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Cellphones Security The Almighty Buck Apple

Did Apple Buy Fingerprint Security Firm For Mobile Wallet? 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-just-keeping-those-angry-birds-safe dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Reuters reports that Apple will buy fingerprint sensor technology developer AuthenTec for about $356 million, striking a deal that could help Apple bring fingerprint technology, already used in mobile phones in Japan for authentication of mobile payments, to markets such as the United States, where mobile-wallet services have been slow to catch on. Some analysts expect the iPhone 5 to include some form of mobile payments technology. 'In the past 5 years, the growth of iPhone and Android smartphones has made mobile data security essential, not just a "nice-to-have" feature,' says Ben Yu, Managing Director of Sierra Ventures, one of the early investors in AuthenTec. 'People have their whole lives on the phones.' AuthenTec's embedded fingerprint scanners and other identity-related software is particularly useful now that Near Field Communications, or NFC-enabled, phones have begun to appear in the market. Analyst Colin Gillis says AuthenTec technology could potentially also help Apple combat problems such as theft of its more portable products such as iPhones. 'If they could have a way where they could tie the phone to a user more tightly, that would make sense for them,' says Gillis. The price tag for AuthenTec is a drop in the bucket of Apple's cash pile of $117.2 billion. 'We'll see if it's a one-off or if Tim Cook will start to level his cash balance and acquire talent,' adds Gillis."
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Did Apple Buy Fingerprint Security Firm For Mobile Wallet?

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  • Transform technology to nearly 100% mobile, then incorporate fingerprint-based biometric confirmation inside the devices themselves so the NSA has total awareness of the movements and activities of everyone on the planet, based on the smudges people leave on their toys.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If the NSA can pull fingerprints off my favorite toy, I have other problems.

  • I don't know how much better this would be than a password or the pattern unlock idea... Fingerprint scanners can be fooled, and a financial incentive to do so would make it tempting for thieves anyway. I guess it'll keep the honest people honest though. It would be quicker than either of the first two in theory. I can't see apple wanting to clutter up their devices with a scanner somewhere though, this is probably just a patent grab.

    • Pfff there is one snag in your conspiracy theory. Samsung is a conglomeration that exists out of different individual entities that mostly operate in-depended and has its own goals.

      There is a big chance that the division that license that IP to develop chips is the same division that also provide Apple with electronics. It isn't because the "mobile" devision is in conflict with Apple, that the rest of the divisions are at war.

      In my opinion it is an extremely simplified view if you see those companies
    • by fermion (181285)
      It is also possible they did it to aggressives control the supply line for the iPad and iPhone. It is through this control that Apple is able to deliver a premium and unique product. They now own the technology they will likely use in these devices. Lack of such foresight is why Android makes are paying MS maybe $10 a device to cross license technology, presumably the *nix core is a major part of this as MS believes that all the *nix technology has been stolen from MS.

      It could be that Apple will use th

      • by swillden (191260)

        It is also possible they did it to aggressives control the supply line for the iPad and iPhone.

        Nah. AuthenTec is far from the only maker of compact, embeddable, cost-effective fingerprint scanners -- even assuming that fingerprint authentication on your phone is a good idea.

  • It's called Passbook, announced with iOS6. Apple wants none of this NFC or other such nonsense.

  • "Mobile wallets" haven't caught on in the US because banks refuse to play ball. Apple may have $100 billion in cash, but that cash is in banks. US banks have absolutely no intention of being pushed around by Apple, and Apple has no leverage with them. Does anybody imagine Bank of America is going to let go of their per-transaction profitability and account fees?

    So what is Apple to do? Become the next PayPal? I suppose it's not impossible, but it sounds like a strange move for them.

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