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Intel Reportedly in Exclusive Talks With Unnamed Buyer Over 8,500 Wireless Patents

Just weeks after Intel reportedly put around 8,500 wireless patents up for auction, the chipmaker has now taken the portfolio off the market and entered into a period of exclusivity with an unnamed buyer for a substantial portion of the assets up for sale, according to IAM.

Intel 5G Modem
While the hopeful buyer has not been disclosed, the report speculates it could be Apple:
Intel gave no indication of who the interested bidder might be; whether, for example, it is an operating company acting on its own, a consortium or an investor play. However, given the reports of Apple's interest in the chipmaker's overall smartphone modem business, the iPhone giant must be seen as among the most likely bidders.
Intel is reportedly 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 portfolio would obviously be tremendously valuable to Apple as rumors suggest the iPhone maker is developing its own cellular modems that could be ready by 2022 or 2023, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple is also widely expected to release its first 5G-enabled iPhone next year.

In April, Intel announced that it is exiting the 5G smartphone business, not long after Apple and Qualcomm reached a settlement and a multi-year supply agreement that will see Qualcomm providing 5G modems for future iPhones.

Apple is reportedly interested in purchasing parts of Intel's smartphone modem business following its exit, possibly including its German division. Together with the 8,500 patents, this would give Apple a significant amount of 5G-related intellectual property to advance its wireless technologies.

Tags: Intel, 5G

Top Rated Comments

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6 days ago at 08:54 am
Me. It’s me. Case closed.
Rating: 23 Votes
1 week ago

If it is not Apple, I'm guessing Qualcomm.

I think such a purchase would be blocked by the FTC as it would give Qualcomm too much power.
Rating: 10 Votes
1 week ago
If it is not Apple, I'm guessing Qualcomm.
Rating: 10 Votes
6 days ago at 08:59 am

Cost of the 8,500 patents?

Rating: 7 Votes
6 days ago at 08:58 am
It sure as heck better be Apple. They’d be insane to pass that purchase up.
Rating: 7 Votes
6 days ago at 10:06 am
Some random thoughts:

* Having patents makes it less likely to have trolls claim you are using their functionality. Not a guarantee
* Patents versus enforceable patents are two different things. Patent Litigation is extremely costly, and there are companies that are genius at playing this game. That is, knowingly using patented technology and fighting it in court and in other ways. A google search for a Vanity Fair article on a large tech conglomerate will provide more information on a specific player. (That noted, all tech has been found to infringe on other's intellectual property at one time or another.)
* I can't imagine Apple wants to get in the patent royalty business. Just my view as a long-time customer observer of the company. I could be well wrong.
* I agree with dannyyankou: Apple has done a great job with their chips. Moving into modems doesn't guarantee the same type of success, however I'm hopeful it would.
* The exclusive bidder could be many companies including Samsung. Not trying to make an Apple/Samsung death bout intimation here. Samsung has top tier chip production ability. It could make sense for them to go this route if they're committed to the R&D long term.
Rating: 5 Votes
6 days ago at 10:03 am

Not really. There are several threads on here that consistently report poorer reception on Intel modems. Though that's not to say Apple wouldn't benefit tremendously from the patents.

Here’s my result on an iPhone XS Max with the supposedly “crappy” Intel modem. Done on a moving SkyTrain while going to work the other day.

So I don’t buy the complaints it’s a bad modem or somehow slow. On paper the Qualcomm modems are better, but that doesn’t mean Intel modems are garbage. Nobody would ever notice the difference in real-world usage and any issues they’re having are more likely an issue with the network, congestion, the service they’re connecting to or their physical location and not because of modem differences.

Rating: 4 Votes
6 days ago at 11:03 am
The fact that Intel has 8500 patents all related to accomplishing one thing technologically just goes to show how fundamentally broke our patent system is. This is especially true when you consider that this isn't even enough to make a competitive modem without getting sued into oblivion.
Rating: 4 Votes
6 days ago at 09:37 am
Hopefully these sell to a buyer who plans on making a product, not just being a patent troll. If Apple is planning on developing their own 5G modems, it would be wise to buy this portfolio to avoid someone else trolling them later on with it.
Rating: 3 Votes
6 days ago at 09:25 am
Tims not a product guy, but I bet he loves owning patents and collecting royalties
Rating: 3 Votes

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