News has surfaced that Apple has bought AuthenTec, a company that makes secure fingerprint sensors for $356 million. AuthenTec mainly provides fingerprint sensor chips, which are common across the industry. While the work that AuthenTec does is widely known in the tech industry, there is nothing concrete about what Apple is hoping to gain from buying AuthenTec or what technology it is expecting from AuthenTec to put into its own devices.
Authentic provides mobile security solutions for various platforms, including Android. Authentic has also worked with Apple in the past, providing security solutions for Mac OS, providing fingerprint scanning solutions for Mac OS X. Most recently, AuthenTec signed a mobile VPN agreement with Samsung for its Android devices.
So why has Apple decided to purchase the company? According to AllThingsD, it wants AuthenTec to develop something that is “specifically designed for Apple.” In other words, Apple is looking to make big improvements to its security after a number of security issues, including the Russian Hacker who bypassed the in-app purchase system.
It remains unclear what Apple is expecting from the company. According to The Wall Street Journal, AuthenTec said in its filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it “cannot comment on Apple’s intentions” for the company.
Apple is clearly gearing up to take some big security measures. Apple is also reportedly paying $20 million for rights to certain patents, with an option to pay as much as $115 million for other patents it chooses.