So long Qualcomm? Apple is reportedly mulling a purchase of Intel’s smartphone modem business
Apple’s newly re-established relationship with Qualcomm may not last as long as first thought, if a new media report is to be believed.
Apple is reportedly talking with Intel about the possible purchase of its Intel’s German modem business, which could result in the iPhone maker developing its own modems.
This should come as no surprise, as Intel had announced in April “its intention to exit the 5G smartphone modem business” altogether.
Intel’s decision to exit the sector came after Apple and Qualcomm announced this year they had reached a settlement and would cease all legal action between the two.
That settlement saw Apple agreeing to make an undisclosed payment to Qualcomm, and to use Qualcomm’s modem chips going forward.
But now the Information, quoting four people briefed on the discussions, reported that Apple is talking to Intel about buying the German operations of its modem business.
Any acquisition would likely see the transfer of hundreds of modem engineers to Apple, the Information reported.
But it seems that Apple was never really happy with Intel. Last July for example it was reported that Apple was considering moving away from using Intel’s 5G modems in future iPhones.
And in April it was reported that Apple was losing confidence in Intel’s ability to hit its deadline for the 5G modems.
Intel had said last November that it only expected to ship the 8160 5G modem in the second half of 2019, but Apple needed it by July this year in order to meet future handset release dates.
Apple has also reportedly bolstered its in-house engineering team to between 1,000 and 2,000 engineers to work on its own 5G modem chip.
On top of that, Apple has reportedly hired a number of Intel executives.
The Information reported that Stefan Wolff, who previously managed the chipmaker’s German modem team, joined Apple from Intel several months ago.
Apple also reportedly poached Umashankar Thyagarajan, the head of Intel’s now-defunct modem biz, back in February.
Intel’s decision to exit the smartphone business came when Apple and Qualcomm kissed and made up, and settled their legal differences.
And Apple it should be remembered is not afraid to acquire companies for the technologies they develop. Last October for example, Apple acquired parts of the business of UK-based Dialog Semiconductor.
Apple paid $600m (£454m) for a combination of patents, engineers, and facilities in multiple countries, as it seeks to control the Dialog power management integrated circuits (PMICs) found in all nearly iPhones.
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