APPLE POACHED the lead developer of the Intel's now-defunct 5G modem biz just week's before it buried the hatchet with rival chipmaker Qualcomm.
So says a report in The Telegraph, which claims Apple nabbed Umashankar Thyagarajan back in February, mere weeks before settling its long-running legal battle with Qualcomm. Thyagarajan now is an "architecture at Apple," according to his Linkedin profile.
According to an email sent to Intel staff, written by executives Messay Amerga and Abhay Joshi, Mr Thyagarajan had "played a key role" in the LTE chip that featured in last year's iPhones and had been the project engineer on developing the firm's XMM 8160 5G modem.
Thyagarajan's departure reportedly proved a major setback to the project and forced a change of direction for Intel's 5G smartphone modem development programme.
It likely also contributed to the chipmaker's decision to quit 5G modems for smartphones, which it announced immediately after Apple and Qualcomm hugged and made up, noting the surprise settlement - which included a "multiyear chipset supply agreement" - left it "no clear path to profitability and positive returns".
According to a separate report at the Wall Street Journal, Apple was also previously in talks to buy Intel's 5G division for "several billion dollars for its 5G division", but talks reportedly fell apart around the time of its settlement with Qualcomm.
The report notes that Intel could still be trying to flog the business, which is losing the company about $1bn annually, with a sale likely include staff, patents and modem designs across multiple technology generations.
Apple is still a "possible buyer", according to the WSJ, adding more fuel to the rumours that the firm eventually plans to build its own 5G modems; a recent scoop from Fast Company claims the company has accelerated its in-house efforts and has between 1,000 and 2,000 engineers working on the chips. µ
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US court rules that firm 'strangled' competition in the modem market
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