Intel not only lost Apple’s 5G smartphone modem business, they lost their lead 5G modem developer to the Cupertino firm.
The Telegraph reported on Sunday that Apple lured Umashankar Thyagarajan to their modem team in February, two months before they announced a settlement with modem maker Qualcomm. The report sourced a leaked email involving Intel executives Messay Amerga and Abhay Joshi for the report.
Thyagarajan is said to have been a leader in the development of Intel’s 4G modem for 2018 iPhones, and served as a project engineer for the 5G-capable XMM 8160.
With Thyagarajan’s departure, Intel was reportedly forced to “reshuffle” its 5G development. Intel announced it was leaving the 5G smartphone modem business the same day the Apple vs. Qualcomm settlement was announced.
Apple was reportedly dissatisfied with the pace of Intel’s 5G modem development. The chip maker is said to have missed development deadlines, leading to Apple’s dissatisfaction and its settlement with Qualcomm, who will now likely produce the 5G modems used in the 2020 iPhone.
While Apple is reported to be developing its own 5G modem. However, those chips likely won’t be ready for prime time until 2021 at the earliest.