Apple appears to be in talks about an acquisition of Flash drive performance chip developer and SSD manufacturer Anobit in a $400 million to $500 million deal.
Such an acquisition would be a rare one for Apple, which is not known as an acquisitive company, especially on the hardware side.
Details about the potential acquisition first appeared on Tuesday in the Israeli news site Calcalist, which also reported that a leading Asian Flash memory maker is also in talks about investing in the Herzeliya Pituach, Israel-based storage vendor. That could mean Apple would become a strategic investor in Anobit instead of acquiring it, Calcalist said.
Anobit's Memory Signal Processing (MSP) technology uses proprietary signal processing algorithms combined with advanced error correction and flash management schemes to improve the performance of MLC NAND memory used to produce capacity-optimized SSDs.
The company also manufacturers its own line of mobile and enterprise SSDs.
Apple currently uses Anobit technology in its iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air products, Calcalist reported.
Should Apple either acquire or gain a strategic foothold in Anobit, it would gain direct control over a key technology found in those devices. Such a move would be in step with Apple's strategic preference to control the technology it uses rather than rely on third parties.
Reuters on Tuesday reported that Korean-based Flash memory manufacturers Samsung and Hynix are among Anobit's key clients, and that Hynix recently took over as the main Flash memory supplier for Apple's iPhone 4S. Anobit technology is used to enhance the performance of Hynix's SSDs, Reuters reported.
Apple and Anobit did not respond to requests for more information.