Intel planning to sell its smartphone-modem chip business

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Saurabh Joshi
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Since Apple and Qualcomm are friends again, so Intel is out. Now Intel has abandoned its 5G modem plans and, according to a new leak is considering the sale of its smartphone-modem chip business. In fact, Apple was considering to acquire a part of Intel’s modem ventures when talks began last summer. But that deal stopped short just as Apple and Qualcomm reached a settlement in a contentious patent-royalty legal dispute. By the end of that court battle, Apple and Qualcomm had signed a multi-year chipset-supply deal, which obviously meant that Intel was out.

Now, Intel is pivoting and looking to offload its smartphone-modem business as a whole. Apple is still a possible buyer, though a few other companies have expressed interest and the chipmaker has reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to oversee the process and negotiations. The deal will likely be worth a few billion dollars, though it’s all in an early stage, for now, the report says. Apple has reportedly held discussions with Intel about buying parts of its smartphone modem chip division.

“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 on April 16th, the day Apple and Qualcomm settled their legal cases and announced their renewed chipset deal.

Intel’s modem business is losing the company about $1 billion annually, and a sale will likely be including staff, patents and modem designs across multiple technology generations.

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