Google has hired away veteran chip architect Manu Gulati from Apple, with the goal of building its own custom chips for future Pixel phones.
Gulati has been working on chip development at Apple for almost eight years. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is now employed as Google’s lead system-on-a-chip Architect.
At Apple, he was key in the development of custom Apple chips for devices like the iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. He joined Apple in 2009, and the following year it began using its own chips, starting with the A4 chip for the iPad.
Gulati’s move comes at a time when Apple is “insourcing” more and more of its chip production.
This “insourcing” has so far affected Apple GPU maker Imagination Technologies and power-management chip company Dialog Semiconductor. Recently, Apple hired a former Qualcomm Engineering VP to act as the project lead on a wireless system-on-a-chip (SoC) project, hinting that it may be planning to develop its own cellular modems.
Google, meanwhile, relies on the same Qualcomm-manufactured processor as a number of other Android phone manufacturers, including HTC, LG, Lenovo and Asus. Developing its own chips would let Google differentiate the Pixel phone from other Android handsets, many of which have very similar performance.