Google has reportedly poached one of Apple’s top chip designers, as it continues to pursue plans to design its own chipsets for consumer devices like its Pixel range of smartphones.
According to The Information, the search giant has hired well-regarded Apple chip expert John Bruno, who has worked on silicon architecture for iPhones since 2012. Before moving offices to Cupertino to help with Apple’s ARM-based mobile chip push, Bruno worked at Advanced Micro Devices and led chip design at ATI Technologies.
Bruno founded and managed Apple’s silicon competitive analysis group, which sought to keep the company ahead of competitors in the area of chip performance. He follows several other experienced chip engineers who have defected to Google from Apple over the past year, including Manu Gulati, Wonjae (Gregory) Choi and Tayo Fadelu.
The hires highlight Google’s attempt to keep pace with Apple, which has been designing its own mobile chips since 2010. Recently, Google said it would sell chips known as Cloud Tensor Processing Units (TPU) to other companies so that they could benefit from its deep learning tool set, TensorFlow. However, the recruitment drive is more likely to be aimed at making own-branded chips for Google’s Pixel smartphones.
Indeed, Google’s first mobile chip could be right around the corner, according to Jim McGregor, an analyst at Tirias Research who spoke to The Information. With the help of off-the-shelf intellectual property, the Mountain View-based tech giant could have a multifunctional system-on-a-chip up and running in as soon as six months, McGregor said.