Cupertino, Santa Clara Apple Another key technology of its iPhones gets into its own house: The Group buys Intel the majority of its specialized on smartphone modems division. With the deal of about one billion dollars (897 million euros) deal, Apple secures access to more than 17,000 mobile patents. In addition, around 2200 employees will switch to iPhone manufacturers, a large part of them in Germany. Intel will continue to have the ability to develop mobile modems for example for PCs, autonomous cars and networked devices in the Internet of Things, as the companies announced on Thursday.
The modems ensure that the smartphones can dial into mobile networks. That alone makes them a key component – and with the upcoming super-fast 5G networks, their importance will continue to increase.
The acquisition fits in with Apple's strategy of having the most important technologies for its devices in its own hands. The prime example of this was the decision to develop the processors for his iPhones and iPads as well as the computer clock Apple Watch itself. Among other things, this gives the Group the opportunity to adapt the performance and architecture of the chips to the needs of the devices. Apple was repeatedly able to set the pace of innovation: So were the iPhones were the first smartphones chips with 64-bit technology for more power and processors based on 7-nanometer technology, in which circuits can be tightened.
For the modems, Apple has been heavily dependent on suppliers – especially Qualcomm and Intel. Qualcomm is a household name in the industry, delivering not only modems but also the main processors of many Android smartphones. However, the group's business model is controversial, mainly because of its policy of making chip licenses a license for its patents.
At times, Qualcomm supplied exclusively modem chips for iPhones, but then Apple brought Intel as a second supplier on the boat. Intel was in business with the purchase of the corresponding division of the German semiconductor company Infineon boarded. Meanwhile, a long argument broke out between Apple and Qualcomm. The iPhone group accused the chip specialist, among other things, excessive and unfair prices, Qualcomm countered with the allegation of patent infringement.
The stalled dispute was surprisingly settled a few months ago – even as Apple and Qualcomm lawyers exchanged spikes in the central California process. According to media reports, a decisive factor in this could have been that Intel had problems with modems for the upcoming 5G data radio. Accordingly, Apple had to get involved in a deal with Qualcomm to at least be able to equip the iPhone models of the year 2020 with 5G modems. Intel announced after the announcement of Apple's agreement with Qualcomm to get out of the business with smartphone modems.
With the control of the Intel division, Apple could now develop their own smartphone modems. Even if that's the plan, it could take a few more years before the components from their own development appear in iPhones. At the same time, however, the iPhone group also gets a patent treasure with the purchase, which could serve as a deterrent against possible future patent lawsuits by Qualcomm.
More: The US Department of Justice initiates antitrust investigations against the technology giants. Democrats are already calling for their destruction.
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