Apple and Intel got an edge on rivals in separate moves that came to light Tuesday (May 30), showing heated competition in semiconductors. Apple hired a top Qualcomm engineering manager expected to lead its SoC efforts while Intel announced a new high-end PC processor family, leapfrogging renewed competition from Advanced Micro Devices.
Apple hired Esin Terzioglu, a vice president of engineering who led the central engineering group at Qualcomm’s semiconductor division for the last eight years. For its part, Intel announced its Core i9 Extreme Edition family, including an 18 core, 36 thread chip that leapfrogs AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper, a 16 core, 32 thread chip announced in mid-May.
Terzioglu announced his move in a LinkedIn post made public in a tweet by Neil Shah, an analyst for Counterpoint Research. Terzioglu has not updated his LinkedIn page to provide his new title at Apple, but given his experience observers expect he will lead Apple’s semiconductor efforts, perhaps launching a foray into creating the company’s own baseband processor.
The move comes at a time when Apple is locked in a major legal battle with Qualcomm over as much as $2 billion in annual royalties it charges for its cellular communications patents. Last year, Apple started using baseband chips from Intel.
Apple filed suit against Qualcomm in January, claiming that Qualcomm’s royalties were exorbitant and the chip vendor pressured it to remain silent. In a countersuit filed in April , Qualcomm said that it paid Apple to refrain from asserting patents and revealed that it got royalty payments for iPhones and iPads through Apple’s contract manufacturers including Compal, Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron.
Before joining Qualcomm, Terzioglu was CTO and CFO of startup Novelics, acquired by Mentor Graphics. Previously he served six years as a principal scientist in the office of the CTO at Broadcom. He holds a doctorate and masters in electrical engineering from Stanford.
“It does seem Apple increasingly wants to design almost everything in the iPhone,” said Mike Demler, an analyst with the Linley Group. “If you look at its patent filings its obvious Apple has been doing a lot of work in baseband radios for the past few years and they might even try to design their whole RF signal chain,” he said.
In addition, Apple recently informed Imagination Technologies it intends to design its own mobile GPUs.
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