Reports have surfaced today that Apple is in advanced talks to buy Anobit Technologies, a maker of flash memory solutions from Israel. The deal, if true, is rumored to be somewhere between $400 to $500 million.
News of the deal came via Calcalist (in Hebrew) and is said to be Apple’s largest acquisitions since the company purchased NeXT computers in 1996 that included the return of Steve Jobs to the company. It would also mark the first purchase for the company of any firm in Israel, and the the first under CEO Tim Cook‘s leadership.
Apple currently uses parts manufactured by the company in its iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air product lines, so there is an existing relationship between the two companies. Considering the Cupertino-based company’s growing reliance on flash memory, bringing a manufacturing arm in house makes a lot of sense, although it is an unusual move as its acquisitions are usually software-based as opposed to hardware-based.
A potentially amusing sidebar to this story is that Samsung, a company Apple is currently locked in legal battles with all over the world, is also amongst the Anobit client list. One has to wonder if this purchase goes through if that will still be the case.
Purchasing the means to make the technologies your company relies on is an old trick for companies, and it is honestly somewhat surprising that Apple hasn’t done this with a flash memory company sooner. It will allow them to cut down on costs for manufacturing even further in the long run, and also possibly become a revenue stream onto itself if they so desire. There really isn’t anything to not love about this deal for them.
What do you think of the potential of Apple purchasing a flash memory company?