Apple Is Moving To Take Over Flash Memory Industry From Samsung

Apple Is Moving To Take Over Flash Memory Industry From Samsung

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For only the second time in recent memory, Apple has used its pile of cash to buy a hardware company and threaten survival of another tech industry. Reports say Apple is ready to spend up to $500 million to acquire Anobit, an Israel-based flash memory maker already used in the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. It probably didn’t hurt that the purchase could free Apple’s reliance on its courtroom buddy Samsung.

According to TechCrunch, which cites Israeli news site Calcalist, Apple is particularly interested in the fabless chip maker for flash storage. Anobit makes a Memory Signal Processor (MSP) that “improve the speed, endurance and performance of flash systems while driving down the cost,” according to the report. The company’s technology also creates the MSP20xxx embedded flash controller used in mobile devices.

The flash memory deal would be the first under CEO Tim Cook’s leadership and only the second time the company acquired a hardware firm. In 2008, Apple paid $278 million for P.A. Semi which later produced custom ARM-based chips for the iPhone and iPad. Today’s deal could also help Apple walk away from a 2005 agreement with Samsung to ensure flash memory for the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. Since then, the two companies have fought numerous legal battles as both compete in the smartphone and tablet markets.

Earlier this year, Apple announced it had inked a $3.9 billion deal with unnamed component suppliers, a strategic move that Cook described as “fantastic.” However, such strategic moves to ensure Apple has a ready supply of parts is often met with complaints — largely from suppliers left out in the cold.

When Apple unveiled the all-flash MacBook Air, hard drive makers complained the move would cripple their industry.

In 2010, there was concern the iPhone’s “insatiable demand” for flash memory would hurt the industry. A year earlier, it was the iPod’s turn to take the blame for tight flash memory supplies. That same year, the entire industry jumped on Apple’s infatuation with flash memory. But in a sign that all trends run in circles, the advent of iCloud storage this year was viewed as hurting demand for Apple’s flash memory based hardware.

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  • Honey Badger

    How is this acquisition going to affect manufacturing? Anobit “designs” chips that use their patented tech, they do not manufacture them. Apple will still need to outsource the fabricating of the chips.

  • taylerz

    This potential acquisition is probably to balance the leverage Apple has with Samsung. While it’s more likely they’re trying to screw Samsung (see Galaxy Tab), it could be the other way around. Just listing a possible scenario. Samsung makes billions supplying flash to Apple, but I’ve seen Samsung do stupid things after stupid things which makes me believe anything’s possible. One thing’s for sure: don’t f%$# with Apple or you’ll be eating your balance sheet.

  • Snoop

    maybe samsung will now have to pay apple to fabricate the ships that apple purchases from them.  even steven, i say.

  • prof_peabody

    “For only the second time in recent memory …” 

    You can’t remember 2008?  

  • prof_peabody

    Anobit is fabless.  

  • Leaver Fast

    Apple fans… just dream on.
    Apple, taking over flash memory industry… is this a sacarstic joke?

  • diathesis

    It seems like this article ignores the fabless part of Anobit.

    Someone needs to fabricate the memory. That’s not Anobit. If that’s Samsung, then this seems like it wouldn’t change the Apple/Samsung arrangement very much.

  • Goldie20

    Ed they make the controller chips, not the flash memory. This would be no different than buying Sandforce or Indilinx.

  • Dilbert A

    “Apple Is Moving To Take Over Flash Memory Industry From Samsung”

    iPray

  • Spike Ennis

    Has everyone missed the key word. ???  ”Apple is particularly interested in the fabless chip maker for flash storage.”  ”fabless.. means that they do not fabricate the chips only design and farm out to someone…. like samsung???

  • Spike Ennis

    right on.  
    Has everyone but you and I) missed the key word. ???  ”Apple is particularly interested in the fabless chip maker for flash storage.”  ”fabless.. means that they do not fabricate the chips only design and farm out to someone…. like samsung???

  • timoftelaur

    My friend was working on apple and he changed his profession and life build career because he discovered the best method to get a ipad for free. Each problem which I have with iPad it’s finished for me because my friend Mike helps me. After he told me the best method to get a free iPad 2, it always helps me with all sorts of questions I have. This is his job and I appreciate very much his website free-us-ipad.com . I hope that he will help you with your all questions. It is an amazing man. All my family got free ipads 2 + white smartcover. It’s a user proof category there if you don`t believe me. This man is my idol

  • STRIPBLUNTS

    Next announcement after this: Apple has purchased AMD or ARM!

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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