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Apple Buys AuthenTec

Competing for attention with Facebook’s first public earnings report, Apple just bought mobile security company AuthenTec for $356 million.

“Apple is paying $8 per share, a 58-percent premium, for the Melbourne, Florida-based AuthenTec,” reports Reuters, citing a regulatory filing released Thursday.

What really has Web watchers talking is that fact that AuthenTec just signed a deal with Apple rival Samsung to secure its Android devices.

“Amid fierce smartphone competition between Samsung and Apple that has spilled into a multinational patent battle, it looks like Apple may have opened yet another front on the M&A side,” TechCrunch writes.

Aside from potentially disrupting rivals, why does Apple need such sophisticated technology?

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“Apple on the surface doesn't care about the enterprise,” ZDNet writes. “Don't believe it. On Apple's most recent earnings conference call, executives touted enterprise wins as they do almost every quarter.”

In fact, the number of iPhones in the enterprise has doubled from a year ago, ZDNets notes. “In many companies, Apple is replacing Research in Motion.” But, like rivals, why couldn’t Apple have just partnered with AuthenTec? “It wants the team at AuthenTec to develop something just for Apple,” AllThingsD suggests.

“Another asset AuthenTec has is a patent portfolio -- it has 200 technology patents that are “foundational” to fingerprint biometrics,” writes GigaOm.

Also of note, “one service that [AuthenTec] provides is security for a near-field communication based mobile e-wallet,” AppleInsider writes. “Rumors have persisted that Apple is interested in adding an NFC chip and e-wallet functionality to a future iPhone.”

 

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