Apple is diving into mobile security and touch control capabilities with its latest buyout. The leading iPhone and iPad maker has acquired AuthenTec, a maker of fingerprint sensors for $356 million. This is a biggest deal by the company in quite some time.
AuthenTec's technology has been used in tens of millions of devices, including mobile phones from some of Apple's largest rivals including Samsung, Motorola and Nokia.
Melbourne, Florida-based AuthenTec said Apple Inc. is paying $8 for each of its common shares, a 58% premium to their closing price on Thursday.Under the terms of the deal, AuthenTec will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple, reports Reuters.
So what does Apple want with it? It wants the team at AuthenTec to develop something just for Apple. Apple's decision to buy AuthenTec, reflects the realization that we need stronger security for devices as the mobile industry moves toward e-wallets.
Beyond protecting payments, a fingerprint system could keep unauthorized people from accessing email, contact lists and more. Current phones offer protection through passwords, which can be guessed or forgotten.
The purchase is likely to further accelerate the trend for workers to bring their own devices to work, as iPhones and iPads should be able to make secure connections to corporate networks more easily.
Apple’s new acquisition is becoming public at a time when the company is in a heated legal and market battle with Samsung, maker of the popular Android-based Samsung smartphones and tablets.
While Apple said earlier this week that its growth rate slowed in its latest quarter, massive sales of its iPhones and iPads in recent years have made it the world's most valuable company. It's the third-largest maker of cell phones, according to research firm Gartner, and dominates the market for tablet computers.
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