Apple is reportedly in talks to buy Intel's German modem biz

Intel’s defunct 5G modem biz might end up in the hands of Apple

APPLE IS REPORTEDLY in talks to buy Intel’s German modem biz, which effectively shut down after Apple and Qualcomm settled their legal disputes in April.

So says The Information, which has heard from “four people briefed on the discussion” that Apple is interested in Intel’s German business, which is considered to be one of its strongest pieces; Intel’s chip production facilities are headquartered in Germany after a 2011 purchase of chipmaker Infineon. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported in April that Apple had considered acquiring Intel’s smartphone modem business, but this is the first time it’s been reported that Apple is specifically interested in the chipmaker’s German operations.

A deal, which the report notes could still be canned, would bring “hundreds” of engineers to Apple and could help it get its homegrown modem to market more quickly. Recent reports suggest that the firm might not have a 5G modem ready for its iPhones until late 2024 or early 2025. 

Apple has already hired several notable Intel executives; The Information notes that Stefan Wolff, who previously managed the chipmaker’s German modem team, joined Apple from Intel several months ago, and Apple also poached Umashankar Thyagarajan, the head of Intel’s now-defunct modem biz, back in February.

A deal between the two companies would also likely include Intel patents and products, according to the report, which says the arrangement would resemble the deal Apple reached with Dialog Semiconductor last year, which saw Cupertino snaffle up patents and 300 engineers from the Anglo-German company.

Intel said it has seen “significant interest” in its 5G modem business, but did not confirm which companies have been in contact.

“We have hired outside advisors to help us assess strategic options for our wireless 5G phone business,” the chipmaker said in a statement. “We have created value both in our portfolio of wireless modem products and in our intellectual property.” µ

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