Apple takes majority stake in Intel modem unit

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Apple agreed Thursday to pay $1 billion to acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business, a move giving the iPhone maker more control over its supply chain.

As part of the deal, some 2,200 Intel employees will join Apple, which will acquire intellectual property, equipment and leases.

Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, said the move “will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”

Intel chief executive Bob Swan said the deal “enables us to focus on developing technology for the 5G network while retaining critical intellectual property and modem technology that our team has created.”

Apple has been investing in its own mobile chips to ramp up performance and features in its devices and reduce its dependence on sector leader Qualcomm.

Intel earlier this year announced it was abandoning efforts to compete with modem chips for smartphones synched to new-generation “5G” networks.

Apple has accused Qualcomm, which holds the most patents for chips, of taking advantage of its dominant position to charge exorbitant amounts for its chips or access to its patents. But the two firms later agreed to settle their legal disputes.