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 Apple's 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 Anobit's technology in NAND flash devices like the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. It's 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. It's a natural fit.
Aside from Apple, Anobit's other key clients are flash memory manufacturers like Samsung and Hynix. Limiting Samsung's access to this technology in the future, and increasing Apple's patent portfolio, could give them a step up in the reliability of their devices against Samsung's popular Android and Windows Phone devices. Also of note, Hynix recently become the main flash memory supplier for Apple's iPhone 4S, which would enable Apple to continue this relationship in future products using Anobit's technology.
If this deal goes through, it will be Apple's 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.