Apple nabs key figure from Intel 5G chip unit - Mobile World Live

Apple nabs key figure from Intel 5G chip unit

29 APR 2019

Apple tapped-up the lead developer of Intel’s now abandoned 5G smartphone modem development unit, The Sunday Telegraph reported, resurrecting rumours the iPhone maker plans to produce more components in-house.

The appointment of former Intel senior director, project engineer 5G Umashankar Thyagarajan to Apple’s Architecture team was made in February, but only publicly brought to light by the newspaper yesterday (28 April).

Thyagarajan’s departure was reportedly a setback to the project and forced a change of direction for Intel’s 5G smartphone modem development programme.

Intel had hoped Apple would be a key customer for its 5G modems, but quit the project days after device vendor announced a deal to settle its long-running dispute with Qualcomm and sign a six-year patent licencing agreement.

Even before the unexpected truce with Qualcomm, the iPhone maker was reportedly frustrated with progress being made on Intel’s 5G modem and feared falling behind rival manufacturers.

The employment of one of the key team members behind the Intel chip will likely reinvigorate chatter Apple plans to develop chip technology in-house, which has been frequently rumoured over the years, especially at the height of its disputes with suppliers.

In separate reports, The Wall Street Journal stated Apple opened talks with Intel about acquiring its smartphone modem chip in 2018, however the discussions were later abandoned.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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