When your average technology company buys another, smaller technology company, it doesn't always make the news. Or if it does, it's just a blip on the entire tech news radar. But when Apple
buys a company, big or small, everyone takes a minute to evaluate the situation and give their take on things. That is what's happening this week after the world found a nugget of information tucked away within Apple's recent 8-K filing with the SEC.
Liquidmetal is a small company that makes a tough, unique metal alloy that can be used in a variety of products, including personal consumer electronics. In years past, it was actually used in a few SanDisk products (amongst others). The metal alloys were originally developed by a team at the California Institute of Technology, and in general, these alloys are tougher to destroy than titanium or aluminum. The 8-K makes a few things very clear, and a few things not so clear. Here's what we do know. The deal that was struck between Liquidmetal and Apple enables Apple to acquire "substantially all of its intellectual property assets." That's vastly important, as it shows that Apple honestly just purchased this entire company for essentially everything that it's worth.
The other important line is here: the deal allows Apple to be a "perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in the field of consumer electronic products in exchange for a license fee." So those SanDisk products with Liquidmetal are the last ones that will be produced until Apple releases their hold, if they ever decide to.
Apple usually doesn't buy companies that they can't use in some form or another, so most are assuming that they want to try a new metal on their next generation iPhone, iPad, iMac and/or MacBook
lines. The aluminum bodies that Apple has been using are getting somewhat dated, and with this alloy material, it's much easier to make much more complex bends and shapes. Something tells us the designs from Apple will be ones to watch in the coming year.