Apple mulling to buy Intel's modem business

Intel subsequently announced its exit from the 5G smartphone modem business to instead focus its 5G efforts on "network infrastructure and other data-centric opportunities". The reports surfaced of Intel being willing to sell off its smartphone modem business, hot on the heels of previous reports suggesting that Apple might have been in talks with the chip-maker for this specific part of its operation. More recently reports from Tomshardware suggest that Apple plans to acquire German leg of Intel's modem division.

Intel's modem division is centered in Germany, and an acquisition of the unit by Apple could bring several hundred modem engineers to the company, The Information reported. "Modem businesses are tricky and need constant research and development with changes like 5G ahead". Back in 2011 Intel acquire Infineon for $1.4 billion in Germany and later its become the heart of the business.

High profile names Stefan Wolff, former manager of Intel's German modem outfit was hired by Apple a couple of months back. The chipmaker said in a statement to Cnet that it had "received significant interest" in its 5G business.

Even if it gets access to Intel's 5G technology, Apple is probably still going to need at least 3-4 years to develop its own modems and put an end the forced partnership with Qualcomm.

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The Cupertino-based company has made its own processors for the iPhone and iPad since 2010, while in 2017, it announced it planned to stop including United Kingdom chip manufacturer Imagination Technologies' graphics technology in favour of an alternative developed in-house. The deal has Apple and Qualcomm entering a six-year patent license agreement as well as a multi-year chipset supply agreement. In 2018, Chinese smartphone firm ZTE was temporarily cut off from using Qualcomm modems after the US Department of Commerce (DOC) issued an order banning US companies from supplying the firm with key smartphone components. September 2019 is when the new iPhones will be launched.

But it seems that Apple was never really happy with Intel.

Intel's modem business is spread across the globe. Remember that Apple is now working on its own modem project, with plans to ditch third-party suppliers from 2022. That there are reports of the two meeting again to take the deal forward is indicative enough of something concrete shaping up this time.

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