Wednesday, 17 April 2019 09:57

Intel exits 5G smartphone modem biz after Apple-Qualcomm deal Featured

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Intel exits 5G smartphone modem biz after Apple-Qualcomm deal Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Close on the heels of the announcement of a truce in the Apple-Qualcomm patent war, Intel has said it will be exiting the 5G smartphone modem business and not even launching the products it had planned for 2020.

In a short statement, the company said it would "complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, Internet of Things devices and other data-centric devices".

It added that it would also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business.

The company said it would provide further details about its decision at a conference call on 25 April when it is scheduled to announce its first-quarter earnings for 2019.

Intel's move can be understood when seen in the context of the deal struck between Qualcomm and Apple, which means that Apple will go back to sourcing its 5G modem chips from the San Diego-based firm.

The two companies struck a six-year licence agreement, effective from 1 April, which includes a two-year option for extension and a multi-year chip supply deal.

Intel had been Apple's supplier of 4G smartphone modems after the relationship between Qualcomm and the iPhone manufacturer soured.

“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel chief executive Bob Swan.

“5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property.

"We are assessing our options to realise the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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