It's being reported today in a supply chain report that Taiwan IC designer MediaTek has a chance of winning orders for baseband modem chipsets from Apple, which is seeking additional modem chip capacity support after transferring half of its orders to Intel from Qualcomm with which the company is involved in a patent lawsuit, according to industry sources.
The sources said the Apple's switching 50% of its orders for iPhone modem chipsets to Intel from Qualcomm is part of its self-protection efforts made after filing a lawsuit in January 2017 against Qualcomm's allegedly unfair patent royalty calculation formula involving modem chipsets used in iPhone devices.
As the legal battle rages on, Apple is reportedly actively seeking new chip suppliers to absorb more of the remaining orders, and MediaTek, with its technology, capacity and pricing advantages, is a candidate to becoming a supplier modem chips for Apple in 2018, the sources continued.
MediaTek, an established Android OEM supplier declined to comment on the speculations, saying that the company has been working hard to strive for more new orders from more potential customers.
Some industry watchers said that MediaTek meets the three principles long followed by Apple in determining providers of chip solutions for its various product lines: leading technological competitiveness, comprehensive product blueprints, and reliable logistic support.
But they noted that winning the modem chip orders would bring only short-term benefits for MediaTek, reasoning that it is difficult for the company to become a regular player in the supply chains for Apple's well-established product lines.
Instead, MediaTek is in a good position to seek cooperation with Apple in future product lines such as smart speakers, wireless charging devices and wireless connection systems, as the company leads in supplying chip solutions for these segments in terms of both market shares and technology advancement, the industry watchers opined.
In mid-November Patently Apple posted a report titled "The new 5G Modems from Intel that Apple may adopt over time to Replace Qualcomm Modems have just been announced." Earlier in November we posted a report titled "Qualcomm Sues Apple for Providing Intel with their source code to Assist Intel's Future modems for iDevices."
It's clear that Intel will be working with Apple over time as a replacement supplier to Qualcomm and Apple may want a temporary back-up supplier to ensure the shift to non-qualcomm suppliers goes smoothly. Though for now, it's just a rumor.
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