Thursday, July 25, 2019

Apple to acquire Intel's modem business for $1 billion

by Benedict Chua, Assitant Editor

Apple agreed to acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1 billion. The deal includes intellectual property, equipment, leases and approximately 2,200 Intel employees.

Combining the acquired patents for current and future wireless technology with Apple’s existing portfolio, Apple will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation. Intel will retain the option to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, internet of things devices and autonomous vehicles.

“This agreement enables us to focus on developing technology for the 5G network while retaining critical intellectual property and modem technology that our team has created,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “We have long respected Apple and we’re confident they provide the right environment for this talented team and these important assets moving forward. We’re looking forward to putting our full effort into 5G where it most closely aligns with the needs of our global customer base, including network operators, telecommunications equipment manufacturers and cloud service providers.”

“We’ve worked with Intel for many years and know this team shares Apple’s passion for designing technologies that deliver the world’s best experiences for our users,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. “Apple is excited to have so many excellent engineers join our growing cellular technologies group, and know they’ll thrive in Apple’s creative and dynamic environment. They, together with our significant acquisition of innovative IP, will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”

Apple and Qualcomm reach global settlement

Apple and Qualcomm agreed to settle all pending litigation worldwide and announced a multiyear chipset supply deal.

Under the agreement, Apple will pay royalties to Qualcomm for six years, including a two-year option to extend. Apple will also make a one-time payment to Qualcomm. Financial terms were not specified.

Intel abandons 5G smartphone modem business

Intel will exit the 5G smartphone modem business. The company said it will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020.


“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”


Intel outlines its 5G radio modem portfolio

Intel outlined its product roadmap for 5G silicon. First up is Intel XMM 8000 series, a family of 5G new radio (5G NR) multi-mode commercial modems, and the Intel XMM 7660 LTE modem.

Highlights of Intel’s wireless roadmap:

  • Intel XMM 8000 series: will operate in both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave global spectrum bands. Intel is aiming to enable a range of devices to connect to 5G, including PC, phones, fixed wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE) and vehicles.
  • Intel XMM 8060: will offer multi-mode support for the full 5G non-standalone and standalone NR, as well as various 2G, 3G (including CDMA) and 4G legacy modes. It is expected to ship in commercial customer devices in mid-2019. Intel is targetting broad deployment of 5G networks in 2020.
  • Intel XMM 7660: Intel’s latest LTE modem delivers Cat-19 capabilities, supports speeds up to 1.6 Gbps, and features advanced multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), carrier aggregation and a broad range of band support. It will ship in commercial devices in 2019.
Intel also announced it has successfully completed a full end-to-end 5G call based on its early 5G silicon over the 28GHz band. Intel says it is participating in dozens of 5G trials around the world.

Intel Mobile Communications Group Integrates Infineon Wireless

Intel acquired Infineon Technologies' Wireless Solutions (WLS) business. The deal expands Intel's current Wi-Fi and 4G WiMAX portfolio to include Infineon's 3G capabilities. Intel said the acquisition also accelerates its entry into LTE.

WLS is a leading provider of cellular platforms to top-tier global phone makers, and is part of Intel's strategy to accelerate always-connected computing platforms that span a variety of device and market segments, including laptops, cars, smart phones, tablets and smart TVs.

"As computing spreads across a range of connected devices, including new categories being created almost daily, we must be ready to support the next billion devices across multiple networks with smart, secure and seamless computing experiences," said Dadi Perlmutter, Intel executive vice president and co-general manager of the Intel Architecture Group. "The acquisition brings to Intel a world-class wireless portfolio and a proven track record in cellular communications, combined with our existing strength in computing positions us well for future growth."

The new wireless business will now be called Intel Mobile Communications (IMC) and will operate as a standalone business entity within Intel's Architecture Group to enable continuity of existing customer sales, projects and support, including ARM-based products.

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