Intel is officially out of the smartphone modem business, which the company attributes to the settlement between Qualcomm and Apple. But it sounds like the company’s future could have been very different.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple held discussions with Intel over the possibility of acquiring part of Intel’s smartphone modem business. Apple reportedly had aspirations of speeding up its own chip development. The report indicates the talks began in the summer of last year and went on for months. But, unsurprisingly, they ended once Apple’s and Qualcomm’s settlement terms came to light.
Intel right now is reportedly exploring a variety of “strategic alternatives” to the smartphone modem business, but, as it stands, there is no word on what Intel might be doing next. However, it could still be interested in a sale to Apple or another company, according to unnamed sources speaking to the original publication.
Courtesy of the legal actions between Qualcomm and Apple, it was expected that Apple would be tapping Intel to handle 5G modem orders for the 2020 iPhone lineup. However, things have changed, and now Apple will use Qualcomm (and Samsung) 5G modem chips for the iPhone lineup in that year.
As for Apple, there are rumors that Apple is building its own cellular modem chip, and an acquisition of Intel’s size would be a massive help in that regard.