Gigaom

Apple has agreed to purchase mobile security firm AuthenTec(s AUTH) for $356 million. The deal was first reported by Reuters on Friday, but the SEC filing shows the deal was sealed on Thursday.

According to Reuters, Apple paid a premium of about 58 percent for the Melbourne, Fla.-based company, or about $8 per share.

So what is AuthenTec? Even if you’ve never heard of the company, many of Apple’s competitors — who are AuthenTec customers and partners — have.

AuthenTec makes fingerprint sensors that can authenticate access to mobile devices and PCs. The company says 100 million of its sensors have already been shipped and they’re in more than 20 million phones. It counts HP(s HPQ), LG, Motorola (now owned by Google(s GOOG)), Nokia(s NOK) and Samsung as just a few of its customers.

As for why Apple would be interested in such a company, well, mobile security is…

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