Apple Buys Flash Storage Company Anobit: Report

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2011-12-20 Print this article Print

Apple has reportedly purchased flash storage company Anobit for around $500 million, which could boost its mobile device-related efforts.

Apple has reportedly gone through with its plans to purchase Israeli flash storage company Anobit for some $500 million.

That news comes from Reuters, itself quoting the Israeli business daily Calcalist. Apparently, Apple will also build a research and development complex in Israel.

Rumors of Apple's Anobit buy had circulated since earlier in December, when TechCrunch suggested that Cupertino would pay anywhere from $400 million to $500 million to acquire the property. Certainly an in-house hub for developing flash storage technology (and the patents underlying it) would boost Apple's efforts in mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

No sooner had TechCrunch's report emerged than analysts began to pick apart Anobit and Apple's preexisting relationship.

"If true, this deal would make strategic sense to us considering [Apple's] philosophy of vertical integration (e.g., PA Semi acquisition, etc.) and current use of Anobit's technology," Brian Marshall, an analyst with the ISI Group, wrote in a Dec. 13 research note. "We believe Anobit's key asset is their embedded consumer flash controller technology called MSP (e.g., memory signal processing) used in smartphones and tablets (e.g., 666 MB/s data transfer, low power, supports 256GB or 16 flash dies and <20nm MLC/TLC technologies."

In October, rumors leaked that Apple had acquired a 3D-mapping company, C3 technologies, with an eye toward strengthening its topographical capabilities. That news came from the blog 9to5Mac, which suggested that the C3 purchase, combined with earlier acquisitions of mapping-software companies Placebase and Poly9, suggested an attempt by Apple to shift its iOS devices away from a reliance on Google Maps.

Certainly a rapid series of large acquisitions would represent a sea change from Apple's previous strategy, which centered on infrequent, relatively low-profile buys. Such a strategy change would emphasize how current CEO Tim Cook intends to run the company differently than his late predecessor, co-founder Steve Jobs.  

Despite the growing presence of Google Android, iPhone and iPad sales remain strong. For its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter, Apple reported revenues of $28.27 billion, with a net profit of $6.62 billion, a marked increase over the year-ago quarter's $20.34 billion in revenue and $4.31 billion net profit.

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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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