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Apple may end up buying Intel's modem business

14 June 2019

Immediately after the Apple-Qualcomm deal, Intel announced that it would stop developing 5G modems for smartphones. The recent report suggests that Apple may buy Intel's German modem unit to move on with the plan. "Modem businesses are tricky and need constant research and development with changes like 5G ahead".

A while back there were reports about how Apple was interested in acquiring Intel's modem business.

The ongoing dispute between Apple and Qualcomm was the reason why Apple resorted to Intel for its modem technology. Meanwhile, it appears that Intel has seen "significant interest" in its 5G business, however, no company names were revealed.

Speaking in a statement, Intel said: "We have hired outside advisers to help us assess strategic options for our wireless 5G phone business".

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.

Although Apple is best known for its iPhone, iMac, MacBook, iPad, and other proprietary devices that the tech giant developed on its own, part of the company's business model is to purchase existing technologies and brands that would ultimately bolster its existing products or pair well with others. What added fuel to fire was Apple hiring several key executives from Intel since the turn of the year. The $600 million deal brought roughly 300 Dialog Semiconductor employees and some patents to Cupertino. So, Apple presented a considerable amount of money (around $4.5 billion) in the form of apology to Qualcomm and in turn, got a six-year global contract of 5G modems. The engineers who wrapped up that division was the one who use to make chips form iPhones around 10 years back. Apple didn't want to delay the launch of 5G iPhones any further.

Intel's modem business is spread across the globe. A few months ago, Stefan Wolff, the head of Intel's German modem team, left Intel to join Apple.

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. That also be a reason for Apple to acquire the Germany modem business.