On Apple’s Acquisition of Fingerprint Sensor Maker AuthenTec

Interesting analysis by Matt Brian at The Next Web regarding the negotiations between Apple and AuthenTec, as gleaned from AuthenTec’s SEC filing on the acquisition:

On May 8, after consultations with its board and investors and discussion of whether it would be able to pursue takeover deals with other consumer electronic companies, AuthenTec countered Apple’s bid and said that it would require $9.00 per share for talks to continue. Apple said it would not offer more than $8.00 per share, and over the next three weeks the two parties worked on finalising the deal. […]

After much deliberation between AuthenTec, Apple, Alston & Bird and Piper Jaffray, a deal was agreed on the evening of July 26. Apple would pay $8.00 per share, provide $20 million for AuthenTec’s technologies and license its technologies for up to $115 million.

I can’t agree with Brian’s conclusion, though:

Throughout its meetings with AuthenTec, Apple was keen to express that work on the new technology must continue unhindered, regardless of whether it entered a commercial agreement (which involved royalties, patent licensing and its exclusive use) or it acquired the company.

Will we see fingerprint technology in the new iPhone (or iPad)? It seems almost certain.

The only thing that seems certain is that Apple has been hard at work on something related to AuthenTec technology. That doesn’t mean it will ever ship in an actual product, let alone in products that are set to be announced this year. A new iPhone or iPad that Apple would announce next month would have been in EVT prototype production back in April or so, and DVT prototype production this summer. Decisions like adding a new type of sensor have to be made relatively far in advance. If Apple was working hard and fast in mid-2012 to incorporate fingerprint sensors in a product, I bet that product isn’t hitting the market until 2013 at the earliest.

Thursday, 16 August 2012