Intel to Auction Off Modem IP and Patents

Intel is planning to auction off its portfolio of patents related to cellular wireless connectivity, according to a new report from IAM.

Intel's upcoming auction follows the company's April decision to exit the 5G smartphone modem business. Intel stopped work on 5G modem technology after Apple and Qualcomm reached a settlement and a supply agreement that will see Qualcomm providing 5G modem chips for future iPhones.

Intel 5G Modem
Multiple rumors have suggested Apple and Intel have held talks about Apple's potential purchase of Intel's German modem unit. The two were in talks as early as this month, with Intel planning to sell its modem business off in pieces.

Intel is aiming to sell off 8,500 assets from its patent portfolio, including 6,000 patents related to 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular standards and an additional 1,700 patents on wireless implementation technologies.

The auction that Intel has planned is separate from its efforts to sell its smartphone modem business, though IAM speculates that an interested buyer could potentially pick up both. It's also possible that a group of companies could band together to purchase the patents that are up for grabs.

It could be that Intel's decision to sell its portfolio is part of a strategy to drum up interest in the modem business as a whole. There is no indication yet that Intel has ruled out selling the patent assets to a non-practising entity, which might encourage a group of operating companies to band together to take the assets off the assertion market.

Should Apple purchase either Intel's patent business, Intel's patents, or both, it would give the Cupertino company a leg up in its own mobile chip development. Apple is working on creating its own line of modem chips to reduce reliance on suppliers like Qualcomm, but it will be several years yet before Apple's own chips are ready to be used in iPhones and other devices.

Top Rated Comments

justperry Avatar
24 months ago
This won't end well for anyone if a patent troll picks them up.
Or worse, Qualcomm;)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mozumder Avatar
24 months ago
This won't end well for anyone if a patent troll picks them up.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
realtuner Avatar
24 months ago
RE: "but it will be several years yet before Apple's own chips are ready ('https://www.macrumors.com/2019/05/15/apple-designed-iphone-modems-by-2025/') to be used in iPhones and other devices."

That should really read "but it will be several years yet (& NO guarantee)".

The odds that Apple is ever successful with a competitive cellular modem chip is ONLY 1/3 "best case".

1/3 chance they Fail out-right, 1/3 chance they complete the R&D project & then conclude it's NOT competitive.

Cellular Model Development is Rocket Science !
Rocket science? Funny that Qualcomm can't leverage that "rocket science expertise" on processors. They couldn't design an SoC to punch themselves out of a wet paper bag.
[doublepost=1561497842][/doublepost]
Eh... I’d think this is high-profile enough to prevent that from happening. That is, assuming Apple or some other legitimate tech company can outbid a patent troll, which should be easy.
Well, Apple did join others (Blackberry, Sony and Microsoft) to pick up Nortel's portfolio. The same thing could happen again.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
24 months ago
I smell a bidding war, which is exactly what Intel needs right now. AMD's new CPUs are putting a lot of pressure on them.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cosmosent Avatar
24 months ago
RE: "but it will be several years yet before Apple's own chips are ready ('https://www.macrumors.com/2019/05/15/apple-designed-iphone-modems-by-2025/') to be used in iPhones and other devices."

That should really read "but it will be several years yet (& NO guarantee)".

The odds that Apple is ever successful with a competitive cellular modem chip is ONLY 1/3 "best case".

1/3 chance they Fail out-right, 1/3 chance they complete the R&D project & then conclude it's NOT competitive.

Cellular Model Development is Rocket Science !
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ViDeOmAnCiNi Avatar
24 months ago
Apple should definitely purchase the patents just for protection of their own modem (if it comes to fruition).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Top Stories 57 Feature

Top Stories: Apple Event Next Tuesday, Mini-LED iPad Pro, iPhone Rumors

Saturday April 17, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
It feels like we've been waiting forever for new Apple products, but the wait is almost over as Apple has announced a media event for next Tuesday, so make sure to tune into MacRumors for full coverage of everything Apple announces. While that was the big news this week, we also got some new details on Apple's iPhone plans for 2022 and 2023 courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and we also saw...
flat imac 3d 3 teal

Reliable Leaker Hints Redesigned Colorful iMac to Debut at 'Spring Loaded' Event

Saturday April 17, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
Reliable leaker known as l0vetodream has hinted that Apple may debut its rumored redesigned and colorful iMac at its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. In a tweet, the leaker posted an image of Apple's logo used for marketing the upcoming event and an image of the retro rainbow Apple logo alongside the colorful lineup of G3 iMacs. Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously reported that...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...
important battery message iphone 11

Some iPhone 11 Users Seeing Increased Battery Health Percentages After iOS 14.5 Recalibration Process

Friday April 16, 2021 6:32 am PDT by
In the sixth beta of iOS 14.5, Apple introduced a recalibration process for the battery health reporting system on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate battery health estimates for some users. Apple said this process might take a few weeks to be completed, and now that two weeks have passed since the sixth beta of iOS 14.5 was released, some users are...
duan rui iphone 12 13 notch

New Images Show Smaller iPhone 13 Notch Compared to iPhone 12

Saturday April 17, 2021 11:38 pm PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has shared more images that could give us our best look yet at Apple's redesigned notch for the iPhone 13. The new pictures follow similar images shared by the leaker last week, but the latest shots include a comparison with the existing iPhone 12 notch. DuanRui posted three images on Twitter that apparently originate from Weibo, although source details remain...
iphone 13 pro max cads eap

iPhone 13 Series CAD Leaks Reveal Larger Camera Dimensions

Friday April 16, 2021 1:53 am PDT by
Information and alleged CADs of the upcoming iPhone 13 series, shared in a video from EverythingApplePro, indicates that Apple plans to make this year's iPhone camera module significantly bigger, likely to make way for larger sensors and sensor-shift stabilization. According to the CADs shared in the video, the iPhone 13 mini, Pro, and Pro Max camera module will all be a "perfect square."...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Anker's MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack

Thursday April 15, 2021 9:39 am PDT by
Anker, a company known for its range of accessories designed for Apple products, recently came out with one of the first MagSafe-compatible battery packs, so we thought we'd check it out to see how it compares to a standard battery pack. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, Anker's power bank looks like a typical battery pack, but it has magnets built in...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

LTPO Displays Supporting 120Hz Refresh Rates Again Rumored for iPhone 13 Pro Models

Friday April 16, 2021 10:01 am PDT by
The two higher-end "iPhone 13 Pro" models that are coming in 2021 are expected to use LTPO display technology to enable 120Hz refresh rates, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young reaffirmed the detail in a tweet that said he'd heard rumors about only one model featuring LTPO, which he says is inaccurate. Heard some rumors in the industry and media that there would only be one ...
apple music

Apple Music Tops Spotify With One Cent Paid Per Stream

Friday April 16, 2021 6:44 am PDT by
In a letter slated to be shared with artists today through the Apple Music for Artists dashboard, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Apple has reportedly revealed that it pays music rights holders one cent per song streamed on Apple Music. The report claims that Apple Music's payment structure is thus roughly double what Spotify pays music rights holders per stream, which averages to about ...