, an Israeli startup that makes flash memory used in the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

Rumours of the acquisition first came to light in December after the news was reported by Israel's Calcalist business news site. Israel's prime minister's office acknowledged the purchase in a tweet on December 20th.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed the purchase, but declined to offer a figure on how much the company was bought for. It was thought that the Cupertino-based technology giant paid in the region of $400 to $500 million for the company, however.

Besides Apple's acquisition of NeXT in 1997 for $404 million, the Anobit deal represents one of Apple's largest acquisitions to date. Apple acquired PA Semi in 2008 for $278 million, and Quattro Wireless in 2010 for $275 million, CNET highlights.

Apple is the largest buyer of NAND flash memory, as Bloomberg reports, accounting for around 23 percent of the market last quarter. Apple is thought to have an estimated 100 million iPad and iPhone devices on the market, with an 15 million iPads sold by March 2011, and over 70 million iPhones since its launch in June 2007.

The Israeli company said its memory signal processing technology uses propriety signal-processing algorithms and advanced error correction to improve reliability and performance specifications of its flash-memory hardware.

It is thought that Apple bought the startup company to gain access to its technology, and to boost chip memory and improve device reliability. With its purchase, it will bypass the need to turn to a third-party company for vital hardware pieces for its highly popular smartphone and tablet products.

But perhaps worryingly for Samsung -- an Anobit customer -- it may allow Apple to finally cut off the hand that feeds its main competitor's hardware.

Image source: CNET/iFixit)

Related:

Topics: Tablets, Apple, Banking, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Processors

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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