After weeks of negotiations, computer mega-giant Apple has acquired its first Israeli company, Anobit Technologies, for $390 million.
Anobit, based in Herzliya, will develop high-performance flash-memory drive components for Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone and iPad. The agreement was signed on January 6 and confirmed by Apple spokesman Steve Dowling on January 10.
Apple is also cultivating plans to open a semiconductor development center in Israel, a plan which is unrelated to the Anobit acquisition.
While the Anobit purchase is Apple’s first foray into the Israeli market, competitors Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard already have labs and development centers in the country. Intel opened its doors in Israel with five employees in 1974, according to Bloomberg business news, and now has 6,600 personnel in the country. Microsoft’s Israeli research and development center opened in the spring of 2006.
Bloomberg reported that Israel has 60 companies featured on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the most of any country outside North America with the exception of China. It is also home to the most startups per capita of any country in the world.
Israeli companies have been featured in several major international deals recently, including the sale of Israeli chip developer Zoran to the British makers of chips for Nokia Oyj mobile phones and the $307 million acquisition of Tel Aviv information technology firm Ness Technologies by Citi Venture Capital International.