Apple reportedly in negotiations to buy key piece of Intel's smartphone modem business

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 11
Apple is reportedly in talks to buy a key section of Intel's smartphone modem business, a division that effectively shut down after Apple and Qualcomm settled their worldwide legal dispute in April.

Intel 5G Modem


Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Information reports Apple is eyeing Intel's German operations which serve as the basis of its modem business.

In Germany, Intel's staff is comprised of engineers from Infineon's wireless technology arm, which the chipmaker purchased for $1.4 billion in 2011. The group is well-versed in Apple hardware having provided baseband chips for iPhone from 2007 to 2010.

Negotiations have been ongoing since last year and could fall apart, according to the report. However, if Apple is successful in its bid, the buy will likely bring hundreds of veteran modem engineers into the fold as the tech giant works on its own 5G modem.

"We have hired outside advisers to help us assess strategic options for our wireless 5G phone business," an Intel spokesman said. "We have created value both in our portfolio of wireless modem products and in our intellectual property. We have received significant interest in the business but have nothing more to say at this time."

If it goes through, the deal is expected to include patents and products, the report said, citing sources.

The publication notes that a number of former Intel executives, who were assimilated as part of the Infineon deal, now work at Apple. While some were recruited years ago, others, like Stefan Wolff, former manager of Intel's German modem outfit, came to Cupertino within the past few months. In February, Apple hired former Intel executive Umashankar Thyagarajan, an engineer thought to play a key role in the development of the chipmaker's XMM 8160 5G modem.

Intel exited the smartphone modem industry in April, saying the way forward in that segment was no longer tenable after Apple and Qualcomm settled a legal battle involving patent royalties and licensing. As part of the arrangement, Apple agreed to a one-time payment worth between $4.5 and $4.6 billion in exchange for multiyear chip supply and six-year licensing agreements.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    pujones1pujones1 Posts: 153member
    They better buy this at all costs!!! A better opportunity won't come unless they buy Qualcom which we all know isn't happening. Seriously.
    applesnorangesradarthekatcornchiplostkiwiflyingdpn2itivguyAppleExposed
  • Reply 2 of 12
    This is cool. I'd bet the EU will see Apple, using EU engineers, as favorable compared to Huawei, ZTE, and even Qualcomm. Despite Apple's huge size, they're minority in global sales.
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 3 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,862member
  • Reply 4 of 12
    LordeHawkLordeHawk Posts: 155member
    The massive amount of global red tap withstanding, Apple could do very well if they wanted to enter the 5G equipment market, or launch a global cellular network.  I would prefer an ISP/carrier that values privacy, champions security and is financially motivated to subsidize my iPhone.  Want to sell more phones every year Apple, make iPhones $300 with subsidizes or give me a monthly network credit.  You can call it Apple Wireless+, towers use the new W2000 chip, iPhones could form ad hoc mesh networks to ease congestion, and Apple’s ride hailing vehicles would act as an additional dynamic network backbone.

    *mic drop
    LOL
    Soliradarthekatcornchipn2itivguy
  • Reply 5 of 12
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,032member
    With Infineon wireless technology and patents I could see Apple working on the next version of cellular, 6G or whatever they want to call it. They could bypass Qualcomm and the others and have a ”free” cellular network for iOS users, thereby justifying the cost of the most secure mobile devices on the market. 
    lostkiwifotoformat
  • Reply 6 of 12
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,329member
    I would be worried about quality.
    I they couldn't deliver while part of Intel, why would they be able to when bought by Apple?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 12
    ksecksec Posts: 1,561member
    rob53 said:
    With Infineon wireless technology and patents I could see Apple working on the next version of cellular, 6G or whatever they want to call it. They could bypass Qualcomm and the others and have a ”free” cellular network for iOS users, thereby justifying the cost of the most secure mobile devices on the market. 
    Um.... that is not how it works.

    knowitall said:
    I would be worried about quality.
    I they couldn't deliver while part of Intel, why would they be able to when bought by Apple?
    For a lot of reason. One being Intel wanted to use their own Fab for modem, but Intel has Zero experience in Fabbing Modem, which is a whole lot of different to GPU or CPU. Their Custom Foundry aren't anywhere near as good as TSMC or even Samsung. They force the change to using x86 core, their own FPGA within the modem, which Apple will not be acquiring, and complicate things a bit. I believe the coming 7660 modem should be able to show whether Intel really is capable or not.  

    And the 2nd reason, it wasn't Intel was bad, it was Qualcomm that was WAY too good.
    Latko
  • Reply 8 of 12
    bigtdsbigtds Posts: 65member
    rob53 said:
    With Infineon wireless technology and patents I could see Apple working on the next version of cellular, 6G or whatever they want to call it. They could bypass Qualcomm and the others and have a ”free” cellular network for iOS users, thereby justifying the cost of the most secure mobile devices on the market. 
    Huh??? Why would they do that even if they could?
  • Reply 9 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,617member
    NVMD
    edited June 12
  • Reply 10 of 12
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,329member
    ksec said:
    rob53 said:
    With Infineon wireless technology and patents I could see Apple working on the next version of cellular, 6G or whatever they want to call it. They could bypass Qualcomm and the others and have a ”free” cellular network for iOS users, thereby justifying the cost of the most secure mobile devices on the market. 
    Um.... that is not how it works.

    knowitall said:
    I would be worried about quality.
    I they couldn't deliver while part of Intel, why would they be able to when bought by Apple?
    For a lot of reason. One being Intel wanted to use their own Fab for modem, but Intel has Zero experience in Fabbing Modem, which is a whole lot of different to GPU or CPU. Their Custom Foundry aren't anywhere near as good as TSMC or even Samsung. They force the change to using x86 core, their own FPGA within the modem, which Apple will not be acquiring, and complicate things a bit. I believe the coming 7660 modem should be able to show whether Intel really is capable or not.  

    And the 2nd reason, it wasn't Intel was bad, it was Qualcomm that was WAY too good.
    Good points.
    I know some about software development of Infineon and the tools they use to build the software.
    From what I have seen this could be a problem developing the code needed for the 5G modem.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,329member
    ksec said:
    rob53 said:
    With Infineon wireless technology and patents I could see Apple working on the next version of cellular, 6G or whatever they want to call it. They could bypass Qualcomm and the others and have a ”free” cellular network for iOS users, thereby justifying the cost of the most secure mobile devices on the market. 
    Um.... that is not how it works.

    knowitall said:
    I would be worried about quality.
    I they couldn't deliver while part of Intel, why would they be able to when bought by Apple?
    For a lot of reason. One being Intel wanted to use their own Fab for modem, but Intel has Zero experience in Fabbing Modem, which is a whole lot of different to GPU or CPU. Their Custom Foundry aren't anywhere near as good as TSMC or even Samsung. They force the change to using x86 core, their own FPGA within the modem, which Apple will not be acquiring, and complicate things a bit. I believe the coming 7660 modem should be able to show whether Intel really is capable or not.  

    And the 2nd reason, it wasn't Intel was bad, it was Qualcomm that was WAY too good.
    Good points.
    I know some about software development of Infineon and the tools they use to build the software.
    From what I have seen this could be a problem developing the code needed for the 5G modem.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    LatkoLatko Posts: 386member
    There isn’t actually a single reason for a premium system integrator like Apple not to purchase the best of the world’s modem technology which happens to be Qualcomm’s. Yes, it costs more but if Apple can’t afford it - who can ? and they will pass extra costs over to us customers 5 to 10-fold anyway.
    Ignore the flakey Intel/Infineon modem tech that has lead to an endless slew of iOS stability upgrades, stop the false semi-sovereign provisioning concept (Apple will never, ever be sovereign...) as this whole excercise will end up with Qualcomm anyway (just like Sapphire screens and GT Technology, OLED screens and Samsung, the Titanic car they can’t make themselves....) 
    Are they ever going to learn it ? With or without a better provisioning VP ?
    edited June 12
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