APPLE LOOKS SET to scoop up Intel's defunct smartphone modem business in a deal worth $1bn (£803m).
That's according to the Wall Street Journal, which has heard from loose-lipped sources that Apple is in advanced talks to acquire the recently-abandoned Intel division. The deal will include a portfolio of patents and staff valued at $1bn or more and could be reached within the next week, the report claims.
Chatter about Intel looking to flog its modem business first cropped up in April after an out-of-the-blue settlement between Apple and Qualcomm forced Intel to exit the 5G market.
As part of the settlement, the once-feuding companies signed "multiyear chipset supply agreement", which means Qualcomm's modems will once again appear in the iPhone; after the firms' legal squabbles began back in 2017, Apple dropped Qualcomm as a supplier and solely relied on Intel as its provider of LTE modems.
Still, Apple is said to be looking to develop its own 5G chips, and acquiring Intel's modem business would no doubt help Apple to get these to market more rapidly; recent reports suggest that the firm might not have its in-house modems ready for its iPhones until late 2024 or early 2025.
And for Intel, such a deal would allow the company to shed its long-failing part of its business. According to the WSJ, the 5G modem operation had been losing around $1bn annually and has "generally failed to live up to expectations."
Neither Apple nor Intel have commented on the report, but Intel said back in June - amid murmurs that Apple could scoop up its German modem biz - that it had seen "significant interest" in its 5G division.
"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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