Intel Will Exit 5G Phone Modem Business, Hours After Apple and Qualcomm Settle Licensing Dispute

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Intel announced Tuesday afternoon that it will no longer be working on 5G chips for smartphones, leaving Apple with only one supplier for its iPhones, Qualcomm — the same company that it was battling in court until midday Tuesday. CNET reports: Intel late Tuesday said it plans to exit the 5G smartphone modem business. It had been working on a processor for Apple, with the chip expected to be in iPhones in 2020. Lately there have been worries the chip wouldn’t be ready until iPhones released in 2021. “The company 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,” Intel said in a press release. Its only customer in modems is Apple.

Intel added that it will “complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices.” It also said it will “continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business.” “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,” Intel CEO Bob Swan said in a statement. The announcement comes hours after Apple and Qualcomm announced that they had reached a settlement in their multi-year battling over licensing royalties.


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