Apple buying Intel’s 5G modem business is all about defense

Jeremy Horwitz writes for VentureBeat:

Apple’s interest in acquiring Intel’s 5G modem business is not really ‘news’ at this point. The possibility of a deal was widely reported immediately after Intel withdrew from developing 5G modems and was all but confirmed when Intel paused its modem auction to pursue an exclusive deal with one unnamed bidder. At this stage, the interesting part isn’t that the Apple-Intel negotiations are presumed to be at an “advanced” stage, or that the deal value will apparently be in the $1 billion range, but rather the likely reason for such a purchase…

One key question: Why would Apple want to buy a business unit it couldn’t rely on to source 5G chips? The answer is that Apple’s interest isn’t as much in the flagging business, which Intel acquired from Infineon years ago, but rather in Intel’s 5G-related patent portfolio… A defensive patent portfolio is like an insurance policy. It can prevent a company from getting sued in the first place, or — via countersuit — limit the amount the company is ultimately responsible for paying if a lawsuit is successful.

Apple can’t simply say it wants to start making 5G chips and just copy whatever other companies in the space have done; it needs to protect itself against lawsuits and marshall an ability to countersue if necessary… Buying Intel’s 5G patent portfolio might keep Apple from being sued…

MacDailyNews Take: Intel’s 8,500 mostly cellular patents will provide some nice legal protection for Apple’s homegrown 5G modems.


  1. Lawsuits are such a big wast of time, effort and money (for any business) that it is easy to see why Apple would want a defensible position to try to limit those problems.

  2. The freeloading modem unit begged for more free money so Intel resented giving it any more free research and development money which, in effect, would have been a continuous Socialist bailout for inadequate work. Its move to Apple does not sound like good Capitalism.

    1. The freeloading artist begged for more free government money so Uncle Sam resented giving Dingler any more free research and art development money which, in effect, would have been a continuous Socialist bailout for seriously inadequate work. Dingler’s move to “Apple commentator” does not sound like good Capitalism or even good sense – it sounds like his worst art form yet.

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