Apple has poached Samsung talent to develop in-house chips for the Mac.
Apple and Samsung are in the midst of what is perhaps the most heated patent lawsuit in history, but that doesn’t mean the two companies won’t still steal from each other’s camps. One of Samsung’s most prominent chip designers has joined Apple, the Korean company’s sworn enemy. “Veteran” processor guru Jim Mergar could help Apple create proprietary chips for the Mac, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Mergar’s expertise could mean that Apple will eventually switch from Intel on the Mac to its own processors, like its in-house “A” chip series for iOS devices.
According to The Journal, Mergar was “known for playing a leading role in the development of a high-profile AMD chip that carried the code name Brazos and was designed for low-end portable computers.” He was seen as an instrumental part of Samsung’s team, and he also specializes in PC processor development.
Patrick Moorhead, a former AMD executive who now leads the research firm Moor Insights & Strategy, said Mergard brings deep expertise in both PC technology as well as in products known as SoCs–systems on a chip–that combine various kinds of special-function circuitry on a single piece of silicon.
Besides the current breed of Apple smartphones and tablets, Moorhead says Mergard’s talents could potentially be applied to Apple’s PC efforts, where its Macs use Intel chips but not SoCs. “He would be very capable of pulling together internal and external resources to do a PC processor for Apple,” Moorhead says.
A longstanding rumor has been that Apple is looking to ditch Intel’s processors on the Mac platform for its own. Chip design expertise is obviously needed to reach that goal, and Mergar may be the missing piece Apple needs.