Apple is in the final stages of negotiations to buy the bulk of Intel’s modem chip business, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Journal says the deal, valued at $1 billion or more, could be finalized in the next week. The deal would involve the transfer of talent as well as modem-related patents.
Intel’s wireless efforts date back to at least 2011, when the company bought Infineon Technologies for $1.4 billion. Intel hoped to become a major rival to Qualcomm, which has long played a dominant role in the market for wireless chips.
But Intel has struggled to gain traction. That’s partly because Qualcomm negotiated restrictive contracts with potential Intel customers that effectively blocked them from considering a second supplier. After Apple began shipping iPhones with Intel chips inside them in 2016, Qualcomm declared war on Apple, suing for patent infringement and eventually refusing to supply chips for new iPhone models—making Apple dependent on Intel for those chips.