Google Hires Veteran Chip Designer Away From Apple to Build Custom Chips For Pixel Smartphones

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Google has hired veteran chip architect Manu Gulati, who worked at Apple for the past eight years, according to Variety.

    Gulati is now a Lead SOC Architect at Google, where he began in May, according to his recently updated LinkedIn profile.

    Gulati was "instrumental" to the company's efforts to build custom chips for the iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV, according to the report.

    Apple's custom silicon ranges from the single-core A4 chip in the original iPad and iPhone 4 to the six-core A10X Fusion chip in the new 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

    At Google, his expertise is expected to help the Mountain View company design custom chips for its own Pixel smartphones.

    Pixel smartphones are currently powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 processor, which is the same chip used in several other flagship Android smartphones. But reports claim Google plans to build its own chips, as it takes on the iPhone more directly in the premium smartphone category.

    Gulati is listed as an inventor on over a dozen Apple patents related to mobile processors and integrated circuity. He has over 20 years of industry experience, including lengthy stints at AMD and Broadcom.

    Article Link: Google Hires Veteran Chip Designer Away From Apple to Build Custom Chips For Pixel Smartphones
     
  2. geenosr macrumors regular

    geenosr

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    As long as Mr. Gulati doesn't break any of the patents that apple owns, I wish him good luck at google.
     
  3. macduke macrumors G3

    macduke

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    I'm sure Apple has a substantial chip design team, but this still sucks for them. Their chip team is one of the best in the world and no other mobile devices can come close to their performance. They're even starting to catch up and in some ways pass Intel's 13" MBP chips with the iPad Pro. It's astounding how far they've come in such a short time. This is a huge hire for Google. I wonder how much money they had to pony up to get this guy as it gives them a big competitive advantage going forward.
     
  4. cmaier macrumors G5

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    #4
    I know Manu. Used to work with him at AMD. He's fine, but Apple will be fine.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 13, 2017 ---
    Wouldn't call it a huge hire.
     
  5. Quu macrumors 68030

    Quu

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    My prediction: They come out with a chip in 3 years it underperforms compared to the competition, Google axes it and we never hear of this guy ever again.
     
  6. CJM macrumors 65816

    CJM

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    #6
    Is this the Israeli chip guy I remember reading an article on?

    Either way, a loss for Apple and a gain for Google.
     
  7. sully54 macrumors regular

    sully54

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  8. foobarbaz macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Interesting ... Pixel phones are much too low volume to warrant a custom chip at this point.

    So maybe they're considering licensing it to other Android makers. Or maybe they want to use them in Chromebooks. Either way they have big plans.
     
  9. macduke macrumors G3

    macduke

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    #9
    Good to hear. Their chip team is so fantastic that I was surprised they let anyone go, but figured if they did then he was probably not hugely instrumental. But couldn't he help Google copy what his teammates have already done? I thought patents were a lot murkier with chips. Is "clean rooming" still a thing?
     
  10. jarred125 macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I am honestly surprised Google has kept up with its chip division this long. I see the same outcome as you simply from their previous ventures.
     
  11. BC2009 macrumors 68000

    BC2009

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    #11
    A10X has 6 cores, not 4.
     
  12. miscend macrumors regular

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    Lol. You wouldn't call a SOC design lead a huge hire?
     
  13. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Google doesn't do any custom chip design. They use SOCs from Qualcomm
     
  14. cmaier macrumors G5

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    #14
    No I wouldn't, because I know Manu and I know what a "SOC design lead" does and how many there are.

    (To be clear, he's a good engineer. But there are very few indispensable ones)
     
  15. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

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    #15
    At my company, there are many team leads that make up the dev team. I'm sure Apple's SOC team is quite large.
     
  16. jarred125 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I should have said their plans to do this rather than their chip division. Sorry, did not mean to confuse.
     
  17. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Nope, different guy, this guy is definitely not Israeli. Haha
     
  18. drewyboy macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Most are ignoring that fact that when one goes, more are to follow.

    I'm not saying apple is in trouble or anything like that, but I would absolutely be amazed if he isn't able to get others from apple to follow. It's just simply a part of business. I can't tell you how many times when a lead or senior engineer leaves my employer for apple, google, intel, etc. that a few follow him/her.
     
  19. Quu macrumors 68030

    Quu

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    #19
    Keep in mind that the architect of the A4 and A5 (or at-least one of the "rockstar" chip designers of our time) Jim Keller left Apple after he worked on those and joined Samsung, AMD and now Tesla. He was instrumental in designing the new Zen architecture for AMD that is giving them a huge resurgence.

    But the key thing is he left after the A5 and Apple has since created the A6, A7, A8, A9 and A10. All amazing without him being present.
     
  20. heyhelppls macrumors newbie

    heyhelppls

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    #20
    My first thought was that this seems to be Apple letting Google have someone who would actually bring life to their chip endeavors with the knowledge that it will be years (if ever) before the pixel is a threat to them, while even just the idea of a good competitor, could hurt Qualcomm.
     
  21. cmaier macrumors G5

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    #21
    I worked with Jim, too, at AMD (before he left and eventually came back). He architected the hyper transport bus back then. Good guy. Certainly a bigger loss to Apple than Manu, but, like I said, few engineers are indispensable.
     
  22. Fall Under Cerulean Kites macrumors 6502

    Fall Under Cerulean Kites

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    #22
    A successful chip design department, one engineer does not make.

    Even in my own company, I never get too excited when we gain or lose an employee here and there. Including valuable ones. Scale that to a company of Apple’s size - 116,000 employees. Of which, I’d guess 10-20,000 are engineers. Makes one person, no matter how tallented, a loss that’s not worth getting excited over.
     
  23. cmaier macrumors G5

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    #23
    He wasn't that high up in the chip design group.
     
  24. Wildkraut macrumors 6502a

    Wildkraut

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  25. CarlJ macrumors 68030

    CarlJ

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    #25
    Please, please, don't quote the entire article when commenting - we all saw the article already. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and type your comment in the box like everyone else.
     

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