Intel to Exit 5G Smartphone Modem Business

Intel news release:

Intel Corporation today announced its intention to exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices. Intel will also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business.

This is, to say the least, rather shocking. It seems extraordinarily unlikely to be a coincidence that the announcement came the same day Apple and Qualcomm settled their lawsuit. A big factor in the high-stakes nature of the Apple-Qualcomm fight is that Apple’s reliance on Intel for 5G modems was looking like a serious problem. So my question is: did Apple settle with Qualcomm because Intel warned them they were getting out of the 5G modem business, leaving Apple with no other option? Or did Intel get out of the 5G modem business because Apple settled with Qualcomm?

My initial guess is it’s the former: Intel decided to get out of this market, and Apple got squeezed.

Ben Bajarin:

Now don’t be surprised if Apple buys some of, or all of, Intel’s modem business IP.

I predicted this years ago so fingers crossed my crystal ball was clear :)

That would fit with the Cook Doctrine of “owning and controlling the primary technologies behind the products [Apple] makes”.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019