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Apple hired Intel's 5G modem lead weeks before ending dispute with Qualcomm

By Cookie Monster - on 29 Apr 2019, 7:00am

Apple hired Intel's 5G modem lead weeks before ending dispute with Qualcomm

The behind-the-scenes drama of Apple's dealings with Intel and Qualcomm just got more interesting.

One day after The Wall Street Journal claimed that Apple was interested to acquire parts of Intel's smartphone modem chip business, The Telegraph obtained a leaked email which reveals that Apple poached Intel's 5G modem developer Umashankar Thyagarajan in February.

Thyagarajan worked at Intel for 7 years in several roles related to mobile platform architecture. He was "senior director" of project engineering for 5G and had been the project engineer on the XMM 8160 modem which was supposedly designed for the 2020 iPhone. Thyagarajan also played an important role in developing the Intel modem used in the 2018 iPhones.

Thyagarajan's departure is believed to have been a setback to Intel's efforts, which forced the company to reorganize the 5G project. Intel ultimately decided to exit the 5G smartphone market as it sees "no clear path to profitability and positive returns". Intel's exit from the 5G smartphone market came hours after Apple and Qualcomm agreed to end their legal battle.

Thyagarajan is currently working on chip architecture at Apple and is likely to boost the iPhone maker's efforts to develop its own modems. Apple also reportedly poached Intel engineers to work on its secret hardware engineering lab in Oregon

Source: The Telegraph via 9to5Mac