Apple was involved in discussions with Intel about possibly acquiring parts of Intel’s smartphone modem business, says The Wall Street Journal. The Cupertino firm was looking for ways to speed up its efforts to build its own modem chips for its iPhone lineup.
The discussions began last summer and continued for months but ended just about the time Apple settled its legal dispute with Qualcomm. Apple also reached a supply agreement with the San Diego modem maker.
Sources at Intel told the publication that Intel is still interested in selling its smartphone modem business to Apple or another company.
Selling the modem business would allow Intel to unload a costly operation that was losing about $1 billion annually, according to another person familiar with its performance. Any sale would likely include staff, a portfolio of patents and modem designs related to multiple generations of wireless technology, said Patrick Moorhead, principal at Moor Insights & Strategy, a technology firm.
Apple had been planning to use Intel’s 5G chips in its 2020 iPhone lineup, but reports indicated Intel was having trouble meeting design deadlines, leading to a souring of the relationship between the two companies. Apple’s agreement with Qualcomm resulted in Intel’s announcement that it would not be making 5G smartphone modems.
Intel is now planning to use Qualcomm’s 5G modems in the 2020 iPhones.