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Thanks, Apple: Intel will auction off smartphone modem patents, exit industry

It turns out that without Apple as a partner, Intel doesn't have any need for its smartphone modem assets.

Published onJune 26, 2019

Back in April, Apple announced that it would cease all litigation against chip manufacturer Qualcomm and enter a new partnership with the company that will see Qualcomm modems installed in new crops of iPhones.

On that same day, Intel announced it was exiting the smartphone modem business entirely. Now, according to IAM, Intel is going one step further and auctioning off many of its smartphone modem assets.

This information appears to suggest that without Apple as a partner, Intel has no need for its patents surrounding smartphone modems at all.

According to IAM, the Intel auction will see some 8,500 patents up for sale to the highest bidder.

Confirmed: Apple, Qualcomm settlement killed Intel's 5G modem plans
The Intel logo.

There will be two parts to the auction: the cellular portfolio and a connected device portfolio. The cellular portfolio includes around 6,000 patents related to 3G, 4G, and 5G standards. There are also around 1,700 assets related to wireless implementation technologies.

The connected device portfolio is made up of 500 patents that could apply to a wide variety of electronics industries.

Despite the size of the auction, Intel is still planning to retain assets related to networking, specifically 5G networking. Although the company plans to exit the smartphone modem business, it will still have a presence in the overall 5G market.

Certain Apple iPhones come with Intel modems installed, which are seen as substandard as compared to Qualcomm’s. Although Apple is working on developing its own in-house modems, it needs something to tide it over through the launch of 5G smartphones. Previous reports indicated that Intel was not meeting Apple’s standards, which resulted in Apple dropping its legal fights with Qualcomm and switching providers.

NEXT: AMD vs Intel: Which is better for 2019 and beyond?

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