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Apple spend $500 million to ensure flash memory future

Apple have bought Israel Anobit, a well known maker of flash memory. The deal reportedly cost them half a billion dollars, according to the Calcalist financial daily.

Apple have plans to also open a research and development centre in Israel, the first outside the United States. Anobit have developed a processor that enhances flash drive performance through signal processing. This chip is already being used in Apple devices such as the iPad, iPhone and MacBook Air. Apple had been interested in this technology now for some time and the purchase could very well double the memory volume in new iPads and MacBooks.

Arstechnica have written a report on the subject which makes for interesting reading. They say “Anobit—like Apple’s other recent silicon design acquisitions, PA Semi and Intrinsity—is a fabless design house. Its specialty is creating, testing, and verifying new designs that implement its technological innovations, and then licensing the designs to companies like Apple. By buying up Anobit, Apple can keep its flash storage improvement technologies all to itself as a competitive advantage.

Still, Apple will have to hire contract fabs or other manufacturers to build chips using the improved designs. Given the headaches that Samsung, Apple’s top chip supplier, has caused Apple in the smartphone marketplace, the Anobit acquisition is perhaps another sign that Apple is prepared to drop Samsung altogether and move production of in-house designed custom silicon to someone like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.”

Kitguru says: Seemingly a very good move for Apple, but one of their most expensive acquisitions in recent years.

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