Apple loses another key chip designer as Microsoft swoops in

By

Groups oppose Apple photo scanning
Why is Apple struggling to hold onto its chip-makers?
Photo: Benjamin Balázs

Another key chip designer has left Apple for Microsoft. Mike Filippo, who joined Cupertino in 2019 after a decade with Arm, is the second processor engineer Apple has lost in as many weeks after Jeff Wilcox left to join Intel.

Filippo will reportedly work on server chips for Microsoft’s Azure group, which is said to be pushing forward with its own silicon for cloud computing services.

Microsoft steals chip designer from Apple

Despite the overwhelming success of Apple’s initial crop of M1 chips, which have breathed new life into the Mac since their introduction in late 2020, Cupertino’s silicon team seemingly cannot hold onto its top architects.

Just one week after Apple lost Wilcox, who was director of Mac System Architecture, another key designer has jumped ship. Filippo, who has also had lengthy stints at Intel and AMD, is now Chief Compute Architect at Microsoft.

The move, which is confirmed by Filippo’s LinkedIn profile, was first reported by Bloomberg. And given Filippo’s wealth of experience, it seems like a rather significant loss for Apple just as its silicon business is taking off.

Filippo is an Arm expert

Filippo’s spell at Arm, during which he led development of its first 64-bit chip and a long list of others, suggests he would have played an important role in the design of the Apple silicon lineup — also based on Arm architecture.

He will likely have a similar role at Microsoft, which has begun working on custom chips for its own servers — and possibly Surface devices, which currently use Intel and Qualcomm processors, as well.

The move will also be another worry for Intel, which is already losing Apple’s business while facing tougher competition from rivals like AMD.