Apple reportedly in talks to buy Intel's smartphone modem business

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly in "advanced talks" to purchase Intel's smartphone modem business.
  • This deal could cost Apple as much as $1 billion and close as soon as next week.
  • Intel's smartphone modem patents and staff would be part of the deal.

Apple is said to be in "advanced talks" to purchase Intel's smartphone modem chip business. It appears that the deal would be for both patents and Intel staff.

From The Wall Street Journal (paywall):

A deal, covering a portfolio of patents and staff valued at $1 billion or more, could be reached in the next week, the people said—assuming the talks don't fall apart.

According to the report, Apple and Intel have been in talks at one level or another about Intel's mobile modem chip business for years, but talks apparently fell through as Apple reached a settlement in its ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm. The same day as that settlement, Intel announced that it would be exiting the market for 5G smartphone modems. While the company has continued its work on other 5G devices, it has courted several interested buyers in an attempt to offload the smartphone modem chip business. which is still costing the company money.

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On Apple's end of things, it's been rumored for some time that the company was looking to create its own modems for future iPhones and other mobile devices. Though Apple-produced smartphone modems would still be some years off, between R&D time and Apple's deal with Qualcomm, bringing in Intel's expertise could greatly boost its efforts if and when the company is ready to strike out on its own.