Intel has clarified that it was bending out of the mobile market 5G earlier this month and now we know why: According to CEO Bob Swan, the company had concluded that there was only money in the industry after Apple and Qualcomm had settled their ongoing dispute – one solution that meant Qualcomm would render the modem to Apple.
“In the light of the announcement of Apple and Qualcomm, we assessed the opportunities for us to make money while delivering this technology to smartphones and the conclusion that we just didn’t see a road,” Swan commented in an interview with Wall Street Journal .
The news that Intel had left the 5G modem business came just a few hours after the Apple / Qualcomm agreement was announced. At that time, it was unclear whether Apple and Qualcomm had settled due to Intel’s withdrawal, leaving no other option for the iPhone to receive 5G, or whether Qualcomm had just stolen the business back from Intel by resolving its ongoing lawsuits. According to a report by Bloomberg the latter was: Apple reportedly determined that Intel’s modems were not the task of giving 5G to the iPhone in time and left no choice but to take the PR hit to end their year long dispute with Qualcomm for the iPhone’s future.
Intel has not yet confirmed whether Apple came to the conclusion ̵
1; based on the company’s statements today, it seems that Intel continues to provide 4G LTE modems for this year’s 2019 iPhones, at least – but Swan’s comments would seem to fit that story. If Apple decided it would have to abandon Intel and return to Qualcomm’s chips, it would be good for Intel to release its mobile 5G business, as Apple was the only major customer.
Intel is not completely over the 5G game – the company is still building network and infrastructure products, as well as modems for non-smartphones. The company also decides what to do with its 5G fashion business, where it has invested considerable time and money.
We’ve reached Intel and Apple for more information.