Apple announced yesterday that it is buying most of Intel’s smartphone modem business. Intel will continue to manufacture modems for other devices and saves money in the process by offloading unprofitable aspects of the company. Everybody wins! Well, except Qualcomm.

Intel will sell its smartphone modem business to Apple for $1 billion. That part of the company includes patents, 2,200 Intel employees, equipment, leases, and more. Apple wants more control of its hardware and only recently settled a lawsuit alleging Qualcomm charges “unreasonably high fees” for its modem technology.

That settlement led to Intel announcing it would shut down its smartphone modem business. Intel had thought that with the dispute between Qualcomm and Apple, there was room for another competitor that could be profitable. It no longer saw that opportunity after the settlement was announced.

With this purchase, Apple won’t need to rely on Qualcomm technology, at least as much, and ultimately can control more of the hardware that goes into the iPhone. That’s something Apple has always preferred, and tight integration between software and hardware is part of what made the company so successful. [Apple]

In Other News:

  • Google says it is giving 100,000 Google Home Minis to paralyzed people: Voice assistants aren’t just for convenience. If you use a wheelchair, you may not be able to reach light switches, for instance. Voice control can bypass that problem. In a blog post, Google highlighted that fact and said it would give away 100,000 Home Minis to people living with paralysis. Very cool. [Engadget]
  • Ransomware killed power for some Johannesburg residents: An electricity provider in the city of Johannesburg got hit with ransomware, leaving up to a quarter of a million residents without power. Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city and financial capital. The electrical company hasn’t said yet if it will pay the ransom to regain control of its systems. [BBC]
  • Louisiana Governor declares a state of emergency due to ransomware: Proving there’s no rest for the wicked, three school districts in Louisiana discovered ransomware infections. IT networks are down and files are encrypted. By declaring the state of emergency, Governor John Bel Edwards is freeing up additional resources to help with the problem. Other cities and counties have paid as much as $500,000 to decrypt documents. [ZDNet]
  • Facebook is moving Instant Games out of Messenger: Instant Games, the quick multiplayer games Facebook has been pushing for years, is moving to a new home. Instead of accessing the games through Messenger, you’ll now find them in the main Facebook app under a gaming tab. The move should make Messenger less bloated, which is something everyone can get behind. [VentureBeat]
  • Discord is adding server folders: If you’re a heavy user of Discord, and you’re a member of many chat servers, you’ll rejoice at the latest news from the company. Discord is adding folder grouping. The change should mean you can avoid scrolling for eons to find that particular Rocket League chat you joined last week. [The Verge]

RELATED: How to Protect Yourself from Ransomware (Like CryptoLocker and Others)

The U.S. Military has a message for you: Please don’t try to raid Area 51. Somebody created an event on Facebook called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” and nearly two million people have signed up to go. The description of the event says: “If we naruto (sic) run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets (sic) see them aliens.”

The creators of the event aren’t serious, but the Military isn’t taking any chances and doesn’t want the joke to go too far. A spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force stated rather succinctly, “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”

Remember, it’s all fun and games until you get arrested for trespassing on government property. [New Scientist]

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Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code.
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