AuthenTec has been a major player in the finger-based biometrics space for many years and in a post 9/11 world the prospects for the security technology went through the roof for a few years and then the optimism quickly faded. Over time the company has expanded into mobile VPN clients as well as providing mobile security.
In fact the company provides the mobile VPN client for the Samsung Galaxy SIII as well as content protection for HBO Go.
In short, the company has important technology across a broad spectrum of markets where Apple needs to be a leader. This is the reason for the purchase of AuthenTec by Apple for $356M. Moreover they get to make life difficult for Samsung in the process.
In addition, you can imagine government agencies and corporations still using Blackberries because of its superior security will likely be very tempted to switch to Apple in light of this news and the future product roadmap.
Not that Apple will show us a roadmap of course – but as is typical, the bloggers will pontificate and some consensus will emerge as to what will happen as a result of this acquisition.
One side-effect is once the suite of AuthenTec technologies are fully integrated into the Apple product line, the huge security advantage RIM enjoyed will evaporate, leaving the Canadian company even more vulnerable.
In short, this move by Apple will make enterprises much more comfortable with Apple products.