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5G iPhone? Apple might buy Intel's 5G modem biz despite Qualcomm deal

Apple might soon an ink a deal that will see it purchase Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The deal, which could be announced as early as next week (late July 2019), would follow Intel’s announcement from April that it planned to exit the 5G mobile modem business. Intel made this revelation shortly after Apple reached a sudden settlement with Qualcomm, allowing Apple to return to using Qualcomm’s modems in its phones. Intel CEO Bob Swan even said Intel dropped its modem business directly because of the settlement.

At the time, Bloomberg said Apple thought Intel couldn’t deliver 5G modems for a 5G-ready iPhone soon enough, so Apple had to make friends with Qualcomm, and then Intel reportedly began searching for a buyer. Now, with news that Apple wants to be the one to buy up Intel’s modem business, including a portfolio of patents and staff, it’s looking very likely that the company won’t have to stay nice with Qualcomm for long.

Remember, Intel had become a third-party modem provider for the 2018 iPhone models, so this move isn’t exactly out of left-field. Also, Apple has a long history of developing its own silicon and components, rather than make nice with partners. It even produces its own A-series chipsets.

It’ll be interesting to see how Qualcomm responds to this Intel-Apple deal should it go through this month. We’ll keep you posted.

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