The rumors are true and Apple has tonight confirmed that it has bought the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem division. Rumors suggesting as much had been circulating for weeks.
The deal itself will cost a cool $1 billion and will see 2,200 Intel employees make the move to Apple. It will mean that Apple will pick up a number of Intel’s patents ranging from “protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation” according to an Apple press release.
However, Intel will still be able to design modems for use in non-smartphone settings such as PCs and, interestingly, autonomous vehicles. Apple itself has been rumored to be working on an autonomous vehicle of its own for years.
Apple also confirmed that with the addition of Intel’s patents it will now have a portfolio of wireless technology patents that is more than 17,000 strong.
“Apple is excited to have so many excellent engineers join our growing cellular technologies group, and know they’ll thrive in Apple’s creative and dynamic environment. They, together with our significant acquisition of innovative IP, will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”
It’s not clear yet when this move will bear fruit. Apple says that it expects to have the deal completed in the final quarter of 2019.
The buyout of Intel’s modem business comes after it signed a multi-year deal to use Qualcomm parts. That was amid reports that Apple was concerned about Intel’s ability to design a 5G modem for iPhone use and Intel subsequently pulled out of the smartphone modem business. The company cited the loss of Apple’s business as the key driving force behind that decision.
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