Apple buys mobile security company

Jul 31, 2012 16:00:54Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Apple buys mobile security company

Apple recently bought the fingerprint sensor technology company AuthenTec, which was purchased for about $356 million. This move could likely put the iPhone in the lead for having a mobile payment system, according to Reuters.

The mobile security company is known for developing sensor chips that can be used on personal mobile devices, the media outlet reports. These chips are used in Japan for authentication of mobile payments, and even though this market has yet to flourish in the U.S., Apple's purchase may make it more of a reality for iPhones in the future.

"In the past five years, the growth of iPhone and Android smartphones has made mobile data security essential, not just a 'nice-to-have' feature," Ben Yu, managing director of Sierra Ventures, one of the early investors in AuthenTec, told the news source. "People have their whole lives on the phones."

According to TechCrunch, Apple is supposedly gearing up for mobile wallet services, and AuthenTec could help them develop a successful program in a secure way. The main issue with getting consumers to buy into this idea is security, as smartphone privacy has been a major focus as of late. Not only are people putting more personal and business data on their phones, they are also utilizing these devices as their main outlet to the internet. As this trend increases, so does the need for secure and protected devices, and this becomes that much more important with mobile payments.

This acquisition was a surprise to many, especially Apple's heated rival Samsung, which struck a deal with the security company only a month ago for Android devices. It is unclear what Apple plans to do with AuthenTec, but it may try to slow its competitors down in the mobile wallet industry, the media outlet reports.

This deal may also fuel some of the fire between Apple and Samsung, which are currently entering the courtroom. According to USA Today, Apple is suing Samsung for allegedly copying the iPhone and iPad. Apple wants the products pulled from the stores and for Samsung to pay $2.5 billion in damages. Samsung replied their allegations are "absurd," and that Apple should be paying them royalties, as iPhones run on some of their wireless technologies.