Apple poached Intel 5G leader weeks before settlement with Qualcomm

“Apple poached the lead developer of Intel’s 5G smartphone technology just weeks before ditching the chipmaker for its key rival Qualcomm, according to a leaked email seen by The Telegraph,” James Titcomb reports for The Telegraph. “The iPhone maker hired Umashankar Thyagarajan, who ran a major Intel project to build cellular modems for Apple, in February.”

“The raid came two months before Qualcomm and Apple reached a historic legal settlement,” Titcomb reports. “Mr Thyagarajan’s departure is understood to have been a setback to Intel’s efforts, forcing the company to reshuffle the 5G project. Shortly afterwards, Intel said it would not be able to release a 5G smartphone chip until 2020, more than a year after Qualcomm.”

“According to an email sent to Intel staff, written by executives Messay Amerga and Abhay Joshi, Mr Thyagarajan had ‘played a key role’ in the Intel chip that featured in last year’s iPhones and he had been the project engineer on developing its 5G chip, known as XMM 8160,” Titcomb reports. “Mr Thyagarajan’s appointment will add to rumours that Apple is planning to make its own smartphone modem instead of buying them from partners.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And now Apple has plenty of time (a six-year license agreement with a two-year option to extend ought to be plenty long enough) to get their own modems built and free themselves from Qualcomm once and for all!

Apple mulled buying Intel’s 5G business; showing openness to big deals – April 26, 2019
Intel admits Apple-Qualcomm settlement led to it dropping 5G modem – April 26, 2019
Winners and Losers of the Apple-Qualcomm detente – April 19, 2019
Why Intel’s smartphone strategy went off the rails yet again – April 19, 2019
Why did Intel kill off their modem program? – April 18, 2019
Here’s what likely happened between Apple, Qualcomm and Intel – April 17, 2019
Intel axes 5G modem plans after Apple and Qualcomm settle – April 17, 2019
After settlement with Apple, Qualcomm still faces other potential legal fallout – April 16, 2019
Qualcomm and Apple settle, agree to drop all litigation – April 16, 2019


  1. Not so easy. Apple has to develop and implement totally new 5G capabilities without using any Qualcomm technology (Nor any other companies patented technology). All that in 6 years seems to be a huge order when they can barely UPDATE a desktop Mac in 5 years.

    Plus, and most likely, there will be new “6G’ technology by then.

    1. No, I doubt that’s what they want to do. They likely want to create their own SEP-compatible 5G chip. Sure, they’ll pay for the SEPs, thru their contract manufacturer, but they would for any chip they buy. Further, it’s likely that they’ll have some unique non-SEP patents of their own, that could be used to offset any of the non-SEP patents of Qualcomm’s, ie a cross-licensing agreement. You can’t avoid SEPs, but Apple wants to avoid Qualcomm’s double-dip, and they want to get fair pricing. And, they want to minimize any non-SEP patent licensing fees. They can do that by cross-licensing patents, so Apple has to develop some of their own.

  2. I would hope that Apple will be making hires to work on 6G technology… or 5G+

    I mean… once you see how useless FRAND seems to be and how lucrative it can be… why not develop some FRAND patents of your own… and then charge exorbitant fees to other phone manufacturers to use the tech. Imagine Apple charging Samsung to use an Apple-FRAND-patented modem technology.

    Of course, I wouldn’t recommend this, but it’s food for thought.

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