Apple announced on 25 July that it would acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone business in a US$1 billion deal that will see Apple net 2200 employees a well as intellectual property, equipment and leases for producing 5G modems.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, including works council and other relevant consultations in certain jurisdictions.
Combining the acquired patents for current and future wireless technology with Apple’s existing portfolio, the company said it will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation.
Intel will retain the ability to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, internet-of-things devices and autonomous vehicles, Apple said in a press release.
Bob Swan, Intel’s CEO, said the company “really only had one customer” – i.e. Apple – for modems anyway and that it’s happy to let said customer buy the business. This deal seems unlikely to bear fruit overnight; a plan to get an Apple-built modem into one product by 2021 is considered aggressive. Looking ahead, analyst Ben Bajarin says to watch for Apple to buy a baseband radio company next.
“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,” Swan said in a statement
“We have long respected Apple and we’re confident they provide the right environment for this talented team and these important assets moving forward,” he added. “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,” Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, said.
“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,” he concluded. “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.”