Intel held talks to sell its cellular modem chip business to its only smartphone customer, Apple, reports The Wall Street Journal. The talks began last summer but have recently halted, the Journal reports. Intel had been struggling to build a 5G modem, and as a result, Apple settled its legal dispute with Qualcomm to begin working together on 5G modems for 2020 iPhones. Following the settlement news, Intel announced its intention to get out of the modem handset business altogether.
An acquisition of Intel’s modem team would help Apple expand its engineering team to build its own modems. Apple has recently begun building up a large team for an expensive in-house modem project, The Information reported late last year. Even though the talks between the two appear to have fallen through, it’s likely Intel is still eager to offload this asset and could maybe let the unit go for a bargain price to Apple or anyone else willing to buy.