Intel withdraws from 5G smartphone modem business

In this Jan. 9, 2019, file photo a sign advertises 5G at the Qualcomm booth at CES International in Las Vegas. (AP)
Updated 17 April 2019
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Intel withdraws from 5G smartphone modem business

  • Currently under deployment, ultra-fast 5G wireless networks require terminals equipped with 5G models and specific network infrastructure

SAN FRANCISCO: US electronics giant Intel said Tuesday it was withdrawing from the 5G smartphone modem business, hours after Apple and American microchip manufacturer Qualcomm announced they had clinched an agreement to end a battle over royalty payments.
The modems that connect smartphones to telecommunications networks were at the heart of the battle between Apple and Qualcomm.
Intel said it will “complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, Internet of things devices and other data-centric devices,” while pursuing investment opportunities in its 5G network infrastructure business.
“5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property,” CEO Bob Swan said in a statement.
“We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”
The company said it would meet commitments to customers for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, though it has no plans to launch 5G smartphone modem products, including those previously set to premiere in 2020.
Currently under deployment, ultra-fast 5G wireless networks require terminals equipped with 5G models and specific network infrastructure.
Apple, which had fought a multi-front brawl with Qualcomm for two years, had turned to Intel before reaching the agreement with Qualcomm.


BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

Oliver Zipse
Updated 36 min 5 sec ago
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BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

  • German giant has lost ground to Mercedes-Benz and Tesla as tech steps up

FRANKFURT: BMW has named Oliver Zipse as its new CEO, continuing the German carmaker’s tradition of promoting production chiefs to the top job even as the auto industry expands into new areas such as technology and services.
Hailing Zipse’s “decisive” leadership style, BMW hopes the 55-year-old can help it win back its edge in electric cars and the premium market  from rival Mercedes-Benz.
But some analysts questioned whether Zipse was the right choice with new fields such as software and services like car-sharing becoming increasingly important.
“What is intriguing is the cultural bias to appoint the head of production. It works sometimes but ... being good at building cars is not a defining edge the way it was 20 years ago,” said Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois.
Current CEO Harald Krueger, and former chiefs Norbert Reithofer, Bernd Pischetsrieder and Joachim Milberg were all former production heads.
Zipse joined BMW as a trainee in 1991 and served as head of brand and product strategies and boss of BMW’s Oxford plant in England before joining the board.
He will become chief executive on Aug. 16, taking over from Krueger who said he would not be available for a second term.
“With Oliver Zipse, a decisive strategic and analytical leader will assume the Chair of the Board of Management of BMW. He will provide fresh momentum in shaping  the future,” said Reithofer.
Zipse helped expand BMW’s efficient production network in Hungary, China and the US, in a move that delivered industry-leading profit margins.
Under Krueger, BMW was overtaken in 2016 by Mercedes-Benz as the best-selling luxury car brand.
It also had an early lead over US  rival Tesla in electric cars, but scaled back ambitions after its i3 model failed to sell large numbers.
Reithofer initially championed Krueger’s low-key consensus-seeking leadership, but pressured him to roll out electric vehicles more aggressively, forcing Krueger to skip the Paris Motor Show in 2016 to reevaluate BMW’s electric strategy.
Krueger’s reluctance to push low-margin electric vehicles led to an exodus of talented electric vehicle experts, including Christian Senger, now Volkswagen’s (VW) board member responsible for software, and Audi’s Markus Duesmann, who is seen as a future CEO of the company.
Both were poached by VW CEO Herbert Diess, a former BMW board member responsible for research who was himself passed over for BMW’s top job in 2015.
VW has since pushed a radical 80 billion euro ($90 billion) electric car mass production strategy, and a sweeping alliance with Ford.

Other skills
“A CEO needs to have an idea for how mobility will evolve in the future. This goes far beyond optimising an existing business,” said Carsten Breitfeld, chief executive of China-based ICONIQ motors, and former BMW engineer. “He needs to build teams, attract talent, and promote a culture oriented along consumer electronics and internet dynamics.”
German manufacturers have dominated the high-performance market for decades, but analysts warn shifts towards sophisticated technology and software is opening the door to new challengers.
“Tesla has a lead of three to four years in areas like software and electronics. There is a risk that the Germans can’t catch up,” UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport car magazine, normally quick to champion German manufacturers, this week ran a cover questioning BMW’s future.
“Production expertise is important, but if you want to avoid ending up being a hardware provider for Google or Apple, you need to have the ability to move up the food chain into data and software,” a former BMW board member said.