Apple is set to acquire Israeli NAND flash design firm Anobit for an estimated $400-500 million dollars, according to a report by Reuters. News of the acquisition comes on same day the 15 year anniversary of Apples acquisition of NeXT that led to the return of Steve Jobs as head of Apple.
Why is Apple interested in this firm? They already use Anobits technology in NAND flash devices like the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. Its obvious that Apple sees the technology as key to the future of these devices and wants to bring it in house and limit the ability of other firms from using it. Anobit has developed a special chip that makes MLC style flash far more reliable and Apple is the largest purchaser of flash in the world. Its a natural fit.
Aside from Apple, Anobits other key clients are flash memory manufacturers like Samsung and Hynix. Limiting Samsungs access to this technology in the future, and increasing Apples patent portfolio, could give them a step up in the reliability of their devices against Samsungs popular Android and Windows Phone devices. Also of note, Hynix recently become the main flash memory supplier for Apples iPhone 4S, which would enable Apple to continue this relationship in future products using Anobits technology.
If this deal goes through, it will be Apples first acquisition inside Israel, something that drew a welcoming in the form of a tweet from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Apple plans to invest in the region and will open a new R&D center in the area.