Apple hired away Intel's 5G modem lead just prior to Qualcomm settlement

Posted:
in iPhone
Intel's departure from the 5G modem business may have been dictated not just by Apple's settlement with Qualcomm, but its reported poaching of Intel's lead 5G modem developer earlier in 2019.

iPhone XS and XS Max


Apple recruited Umashankar Thyagarajan in February, no more than two months before the Qualcomm settlement, The Telegraph said on Sunday, citing a leaked email involving Intel executives Messay Amerga and Abhay Joshi. Thyagarajan is said to have been essential to the development of Intel's 4G modem for 2018 iPhones, and a project engineer for the 5G-capable XMM 8160.

With him gone, Intel was allegedly forced to "reshuffle" 5G development. The chipmaker announced its departure from 5G modems the same day as the Apple v. Qualcomm deal.

It's widely believed that Apple was unhappy with the pace of Intel's 5G work. Some 5G-ready smartphones are already on the market, yet analysts noted that Apple was rapidly approaching a deadline for picking a 5G supplier for 2020 iPhones, never mind 2019 models.

That may have been a key or even overriding factor in the movement towards a settlement. Recently however evidence from the Apple v. Qualcomm trial was made public, revealing that Apple had a years-long goal of reducing its royalty payments. To achieve that Apple intended to "hurt Qualcomm financially," "put Qualcomm's licensing model at risk," and even deliberately license low-cost patents to make Qualcomm's demands look excessive.

Apple is thought to be designing its own 5G modem under senior hardware VP Johny Srouji. That likely won't reach shipping iPhones until 2021 at the earliest.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    Slowly, slowly, catch a quick mousey...
    stompy
  • Reply 2 of 16
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,593member
    It's going to take a long time, but Apple seems pretty determined to eventually produce its own 5G hardware, and that's a good thing. Now if someone could just persuade the exec team that producing safe, secure home networking equipment would be a good market to get into ... I have yet to encounter any equipment that is quite as delightfully hassle-free and reliable as my old AirPort stuff.
    rajesh_security_kwonkothesanestompymacsince1988caladanianSpamSandwichDanManTXlostkiwijony0
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 163member
    chasm said:
    It's going to take a long time, but Apple seems pretty determined to eventually produce its own 5G hardware, and that's a good thing. Now if someone could just persuade the exec team that producing safe, secure home networking equipment would be a good market to get into ... I have yet to encounter any equipment that is quite as delightfully hassle-free and reliable as my old AirPort stuff.
    It’s a saturated market with plenty of high-quality brands that produce better devices than Apple’s AirPorts. It’s not a good market to get into, which is why they left.
  • Reply 4 of 16
    In my twisted imagination, a situation like this occured:

    Tim Cook: "Give it to use straight. Can Intel deliver the 5G modem?"

    Thyagarajan: 
    /stares around meeting room {pauses a beat}
    /pantomime's hanging one's self

    Tim Cook: {sighs heavily} "Can somebody get [email protected]#$%&! Qualcomm on the line."

    But seriously this is interesting. I'd guess his opinion of Intel's 5G efforts had a strong influence on Apple's decision to settle with Qualcomm. As a key figure in Intel's development, he would be able to give an unvarnished assessment of Intel's chances of success with delivering a 5G mobile modem and delivering it on time.


    edited April 28 cornchipGeorgeBMaclostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 16
    In my twisted imagination, a situation like this occured:

    Tim Cook: "Give it to use straight. Can Intel deliver the 5G modem?"

    Thyagarajan: 
    /stares around meeting room {pauses a beat}
    /pantomime's hanging one's self

    Tim Cook: {sighs heavily} "Can somebody [email protected]#$%&! Qualcomm on the line."

    But seriously this is interesting. I'd guess his opinion of Intel's 5G efforts had a strong influence on Apple's decision to settle with Qualcomm. As a key figure in Intel's development, he would be able to give an unvarnished assessment of Intel's chances of success with delivering a 5G mobile modem and delivering it on time.


    Business decisions always win
  • Reply 6 of 16
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,968member
    Good for the Intel's 5G modem lead person,Intel and Apple.


  • Reply 7 of 16
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,334member
    Ay-o!

    chasm said:
    It's going to take a long time, but Apple seems pretty determined to eventually produce its own 5G hardware, and that's a good thing. Now if someone could just persuade the exec team that producing safe, secure home networking equipment would be a good market to get into ... I have yet to encounter any equipment that is quite as delightfully hassle-free and reliable as my old AirPort stuff.


    Totally agree. Wonder if they’re thinking about merging them somehow..?


    edited April 28
  • Reply 8 of 16
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,593member
    Johan42 said:
    It’s a saturated market with plenty of high-quality brands that produce better devices than Apple’s AirPorts. It’s not a good market to get into, which is why they left.


    Except that isn't true. There's a couple of devices I've seen where setup/changing things/admin stuff is approaching what Apple achieved so many years ago now, and of course the technology generally has improved, but a device that has a user interface better than Apple's? I'll believe it when I see it, and I haven't yet.

    If Apple made (or assisted a partner in making) a super-secure fully-encrypted mesh network router? Even if it wasn't a huge seller, it would be easy money and enhance the reputation of Apple as being more secure than rivals. Router hacks are the simplest attack vector out there, and most people don't lock their routers down sufficiently because the web interface (still used by most routers, especially cheap ones) is a hodge-podge of bad design, archaic terms, and cryptic options. Get your grandmother to configure port forwarding for her encrypted video chats and then we'll talk. I think Apple would do quite well with a revived AirPort line.
    macsince1988lostkiwijony0
  • Reply 9 of 16
    I wonder if Apple’s supposed upcoming ARM Macs played any role here?  Intel couldn’t be too happy about this...hmmm
  • Reply 10 of 16
    That's also a story floating around that Apple was thinking of buying Intel's modem division. I guess in the end, it turned out that they could get their money's worth with just one person.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    swat671swat671 Posts: 20member
    chasm said:
    Johan42 said:
    It’s a saturated market with plenty of high-quality brands that produce better devices than Apple’s AirPorts. It’s not a good market to get into, which is why they left.


    Except that isn't true. There's a couple of devices I've seen where setup/changing things/admin stuff is approaching what Apple achieved so many years ago now, and of course the technology generally has improved, but a device that has a user interface better than Apple's? I'll believe it when I see it, and I haven't yet.

    If Apple made (or assisted a partner in making) a super-secure fully-encrypted mesh network router? Even if it wasn't a huge seller, it would be easy money and enhance the reputation of Apple as being more secure than rivals. Router hacks are the simplest attack vector out there, and most people don't lock their routers down sufficiently because the web interface (still used by most routers, especially cheap ones) is a hodge-podge of bad design, archaic terms, and cryptic options. Get your grandmother to configure port forwarding for her encrypted video chats and then we'll talk. I think Apple would do quite well with a revived AirPort line.



    But, why would she be doing that? 
  • Reply 12 of 16
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 696member
    chasm said:
    Except that isn't true. There's a couple of devices I've seen where setup/changing things/admin stuff is approaching what Apple achieved so many years ago now, and of course the technology generally has improved, but a device that has a user interface better than Apple's? I'll believe it when I see it, and I haven't yet. 
    Ubiquiti UniFi
  • Reply 13 of 16
    Dude has an awesome name, if you’re a Game Of Thrones fan...

    Missandei: "You stand in the presence of Umashankar Stormborn of House Thyagarajan, rightful heir to the Iron Throne, rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains."

    Jony Ive: ”This is Tim Cook.”

  • Reply 14 of 16
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,698member
    In my twisted imagination, a situation like this occured:

    Tim Cook: "Give it to use straight. Can Intel deliver the 5G modem?"

    Thyagarajan: 
    /stares around meeting room {pauses a beat}
    /pantomime's hanging one's self

    Tim Cook: {sighs heavily} "Can somebody get [email protected]#$%&! Qualcomm on the line."

    But seriously this is interesting. I'd guess his opinion of Intel's 5G efforts had a strong influence on Apple's decision to settle with Qualcomm. As a key figure in Intel's development, he would be able to give an unvarnished assessment of Intel's chances of success with delivering a 5G mobile modem and delivering it on time.


    Yes, that is a very reasonable, credible scenario...
    Another is that both Apple and Intel have been working in partnership and mutually concluded that Intel couldn't do the job -- and started the transition by agreeing to let Apple poach its star performer.

    (This whole wireless modem thing has been an embarrassment for Intel that I am sure they are quite happy to be rid of.)
  • Reply 15 of 16
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,698member
    That's also a story floating around that Apple was thinking of buying Intel's modem division. I guess in the end, it turned out that they could get their money's worth with just one person.
    That happens quite often in tech:  Where one brilliant, driven person is the soul of a project or area.  We see it clearly in CEO's -- but it also plays itself out often lower down in the organization.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 340member
    In case anyone wants to know, the statements "hurt Qualcomm financially," "put Qualcomm's licensing model at risk," are from Qualcomm’s opening statements. I had to go look this up because the way this kept getting worded in articles I couldn’t tell if they were in fact something that had been proven to be the case. Now I know. 
    lostkiwi
Sign In or Register to comment.