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Apple gobbles up FireWire company

update The Mac maker, not known for taking over companies, acquires a business founded by former Apple employees who helped develop the high-speed data transfer standard.

update Apple Computer said Thursday that it has acquired Zayante, which makes chips and software that enable the high-speed data transfer standard known as FireWire.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Zayante's technology is used to make consumer-electronics and semiconductor products compliant with the IEEE 1394 standard--also known as FireWire. FireWire, which was invented by Apple, is designed to help PCs and consumer-electronics devices, such as video cameras and hard drives, quickly transfer large amounts of data.

Zayante, which was formerly known as FireFly, was founded by former Apple employees who helped develop FireWire.

Michael Johas Teener, Zayante's chief technology officer, was the chief architect of Apple FireWire technology. He worked at Apple from 1988 to 1996. Another Apple alumnus now at Zayante is senior systems engineer Jay Hamlin, who contributed to FireWire and Apple's Pippin device.

Historically, Apple has not been known for making big acquisitions. The company's most notable large acquisition was NeXT Software for $400 million in 1997. Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, was NeXT's CEO at the time, and served as an adviser to Apple's former CEO before taking over the position.

The company has made a number of smaller acquisitions in recent years. In February, it quietly acquired Nothing Real, a maker of visual effects software. Last July, the company bought Spruce Technologies, a maker of DVD authoring software. In March of last year, Apple said it was buying education software maker PowerSchool for $62 million in stock.

Ian Fried contributed to this report.