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

It might not come as a surprise, but Intel's CEO has revealed why it left the 5G smartphone modem business.

Published onApril 26, 2019

The Intel logo.

Apple and Qualcomm set aside their long-running legal battle last week, confirming that the duo will be working together on future products. Just a few hours after the settlement was announced, Intel revealed that it was getting out of the 5G smartphone modem business.

Now, Intel CEO Bob Swan has confirmed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the decision came about because of the settlement.

“In light of the announcement of Apple and Qualcomm, we assessed the prospects for us to make money while delivering this technology for smartphones and concluded at the time that we just didn’t see a path,” Swan was quoted as saying.

In other words, Intel was banking on Apple’s business in order to make money. But when the duo settled and Apple agreed to buy Qualcomm chipsets (presumably 5G modems), the writing was on the wall for the veteran chipmaker.

Intel was widely expected to supply 5G modems for a future iPhone prior to the settlement. The company had also stepped in to provide 4G modems for current iPhones, but 5G modems seemed like a tougher nut to crack. In fact, it was previously reported that Intel missed deadlines for 5G modem development and that Apple had lost confidence in the company.

Despite Intel’s 5G smartphone modem exit, the firm said it still plans to supply 4G modems to Apple for its iPhones. Furthermore, Intel stated last week that it will continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business.

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