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Apple buying into Flash to get round Samsung

By PETER WHITE

Published: 16 December, 2011

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Apple has been tightening its control over the components for its critical products, the iDevices, and its latest move is reported to be acquisition of a flash memory supplier, Anobit Technologies. Such an acquisition could potentially get Apple around reliance on Samsung for its Flash memory requirements.

Right now Samsung and most other Flash memory makers, pay royalties for controller patents to either San Disk or Lexar, which increases the overall price of the Flash. If Apple has its own controller technology it can rid whoever makes its Flash of those royalties and also deny rivals access to the same technology and more tightly integrate memory into its products.

You have to ask whether vertical integration makes sense in this day and age, but Apple only seems to do it where it creates an edge for its product line.

Apple is in talks to buy the Israeli start-up for a sum between $400 million and $500 million. This would give the world's largest purchaser of flash memory ownership of a controller technology for NAND flash, called Memory Signal Processing (MSP) which makes memory chips more reliable. The system is already used in the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

For a full version of our analysis of both stories please go to www.rethinkresearch.biz/faultine and order this week's copy of Faultine and perhaps sign up for a trial.

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