Apple is already kind of a big deal in the chip space. The ARM-based processors that power iPhones and iPads consistently outperform the competition in benchmarks. And a few years ago the company strengthened its control over its chips when it brought the graphics technology in-house, ending a partnership with Imagination Technologies.

Now it looks like Apple is going to bring development of smartphone modems in-house as well. But this time the company is doing that by purchasing someone else’s smartphone model division.

Apple has announced plans to acquire “the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business” for about $1 billion.

Intel XMM 8160 5G modem

The deal, which is set to close toward the end of the year if it’s approved by regulators, would make 2,200 Intel employees into Apple employees and Apple notes it also means the company would “hold over 17.000 wireless technology patents.”

It would also effectively spell the end of Intel’s ill-fated attempts to break into the smartphone space.

This doesn’t mean Intel is giving up on 4G and 5G technology though. It just means that the company will continue developing products for personal computers, self-driving cars, and IoT products — categories where the company already has a significant presence.

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7 replies on “Apple to buy most of Intel’s smartphone modem business”

  1. I might be wrong (not unusual) but I think this might be a better deal for Intel than for Apple. Time will tell.

  2. If you can’t beat them, join them.

    Apple giving up on their previous modem/lawsuit, getting a 5G licence from Qualcomm, and buying up Intel’s division. Well we know for sure that 5G is coming in 2021 for Apple (iPhones and iPads), but maybe later it’ll come for the Apple CarPlay and Mac’s?

  3. “Apple is already kind of a big deal in the chip space” ..

    “kind of” — “used when you are trying to explain or describe something, but you cannot be exact.”

    Is there a valid reason for your inexactitude?

    1. They don’t supply the chips to anyone else, or actually manufacture them themselvs, so you can’t really call them a big deal.

      The chips they’ve designed and/or used in their own devices are good, but that’s about it.

  4. Infineon wireless solutions does the modem for the first iphone, gets bought by Intel (because they want to get a chip into the iphone and the fab volume), then they get sold to Apple. A very complicated tale.

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