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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Apple on Thursday agreed to buy the majority of Intel's smartphone-modem chip business for $1 billion.

Why it matters: Apple will get to control more of its own supply chain. It's also a disappointment for Qualcomm, which is just now getting back Apple's modem business after settling its long-running legal dispute with the iPhone maker.

Under the deal:

  • About 2,200 Intel employees will join Apple.
  • Apple will also acquire many of Intel's cellular-related patents, along with some leases and equipment.

The deal had been widely anticipated, though, after that settlement. The day the deal was signed, Intel announced it was ending plans to develop a 5G modem chip and weighing the future of its modem chip business.

With Apple being the only major customer for a standalone modem chip, it didn't make sense for Intel to keep going in the business. (Most phone makers either make their own modem chips or use an integrated processor and modem from Qualcomm.)

Yes, but: Qualcomm will still have Apple's modem business for a while, thanks to the multiyear chip deal it signed as part of the legal settlement. It will also take Apple's in-house team a while to get its own 5G modem chips ready.

Separately: Intel posted quarterly results that exceeded expectations and raised its full-year earnings estimate. Its stock price rose in after-hours trading.

Go deeper

COVID cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to plummet all across the U.S.

By the numbers: The U.S. is now averaging roughly 70,000 new cases per day, a 20% drop over the past two weeks.

2 hours ago - World

Taiwan leader confirms U.S. troops on island training forces

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei earlier this month. Photo: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN Thursday that a small number of American troops are on the island for training purposes and she has "faith" the U.S. would defend the democracy against a Chinese military attack.

Why it matters: This is the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged the presence of U.S. troops on the self-governing island since the last U.S. garrison left in 1979, when Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.