Apple now owns Intel's mobile modem business

Alonzo Simpson
December 5, 2019

Intel reportedly sold its smartphone modem business off at a multi-billion dollar loss.

Qualcomm is seeking to overturn a sweeping antitrust decision requiring it to renegotiate its licensing agreements at reasonable prices.

The enforcement of the May ruling was paused in order to hear Qualcomm's appeal.

A trade group representing major automakers and two leading automotive suppliers filed its own a brief arguing the prices of cars equippped with 5G technology will rise unless Qualcomm's practices change.

"If Qualcomm decides to repeat its past behaviour in new IoT markets, it could demand a cut of every single improvement to millions of different products that just happen to be connected to the internet-even if the improvements have nothing whatever to do with that connectivity", the automakers said.

Intel said it blames Qualcomm for the performance of its mobile chip business.

In a separate filing, Intel said that Qualcomm's licensing practices had forced it out of the modem chip market altogether.

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Earlier this year, Intel officially sold off its 5G mobile modem business to Apple to the tune of US$1 billion (~RM4.18 billion), signaling the semiconductor maker's exit from the 5G modem business.

Intel has been in the process of offloading its modem chip business to Apple for a while, but now the deal, valued at roughly $1bn, has been done.

This allowed the company to "coerce customers, tilt the competitive playing field and exclude competitors" while "shielding itself from legal scrutiny and capturing billions in unlawful gains".

Meanwhile, auto manufacturers said Qualcomm refused to license its technology to chipmakers, instead carrying out "unnecessary, costly, and inefficient licensing negotiations" with the firms that build automobiles.

This should free up the chipmaker to not only concentrate on working with MediaTek to bring 5G modem chips for laptops and desktops to market, but to also concentrate on its Core chip business; we're still waiting on 10-nanometre desktop processors after all.

Qualcomm declined to comment.

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