Friday, July 27, 2012

Apple Buys Fingerprint Company - Question is Why

Source:  Marketwatch.

Woke up this morning to this incredible surprise:  Apple bought a company that specializes in making sensors for fingerprint authentication.  You're like what?  I'm still "like what?".

The company is called unsexily Authentec and was acquired for $356 million in cash.  

And yeah, after reading a couple of posts in this, I know this is related to security obviously.  For mobile?  Definitely.  It'll be interesting to see how Apple plans in integrating this with the iPhone and iPad which both have a wide enterprise adoption.

AllThingsD speculated that there could be something in the works that Apple wants exclusively for itself. This would be my guess as well.  Otherwise, there would not be a need for Apple to also acquire rights to certain patents and such.

Reuters goes one step further and figures this could have something to do with mobile payment.  It figures that even with a year or so lead in mobile payment, Google has not been able to get users to adopt its payment system en mass.  By providing additional security measures in its iOS devices, Apple could leap ahead by providing users with a peace of mind that their payment information is less likely to be intercepted.

Whatever the reason, security is the biggest threat going forward in any new mobile features or devices and the one company that can provide the greatest amount of it for its users would likely have an edge in the market - be it for real or for bragging rights.

It'll be interesting to see what Apple does as far as AuthenTec's other deals and if they'll continue to supply Apple's competitors with chips and software.

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