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charlesarthur : modem   9

Apple to acquire majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business • Intel Newsroom
<p>Intel and Apple have signed an agreement for Apple to acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business. Approximately 2,200 Intel employees will join Apple, along with intellectual property, equipment and leases. The transaction, valued at $1bn, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, including works council and other relevant consultations in certain jurisdictions.

Combining the acquired patents for current and future wireless technology with Apple’s existing portfolio, Apple will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation. Intel will retain the option to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, internet of things devices and autonomous vehicles.</p>


Been noises about this in the media for a week or so. Seemed worth just waiting for the official confirmation. The list of exceptions Intel gets is fun. But you can't make half a modem. Apple will have to set this group to work to make 5G modems, probably for 2022.
apple  intel  modem 
4 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Exclusive: Intel launches blockbuster auction for its mobile portfolio • IAM
Richard Lloyd:
<p>In what looks set to become one of the highest profile patent sales in years, Intel has put its IP relating to cellular wireless connectivity on the auction block. The company is seeking to divest around 8,500 assets from its massive portfolio.

The news comes as the chip giant searches for a buyer for its 5G smartphone modem business having announced in April that it was pulling out of the market. That was after as it had become increasingly clear that the company, which has been the supplier of 4G modem chips to Apple for the last few years, was struggling to release a 5G product even though the rollout of the next generation of mobile technology is well underway.

The auction offering is comprised of two parts: the cellular portfolio and a connected device portfolio. The former includes approximately 6,000 patent assets related to 3G, 4G and 5G cellular standards and an additional 1,700 assets that read on wireless implementation technologies. The latter is made up of 500 patents with broad applicability across the semiconductor and electronics industries.</p>


Not quite a fire sale, but there isn't anything left of the building now that Apple isn't going to buy 5G modems from it.
intel  wireless  modem  patent  5g 
8 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple held talks with Intel about buying its smartphone-modem chip business • WSJ
Tripp Mickle, Cara Lombardo and Dana Cimilluca:
<p>The talks started around last summer and continued for months before halting recently, around the time Apple reached a multiyear supply agreement for modems from Intel rival Qualcomm Inc., QCOM +1.85% some of the people said.

Intel is now exploring strategic alternatives for its modem chip business, including a possible sale—to Apple or another acquirer, the people said. It has already received expressions of interest from a number of parties and has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to manage the process, which is in an early stage. Should there be a deal, it could yield as much as a few billion dollars for Intel, some of the people said.

The Intel-Apple talks, which haven’t been previously reported, reflect growing openness by the iPhone maker toward the idea of big acquisitions, people familiar with the company’s operations said. The talks also are part of broader tumult in the smartphone sector as sales growth has stalled, squeezing the iPhone business that has long driven Apple’s profits…

…Selling the modem business would allow Intel to unload a costly operation that was losing about $1bn annually, according to another person familiar with its performance. Any sale would likely include staff, a portfolio of patents and modem designs related to multiple generations of wireless technology, said Patrick Moorhead, principal at Moor Insights & Strategy, a technology firm.</p>


Entirely predictable that Apple would look at buying this. It probably decided just to hire all the useful staff instead. (Interesting that the story has a cast-of-thousands byline. Most stories like this have a single writer.)
apple  qualcomm  intel  modem 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple paid $5 billion to $6 billion to settle with Qualcomm: UBS
Kif Leswing:
<p>Apple probably paid Qualcomm between $5 billion and $6 billion to settle the litigation between the two companies, UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri estimated in a note distributed on Thursday.

Apple probably also agreed to pay between $8 and $9 in patent royalties per iPhone, estimated UBS, based on Qualcomm’s guidance that it expects earnings per share to increase by $2 as a result of the settlement.

The UBS estimate suggests that Apple paid a high price to end a bitter legal battle that spanned multiple continents and threatened Apple’s ability to release a 5G iPhone and put pressure on Qualcomm’s licensing business model that contributes over half of the company’s profit…

…Arcuri wrote that the one-time payment was likely for royalty payments that Apple had stopped paying when the two companies were embroiled in litigation, and that is how it was calculated.

The settlement is “a solid outcome for Qualcomm and certainly better than the [roughly] $5 [royalty payment] assumption we had been making,” Arcuri wrote.

If Apple does pay between $8 and $9 in royalties per iPhone it would be a significant increase over the $7.50 in royalties that it previously paid Qualcomm per phone, according to Apple COO Jeff Williams’ testimony in an FTC trial.</p>
apple  qualcomm  5g  modem 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Why did Intel kill off their modem program? • SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian:
<p>[Intel] quite literally never delivered a modem that worked right. The most glaring example of this was the iPhone 7 which had both Intel and Qualcomm variants. On paper it was a 1Gb LTE device but Apple only delivered a 600Mbps iPhone.

That same 600Mbps Qualcomm modem in the iPhone ran at 1Gbps in Android devices. The Intel modem ran at 600Mbps max and there were no other customers to make a comparison to. Apple crippled their Qualcomm parts to match the delivered Intel specs. Worse yet those Intel parts were only 600Mbps on paper; in practice they had 30% lower throughput. On top of this the Intel modems consumed vastly more energy to do their slower work than Qualcomm, a trend that SemiAccurate has personally measured in the labs across multiple generations of Intel modems but is not at liberty to disclose exact figures on, sorry.

This is significant for several reasons. First, phones operate on batteries, and 30% lower throughput at 30% higher energy use means the Intel modem was about half as efficient as the Qualcomm one. Not only do customers with Intel iPhones get a second rate user experience, they get worse battery life as well.

And then there are the carriers whose product is effectively finite air time on a specific frequency. If a phone is 30% slower due to retries and packet failures it means it ties up 30% more of that time and costs carriers much more to support. They are keenly aware of this and hate Intel modems.</p>


Just as well Intel isn't going to be doing modems much longer.
intel  modem 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Yeah, Apple is probably building a modem • DIGITS to DOLLARS
Jay Goldberg:
<p>the fact that the modem team is just now moving likely means that their modem effort is still fairly nascent. There is a lot of work to be done here, especially in building out support for older wireless standards. Any modem today has to support all the existing cellular standards going back to 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE. That is a time-consuming process. Moreover, to be competitive, Apple’s modem will have to build 5G capabilities. If they are starting from scratch, it is hard to see them finishing all of that in less than a year, even at an incredible sprint. Admittedly, Apple is always full of surprises, so they probably have some clever shortcut that escapes us mere mortals, but even still, it is pretty unlikely that next year’s (2020) iPhone would have an Apple modem.

Second, this is bad news for Intel who is currently the sole source supplier for iPhone modems. Apple has been long rumored to be working on its own laptop CPU to replace Intel, and now it seems Apple is also designing out the Intel modem. We suspect that Intel will still provide something to Apple’s modem, perhaps some form of IP license or sale of software libraries to speed up the development. There is also an outside chance that Apple just buys Intel’s modem team. We have no idea if this is happening, but it would certainly speed up the hiring for Apple’s modem team.

Third, there is a possibility that this is an Apple head fake of some sort. Why did this story leak now and who leaked it? Reuters only cites “two people familiar with the move”. This does not sound like an Apple employee. The author, Stephen Nellis, covers Apple and Qualcomm, and seems to have a pretty broad contact network. So one scenario is that Apple directly leaked this story, probably as a way of ratcheting up the pressure on Qualcomm, any means necessary for World War Patents. Another scenario is that Apple’s modem team has gotten big enough that keeping it secret is just not possible anymore.</p>
apple  qualcomm  modem  intel 
february 2019 by charlesarthur
What do US wireless operators want in the next iPhone? • BTIG Research
Walter Piecyk:
<p>We estimate that iPhones represent nearly half of all smartphones in the United States. Wireless operators and investors are therefore very interested in what technologies and spectrum bands are included each year as they can determine whether these companies are able to leverage their network and spectrum investments. Adding spectrum to a network doesn’t do much good if the smartphones don’t take advantage of it. Unfortunately, the operators don’t really know for sure what is included in each iPhone prior to its launch. So, here’s a quick review of what each national wireless operator in the United States would like included this year.</p>


This is pretty technical, but would be useful to anyone who's really into phone/network interaction.
iphone  us  wireless  modem 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
SharknAT&To • Nomotion Blog
J. Hutchins dug into the AT&T cable modem, as provided to millions of customers, and found tons of awful security holes:
<p>It was found that the latest firmware update (9.2.2h0d83) for the NVG589 and NVG599 modems enabled SSH and contained hardcoded credentials which can be used to gain access to the modem’s “cshell” client over SSH. The cshell is a limited menu driven shell which is capable of viewing/changing the WiFi SSID/password, modifying the network setup, re-flashing the firmware from a file served by any tftp server on the Internet, and even controlling what appears to be a kernel module whose sole purpose seems to be to inject advertisements into the user’s unencrypted web traffic. Although no clear evidence was found suggesting that this module is actually being used currently, it is present, and vulnerable.</p>


In other words, the superuser account has a hardcoded password. And it could insert ads into your internet browsing. Delightful.
security  att  modem 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Intel has 1,000 people working on a chip for iPhone? Of course they do » DIGITS to DOLLARS
Jonathan Greenberg (who has a lot of valuable experience in the chip industry):
<p>I would argue that Intel has a lot of levers they can pull to win Apple as a wireless customer. They can offer a bundled deal which includes processors for the MacBook, and even cut Apple a deal to serve as their foundry for future versions of Apple’s A-Series of processors. I have no idea if any of these will ever happen, but I want to point out that this is a complex negotiation environment.
And, of course, there is Apple itself to reckon with. The post makes a big deal about the fact that Apple hired a big team of people from Infineon, but that started years ago, and that team has been using Qualcomm modems for a long time. More intriguing is the idea that Apple just wants to license the modem software from Intel and then design their own chip. That rumor has been circling for a long time. And I think it is important to remember that. Apple wants to manage their suppliers for its own ends. They now have two foundry partners to fight over iPhone share. For the past few years Apple has had little choice but to use Qualcomm for modems, so it is only natural for them to want a second source. When (if?) Intel finally gets its LTE modem working, Apple will have that second source. My guess is that Apple really does not want to design its own modems. That requires a lot of labor intensive software work to keep up with those standards mentioned above.</p>
apple  intel  modem 
october 2015 by charlesarthur

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