AuthenTec Sells Encryption Business, Shows Apple's Interest in Fingerprint Sensors
With Apple supposedly attempting to acquire a security solutions provider, a recent move by AuthenTec to sell a portion of its business suggests that the Cupertino California company is most interested in its fingerprint scanning technology. AuthenTec supposedly reached a deal to sell its embedded security solutions division to another company named Inside Secure. The deal would mean that AuthenTec has retained ownership of its combined fingerprint and wireless near-field communication solution, which is part of a different division.
The decision to sell the embedded security division may hint at why Apple has pursued a deal with the company. Reports previously surfaced in July regarding Apple looking to buy AuthenTec for $356 million. Itís now rumored that AuthenTec is looking to get rid of the extraneous parts of its business that Apple isnít interested in acquiring. As of right now, AuthenTec still owns its fingerprint sensor and NFC technology, which would hint that said features might appear in future Apple products.
As of right now, AuthenTecís embedded security division is valued at up to $48 million. Inside Secure is committed to pay $38 million in cash at closing, plus up to an additional $10 million in the future. Although Apple hasnít officially confirmed its talks with AuthenTec, the security company notified customers in September that it would no longer be offering its security technology starting next year. Its client included Samsung, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Fujitsu. To make the acquisition seem more plausible, a recent filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission hinted that a piece of hardware named the ďSmart SensorĒ was key to Appleís acquisition. The component goes further than just simple fingerprint scanning by acting as a full-fledged touch pad controller, allowing UI navigation with one finger. This specific sensor is capable of identifying different fingers which can be associated with certain tasks. An example of this would be opening the phone app with a thumb or sending an email with a forefinger.
Weíll have to see whatís true and what isnít though by waiting patiently and seeing what surfaces next. In the end, itís beneficial to the consumers regardless because it means that weíll eventually get more appealing features in future devices.
Source: NFC World