After Apple and Qualcomm’s ever-lasting feud finally settled, Intel decided to abandon its modem business as it had lost the hopes of producing 5G tech for future iPhones. However, according to recent reports, it has been claimed that the Cupertino tech giant is in advanced talks to purchase Intel’s modem chip division within the next week.
Intel proclaimed back in April that it had been exiting the 5G mobile modem business earlier this year after Apple reached a surprise settlement with Qualcomm that will witness Apple’s return in using Qualcomm’s modems in its smartphones once again.
Intel’s CEO, Bob Swan went on to clarify that Intel had abandoned the modem business directly due to the Apple settlement– without Apple as a customer, the company concluded that it just didn’t see a path forward.
According to a report from Bloomberg at the time, the tech giant reportedly decided Intel could not provide a 5G modem the iPhone in a timeframe that worked with its plans to unleash 5G-ready smartphones, forcing Apple to reconcile with Qualcomm after years of contentious legal disputes. Now, a deal for Apple to acquire that portion of Intel’s business, covering a portfolio of patents and staff valued at $1 billion or more, could be reached in the next week.
After the mentioned deal, Intel reportedly began hunting for a buyer for its modem business. And it turns out that Apple makes a lot of sense as a buyer. Before Apple and Qualcomm settling, Intel became the only third-party modem provider for the 2018 models of the iPhone. And Apple has long been Intel’s only major client for modems — nearly every other major Android phone relies on either Qualcomm or in-house solutions.
While the giant tech has a new deal with Qualcomm, the famously controlling technology company was already gearing up on developing its own, in-house modems, just like its existing internal CPU platform that has resulted in the iPhone and iPad’s proprietary A-series chipsets. Adding Intel’s portfolio and experience to the process — an experience that consists of existing work on 5G chips for iPhones — would likely only speed up that process and allow Apple to operate independently of a third party for its modems in the future.