Apple Acquires Israel-Based Flash-Memory Part Maker Anobit

Apple Inc. said it acquired Anobit Technologies Ltd., an Israeli company that makes a flash-memory drive part for the iPhone and iPad, confirming a press report from last month.

The deal helps Apple secure supplies of a key component for its top-selling devices. Anobit makes high-performance controllers used to optimize the memory capabilities inside products such as the iPhone and iPad. Apple is the world’s largest buyer of NAND flash memory, accounting for about 23 percent of consumption last quarter, according to a Jan. 6 report from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said today that the purchase had been made, while declining to elaborate. The statement confirmed a December report from in the Israeli newspaper Cacalist.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Dowling said in a telephone interview.

The Anobit deal, whose cost Apple wouldn’t disclose, is the company’s first acquisition in Israel, where Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. have established operations.

Israel, with a population similar in size to Switzerland’s at 7.7 million, has about 60 companies traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the most of any nation outside North America after China. Israel is also home to the largest number of startups per capita in the world.

Research Center

Microsoft opened a research and development center in Israel in April 2006, according to the Redmond, Washington-based software maker’s website. Intel, which began operations in Israel in 1974 with five employees, has 6,600 workers in the country, according to the chip manufacturer’s website.

Anobit had raised $76 million from investors, including Battery Ventures and Pitango Venture Capital, before today’s announcement, according to an online fact sheet. The Israeli company says its memory signal processing technology uses proprietary signal-processing algorithms to improve the performance of flash-memory chips.

While Apple didn’t acknowledge buying Anobit until today, Israel’s prime minister’s office welcomed the company to the country in a Dec. 20 post on Twitter.

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