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Apple confirms Anobit acquisition

Tech giant tells Bloomberg it has bought the Israel-based flash memory startup but declines to discuss the price or specific purpose.

Apple today confirmed earlier reports it has acquired Israel-based flash memory startup Anobit.

Apple's acquisition of the company, which makes flash memory technology found in the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air, was first reported in December by Israel's Calcalist business news site. The deal was reported to be worth $400 million to $500 million.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed the acquisition to Bloomberg but declined to discuss the purchase price or the company's plans for the startup.

If the deal happened in the price range previously reported, it would rank as one of Apple's largest to date, if not its largest. Apple acquired NeXT in 1997 for $404 million. More recently, the company acquired PA Semi in 2008 for $278 million and Quattro Wireless in 2010 for $275 million.

In addition to flash memory, the company also sells enterprise storage solutions. Apple's decision to acquire Anobit may allow it to get its memory at cost, rather than be forced to pay a premium to a third party The deal potentially would also enable Apple to ultimately cut off Samsung--an Anobit customer and one of Apple's chief competitors.