Apple has acquired Anobit, an Israeli flash storage maker, for a price ranging between $400-$500 million, Hebrew news site Calcalist reported on Tuesday.
Both Apple and Anobit didn't comment on the acquisition but Israeli Prime Minister confirmed the Cupertino-based company's latest acquisition through Twitter.
Welcome to Israel, Apple Inc. on your 1st acquisition here. I'm certain that you'll benefit from the fruit of Israeli knowledge, the Israeli PM tweeted on his official account.
Anobit's executive team has informed employees in Herzliya the deal is complete, according to Calcalist.
The acquisition will be the most expensive one for Apple. In 1997, the tech giant had purchased NeXT with $404 million. NeXT was founded by Steve Jobs after he left Apple in 1985, following a boardroom battle.
Apple rarely buys a hardware company. In the past two decades, Apple had purchased 4 hardware firms - NeXT, P.A. Semi, Raycer Graphics, and Intrinsity.
Why is the Israeli-based company valued so much by Apple? According to industry watchers, Anobit's strength lies in its flash storage technology, which is used in electronic devices to store data. The flash storage is also immune from knocks and magnetic fields, but pricier than the traditional hard disk drives.
Through signal processing, Anobit has developed a chip to enhance flash drive performance, and the chip is already used in iPhone, iPad and the MacBook Air. Naturally, Apple is betting that the future lies in flash storage and is interested in the technology to enhance the memory volume and performance of its devices, as well as cut down on costs.
Robin Haris, a person who had spoken to Anobit's CEO Avraham Meir, told ZDnet that acquisition is Apple's biggest hardware bet ever – and it is a good bet, which will give Apple a powerful competitive weapon that can be used to both reduce costs and/or increase performance, while increasing product quality in terms of reliability and battery life.
Anobit, which boasts of a total of 95 patents, claims on its official Web site that its products are used by world leading flash manufacturers, consumer electronics vendors, and storage system providers.
Apple also plan to open a open a research and development center in Israel, which will be the first one outside California, Calcalist reported.