AuthenTec, the company behind fingerprint ID technology Apple purchased earlier this year, will stop supporting its other customers in 2013 which means companies such as HP and Samsung will have to look elsewhere for fingerprint scanning technology.
AuthenTec to customers: No More Tech for You
News of AuthenTec's plans comes courtesy of sources speaking with Korea's ETNews (translation). AuthenTec and Apple have not confirmed the report.
Apple bought the company in July for US$365 million, presumably for its security technology. AuthenTec also makes Near Field Communication (NFC) gear, which fed speculation that the iPhone 5 could incude the technology. Apple, however, left NFC out of its most recent iPhone model.
Analysts think Apple wants to use AuthenTec's technology for a mobile payment system. "Apple is likely most interested in its fingerprint authentication smart sensor technology, which we think it may want to use for iPhone mobile payment authentication," said Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um.
The technology could also be used to make Apple's products more enticing to the enterprise market. Ben Reitzed from Barclays said, "We feel owning the patents around these solutions should help Apple seamlessly integrate the technology into its device hardware, iOS and an iTunes back-end and get ahead of the competition."
Regardless of how Apple plans to use AuthenTec's assets it looks like competitors that have been relying on the company's technology are about to be left out in the cold. Samsung, HP, Dell and other companies will now have to scramble to find alternatives while they watch the tech they've been relying on become exclusive to the Mac, iPhone and iPad.
[Thanks to SlashGear for the heads up.]