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Contactless disruption

Week 18, 2010

In the current case, with Inside Contactless acquisition of Atmel secure transactions activities (cf. Interview and Smart Card Industry section below), we are experiencing a real disruption in our industry: a contactless-centric company is buying a contact-centric one. The new technology is acquiring the old one. This is comparable to the time when the first automobile makers acquired the horse-drawn carriage manufacturers.

The secure transactions industry started with contact chips, and built its security image on them. Then came some memory contactless chips, initially limited to some markets such as transport, where it has been proved not to be totally secure. A couple years later, started to appear, essentially thanks to Inside Contactless, secure contactless microprocessor chips, that triggered the take-off of contactless technology in banking and identity.

Now, the new technology is taking over the old one with the first acquisition of a contact chip vendor by a contactless expert.

Inside Contactless, originally a spin-off from a major smart card vendor, is now playing in the same category as major players. With this acquisition the whole sector of semiconductor for payment is restructured around a very strong pole with both contact and contactless expertise.

Inside Contactless has been a major player in the NFC arena from its beginning, this acquisition will give the company all the market presence power it missed to have an even stronger impact on the technology take-off. Now, NFC has got a full set of suppliers, ready to excel in technology developments.

The announcement of Atmel’s acquisition by Inside contactless is probably the best outcome both for Atmel staff and for the development of the secure transactions industry.

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief Editor

Smart Insights Weekly