December 28, 2011, 6:55 AM — Apple's buyout of Israel-based solid-state drive (SSD) manufacturer Anobit Technologies will give the company a significant technological boost in the mobile market, and the deal could yield huge cost savings.
According to published reports , Apple will pay around $500 million for Anobit. It sees the purchase of a NAND flash technology developer as key to its product strategy going forward. The acquisition of Anobit would be Apple's largest purchase since it bought NeXT in 1996. NeXT, which produced high-end workstations, was founded by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs after he was fired from Apple in 1985.
Apple has been using NAND flash memory in its products since 2005, when it began selling the iPod Nano media player. It has continued expanding its use of flash with an all-flash MacBook Air, the iPad tablet and SSD options for its MacBook Pro line of laptops.
The purchase of Anobit addresses several issues for Apple. It frees the company from dependency on flash component makers such as Samsung and Intel , which lead the market in NAND flash production. Using Anobit's controller technology -- a type of error correction code (ECC) -- would allow Apple to choose the cheapest NAND flash chip inventory available for its products.
"It could ultimately impact the cost of the NAND flash they buy if they're able to continue to develop [technology] that allows them to use the cheapest flash possible," said Michael Yang, a memory and storage analyst at market research firm IHS iSuppli.