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Apple Buys Israeli Flash Manufacturer 114

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the gotta-buy-em-all dept.
Lucas123 writes "According to published reports Apple is plunking down up to $500 million to purchase solid-state drive start-up Anobit Technologies. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted about the deal congratulating Apple on its first acquisition in his country. Apple is planning to use the acquisition to set up to set up a semiconductor development center in Israel. Apple already uses NAND flash from Anobit in its iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air products, according to the reports."
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Apple Buys Israeli Flash Manufacturer

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  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:04PM (#38449432)

    Good to see some good ol' vertical integration still going on out there.

    • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:22PM (#38449690) Homepage Journal
      Seems likely to me that Apple has had enough of crappy SSD controllers causing problems on its notebooks (especially the Air) and wants to finally get it done right. It could also be a competitive advantage to be the company with the best drive controllers.
      • by dwightk (415372)

        They are already using this tech in the Air, and iOS devices

        (I read somewhere)

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Actually it makes the problem worse. If you can pick any manufacturer you like then you can test all the available chipsets and choose the best, and if later on it turns out to have a flaw you can switch to another fairly quickly. If you are making your own chips you are stuck with them, and just because it's Apple doesn't mean they will magically be immune to mistakes.

  • Is this the trend? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stanlyb (1839382) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:20PM (#38449634)
    First they just opened a new factory in Texas, now in Israel, both out of China (in case you did not read the fine print), so, is this the new trend now? No more "cheap" chips? Or maybe they are becoming too expensive? Or maybe Apple knows something that we don't? Like, China is friend no more.....
    • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:23PM (#38449696)

      China doesn't tend to make things like chips. Those are almost all made somewhere else. China is more of a "final assembly" kind of space. You send them over the parts, they build the final product for cheap.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by derGoldstein (1494129) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:45PM (#38449988) Homepage
        Usually What's outsourced to China is anything that requires manual labor. If you need people to do it, and said people don't need to be engineers, then there's a good chance that you'd get the most bang for your buck in China.

        This is quickly changing, however. Chinese companies are establishing themselves as brands, and they themselves are using up the workforce. The pendulum is starting to shift the other way -- Chinese companies are setting up "beachheads" in Europe, and are even outsourcing jobs to cheaper countries.
        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          you'd get the most bang for your buck in China

          Well, until we can re-legalize slavery in the U.S.

          • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jeng (926980) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @01:28PM (#38450496)

            Well, until we can re-legalize slavery in the U.S.

            That would never go over, with slaves you have to pay for their food, for their clothing, for their medical care, and for their housing.

            Paying someone minimum wage is way cheaper than slave labor.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Africa countries, actually. This is why they are building large infrastructure projects in African countries that have large mineral wealth. Specifically copper.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Germany and Japan manage to have successful manufacturing sectors because they are not in a race to the bottom with China. Their stuff costs a bit more but is also better quality and locally produced (some people care about that).

      • by AlecC (512609)

        China doesn't tend to make things like chips. Those are almost all made somewhere else

        Yes it does. Look up SMIC, one of the larger semiconductor fab companies in the world, making other people's designs.

        • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

          by fotoflojoe (982885) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @01:59PM (#38450892)

          China doesn't tend to make things like chips. Those are almost all made somewhere else

          Yes it does. Look up SMIC, one of the larger semiconductor fab companies in the world, making other people's designs.

          Are those other people aware of that fact?

        • They are the biggest in China, but that isn't saying much. You want big? Look at TSMC, who's IP SMIC ripped off. It's also only older tech. 45nm is the smallest they do. That's fine, but not for cutting edge products.

          Plus while there's a decent market in fabs-for-order, there's a massive market in semi-conductor companies that fab their own stuff. Intel, IBM, TI, Samsung, and so on all fab their own stuff in whole or in part.

          China is not big in the chips industry, at all. They do some, but nothing compared

      • by Anonymous Coward

        China doesn't tend to make things like chips. Those are almost all made somewhere else. China is more of a "final assembly" kind of space. You send them over the parts, they build the final product for cheap.

        My guess is that China thinks they do. Seeing as they believe Taiwan is still a part of China. I still think it's hilarious the West even calls it Taiwan when China calls it properly Taipei.

      • by jrumney (197329)
        There are plenty of chip assembly plants in China, looking at the PCB in front of me now, I see 3 out of 6 ICs on the board have "China" printed on them, the other 3 don't say any country's name so could be made anywhere. What they may not be doing much of in China of is wafer fabrication - this generally requires higher tech factories, and tends to be kept in US, Europe and Japan where the risk of leaks is lower.
    • by cyfer2000 (548592)
      Apple didn't open a factory in Texas, if you are talking about Samsung manufacturing chips for Apple in Texas, that plant was built in 1996.
      • by JazzLad (935151)
        Shhh! The plant didn't really open until it started making Apple products

        (There goes my karma...)
  • IP Related move? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guppy (12314) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:21PM (#38449664)

    Coupled with their ARM CPU developments, I think Apple is attempting to remove their dependency on component makers such as Samsung (or at least gain some IP to use as leverage). I wouldn't be surprised if Apple starts some Flash-related patent wars in a few more years.

    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @01:04PM (#38450204)

      I think you have a good point there. Samsung gets a lot of business from Apple as a supplier of flash chips. And yet at the same time they are ripping off Apple's device designs. Apple must be quite keen to ditch them as a supplier as soon as is possible.

      • Arm and memory controllers speaks more to Apple competing with Intel than Samsung.
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I think you have a good point there. Samsung gets a lot of business from Apple as a supplier of flash chips. And yet at the same time they are ripping off Apple's device designs. Apple must be quite keen to ditch them as a supplier as soon as is possible.

        Apple's actually got more power over Samsung than Samsung over Apple.

        Samsung just opened a new fab to make chips for Apple. Apple is Samsung's #1 customer these days. The loss of Apple's business would immediately put Samsung in a bad spot - idle fabs lose

    • by AlecC (512609)

      But their ARMs are fabbed for them by Samsung.

  • by Old97 (1341297) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:25PM (#38449730)
    They design, they don't fab. Just like PA Semi which Apple bought earlier. Apple designs products and product components but then outsources their manufacture. They aren't interested (so far) in owning fabrication plants. They can be more agile if they can switch manufacturers as their requirements change.
  • by jmcbain (1233044) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:34PM (#38449836)
    As a typical open source advocated, I am shaking my fist in anger at how successful Apple is with its proprietary technology. Why are people giving that company money when they could be using a Linux machine and playing Tux Racer instead of stupid Angry Birds??? What makes me more mad is that I've been practicing being irate at Microsoft for so long that when Apple suddenly rushed to success overnight, it's made me angry that I did nothing with my life during the 2000s except comb my exquisite neckbeard and ponytail. Doesn't Apple know that it could make more money by giving away its software and hardware for free and then charge for services? SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW AT OTHER PEOPLE'S SUCCESS. GRRRR! Everyone on Slashdot is with me, right? All together now: GRRRR!
    • by marklark (39287) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @01:26PM (#38450468) Homepage

      GRRRR! :^)

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      Apple uses a mix of closed and open source wares. Come to think of it, so do I on my Linux box (vmware workstation, flash, windows codecs, nvidia driver). I'd rather they all be open source, but things are working well enough. I don't have a religious rage that theings aren't 100% the way I wish they were. Of course, you have proprietary softwares in your computer too (bios, embedded roms, etc.) and in many of your household appliances and vehicles.
    • I can't hear the replies, the whooshing sound it too loud.
    • by Deorus (811828)

      Mach is open, the userland tools are all open, and Darwin was open for a while, though nobody demonstrated any interest in it.

      OSX is like having a Linux desktop without the Linux issues, and Apple embraces open technologies and follows standards whenever possible, which in some cases is actually more than Linux does (SUS and POSIX compliance, for example).

  • by Tapewolf (1639955) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:36PM (#38449856)
    Weren't Anobit the folks who developed the technology to make MLC flash work reliably? That's going to become critically important as people increase the density of the arrays (for SSD drives etc) - and from the way Apple has been behaving recently, I'm not sure they'd be willing to share it with Intel, Sandisk and so on.
  • At least... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:36PM (#38449868)

    At least they bought an Israeli Flash company and not Adobe, amirite?

    (Thank you, I'm here all week.)

    • by Annorax (242484) *

      Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! That hurt!

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      wouldn't it be cheaper to hire domestic flashers from the ranks of the homeless and give them overcoats or raincoats? or do they want to insure their flashers all have circumcised peckers when they expose themselves?
  • More patents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by james_van (2241758) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:47PM (#38450012)
    Good move on Apple's part- buy the developer and retain the patents for anything new and novel coming out of there, but continue to outsource the fabrication. It's everything that was good about vertical integration, minus the bad (costs of retooling, slow response times). Couple this with locked in deals with manufacturers and Apple is setting itself up for an even stronger market domination. Say what you want about them (evil, controlling, walled-garden, doo-doo heads), they're not stupid over there. And keep in mind, the company is now run by the guy who was in charge of the supply chain. We're gonna be hearing alot more stories like this in the near future. Love them or hate them, Apple is running their business very very right.
  • Apple doesn't support Flash! ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not even as a fabless designer. So no, Apple doesn't use NAND flash from Anobit in any current devices.

    Anobit makes NAND flash technology. Apple uses NAND which sues some of this technology in their current devices.

    Additionally, I work with NAND engineers at Apple every day and so far they all deny this acquisition is even happening. They might be lying to me, as that is part of what secrecy is, but so far it looks like the deal isn't real.

    Adding to the suspicion that this might not be true is that this who

  • by wintercolby (1117427) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ybloc.retniw.> on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @01:33PM (#38450594)
    I don't know why, but I misread the subject as:

    Apple Buys Israeli Flesh Manufacturer

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