Apple’s ‘play’ with Intel and Qualcomm stirs the industry

The conflict between Apple and Qualcomm was widely known because of the serious legal battle that’s been going on between these two companies until recently. They might have legally settled, but it doesn’t mean that the two are now best friends as a settlement actually means that some of the approaches both sides used during the lawsuit can eventually be known.

Apple was recently divulged to have been actively getting ready for Qualcomm’s collapse long before their conflict but this also unveils how it might have been also arranging for the termination of Intel’s 5G modem business.

Just after Apple and Qualcomm revealed that they are settling, Intel’s withdrawal came as a surprise, and their official attitude was that it made the business almost impossible for it. Weeks before the incident, Intel lost a key engineer in charge of its 5G modems to Apple, and this hasn’t made the issue more helpful. Umashankar Thyagarajan​ was hired by Apple in February, only two months before the settlement with Qualcomm, The Telegraph reported. The job was public, of course, but back then no one saw the big picture. As it turns out, Umashankar Thyagarajan​ was the project engineer for Intel’s XMM 8160 chip and apparently played a serious role in the Intel’s modems on last year’s iPhones.

This kind of ‘stealing’ is not something new in the industry, but it shows a bit of Apple’s long-term plans. Apple turned to Intel out of concern that Qualcomm would use its patent of 5G modems to bid negotiating terms, but now the company has other plans.

It is also not something new that Apple wants to create its own 5G chips, just like it makes its own A processors, because it doesn’t want to rely on outside suppliers, like Qualcomm, and wants to deal with it itself. Although neither Apple nor Intel have clarified on what Umashankar Thyagarajan​ will be doing at Apple, it’s basically expected that it will be working towards 5G support for the future iPhones.

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