Apple is now the owner of Intel's mobile modem business

Joanna Estrada
December 3, 2019

Earlier this year, Intel officially sold off its 5G mobile modem business to Apple to the tune of US$1 billion (~RM4.18 billion), signaling the semiconductor maker's exit from the 5G modem business. That may sound like a lot to most people, but for a company of Apple's riches, it's considerably less big a deal.

Intel said it blames Qualcomm for the performance of its mobile chip business.

Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Intel Steven Rodgers wrote in an official post that Qualcomm had forced Intel out of the smartphone chip business.

With the deal now final, Apple will acquire around 2,200 employees from Intel, along with a range of equipment, leases, and modem-related patents and intellectual property. The iPhone 11 series runs on Intel's 4G modem. Apple paid Qualcomm $4.5 billion to settle that dispute.

This gives Apple some lead time to bring its newly acquired modem business in house and to work on making its tech 5G-ready (with 5G iPhones expected to drop next year) before having to put its tech in retail devices. It struggled to get a foothold in the chip business because of Qualcomm, according to The Motley Fool's Evan Niu.

This is stated in court documents contesting Qualcomm's appeal of a US Court ruling from May 2019 that found that the company's licensing practices had "strangled" competition.

Intel CEO Bob Swan told CNBC over the summer that "the likelihood and probability that we were going to ... make money was just not there as we look forward in light of the dynamics of the market". Apple now holds over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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