Apple made a small purchase of a software company this week. They spent $356 million dollars to pickup AuthenTec which is a mobile security company. While this is not the first (nor will it be the last) company that Apple buys to increase their holdings – it has larger implications than just expanding Apple’s Enterprise expansions.
So why than would this be an issue for Samsung you may ask? Well that’s easy, prior to this buyout going through Samsung had JUST in the last month inked a deal with AuthenTec to use it’s products in Samsung’s future Android devices.
So what does AuthenTec do that two such large tech companies are so interested in doing business with them? Well they specialize in quite a few things but all that matters here is that they make sensor chips for security and identification. Specifically ones that check for fingerprints and are embeddable in any kind of computing device – including mobile and tablet devices. The large issue with mobile devices (including the smart phones and tablets that we all love) is that they lack the security that made Blackberries so popular in the Enterprise circles and kept them as top sellers for as long as they were. Customer demand is finally winning out over Enterprise requirements though the ability to tap into both would easily help any brand have a huge influx of new corporate customers.
It wasn’t even a month ago that AuthenTec has signed a deal with Samsung to cater to it’s cover security and device managements services. The main reason they are looking for this is because it wants to take over the ability to add a layer of security in the ever-increasing popular trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) that has spread across corporate offices everywhere. Smart phones have advanced past what Blackberries are able to easily deliver though while Android and iOS devices can do amazing things both are lackluster when it comes to some security. That is looking to be changed.
AuthenTec services easily allow IT managers a way to add security to BYODs and more importantly add a custom way to authenticate them on their system using a form of identification that is not easy to fool.
The big catch on this is that Apple unofficially announced that a deal like this was coming when they reported their Q2 results. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook mentioned they were looking for a way to give the iPad a rapid adoption into the enterprise sector. Security and price points are the two primary factors when bringing new technology into the work place and if these devices truly are in the BYOD category the price is no longer on the company. However, the security still would be.
The form filing for this buyout states that Apple is paying $20 million in an IP and tech agreement to “acquire non-exclusive licenses and certain other rights with respect to hardware technology, software technology and patents of the Company.” It also though has a clause concerning licencing IP on a non-exclusive basis.
What does this mean for the current agreements including the one with Samsung? Well it’s hard to say until they announce which portions of the IP were included in which areas of the buyout. However, long term it will most likely mean that unless Apple and Samsung kiss and make up they are going to need to eventually look for another source of security and authentication for their Android devices.
Related Links: Tech Crunch.