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Google poaches Apple employee in move to build its own processors

  • Google recently hired Manu Gulati from Apple
  • Gulati is an expert in computer chip design
  • The move suggests Google is getting serious about building its own smartphone processors
Members of the media examine Google's Pixel phone during an event to introduce Google hardware products on October 4, 2016 in San Francisco, California.
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Members of the media examine Google's Pixel phone during an event to introduce Google hardware products on October 4, 2016 in San Francisco, California.

It looks like Google is getting awful serious about designing its own smartphone processors.

The company recently hired an engineer named Manu Gulati from Apple, according to Variety. Gulati has at least 15 Apple patents related to chip design under his belt and will be key in Google's plan to build its own processors, Variety said.

Apple currently builds its own smartphone processors but Google does not.

Apple's newest A10X chips, for example, are built-in house instead of by companies like Intel or Qualcomm. Qualcomm currently supplies its Snapdragon processor for Google's Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

Gulati's LinkedIn profile says he's now Google's "lead SOC architect." SoC stands for "system on a chip." Gulati worked at Apple for almost 8 years as a micro-architect and has also been employed by Broadcom and AMD.

If Google begins building processors in house, like Apple, it would potentially cut down on Google's reliance on Qualcomm. That may not be a big hit for Qualcomm, at least not yet, since the company still provides millions of its Snapdragon processors to smartphone makers such as Samsung, LG, HTC and others.

Still, this is a significant trend in the smartphone market. Other firms, such as Huawei and Samsung, have also started to build chips in-house, allowing them to rely less on potential supply restraints from outside parties.

A spokesperson for Apple was not immediately available for comment. Google confirmed Manu is now working for Google but declined to provide additional details.

Read the full Variety report.

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