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What does Apple want with security firm AuthenTec?

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Reuters

(Read caption) An Apple iPhone 4S is shown at an electronics fair in Las Vegas. Apple has acquired a security software company called Authentec, according to reports.

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Earlier this month, Samsung announced it would partner with a software company called AuthenTec, in order to firm up the security on its line of Android smartphones. Now one of Samsung's fiercest competitors is snapping AuthenTec for its own, effectively scuttling Samsung's deal. According to ReutersApple will acquire the Florida-based AuthenTec for approximately $356 million. 

So hey, what does Apple want with AuthenTec? 

Well, on the one hand, it's simple brinksmanship. Apple and Samsung shipped a combined 76 million handsets in the second quarter of this year – they are the "global smartphone heavyweights," in the words of one analyst. So when Samsung wanted AuthenTec, Apple wanted AuthenTec, too, and it was willing to pay for it. But it's a safe bet that Apple execs were thinking about more than Samsung when they inked the deal. 

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