Microsoft hires leading Apple engineer to work on in-house server chips

Microsoft hires leading Apple engineer to work on in-house server chips



Second chip guru to leave Apple in a week

Microsoft has hired a key Apple engineer to design its own chips for its servers, marking the second senior departure from Apple’s chip team in recent weeks.


Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday; that the Microsoft had poached chip industry veteran Mike Filippo, who had worked for Apple for over two years.


Filippo, who joined the iPhone maker in 2019, will reportedly work on processors within Microsoft’s Azure group; which is led by Rani Borkar.


Filippo spent around 10 years as a key chip architect at British chip designer firm Arm before joining Apple in 2019.


He had previously worked at Intel.


During his tenure at Arm, he was credited with improving the architecture’s core technologies for mobile and other platforms.


The Arm architecture is used in Apple’s A-series and M-series chips. When Apple recruited Filippo in May 2019; it was widely viewed as a big boost to the company’s attempts to move the Mac away from Intel and toward Arm-based Apple chips.


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Filippo’s hiring by Microsoft suggests that; the company could be speeding up its attempts to develop its own chips for the servers driving its cloud computing services.


Amazon and Alphabet, the company’s main competitors, have taken similar steps in recent years.


Microsoft currently relies heavily on Intel and AMD to supply chips for its Azure cloud computing services; as well as for Surface PCs.


For Apple, Filippo’s exit represents the second high-profile chip engineer poached by a competitor.


Earlier this month, Jeff Wilcox, Apple’s director of Mac system architecture, left the company in favour of a new role at Intel.


Wilcox oversaw Apple’s transition to its own silicon during his eight-year tenure, including Apple’s own M1 chip; which was praised for its high performance and efficiency.


The Apple M1 is the first Arm-based SoC the company has used in its MacBook line-up of laptops; as well as its compact Mac models running macOS.


The Arm design allowed Apple to end its previous dependence on Intel CPUs for this purpose.


It is not known whether Apple tried to retain Wilcox.


Earlier in 2019, three former Apple employees founded Nuvia; a semiconductor firm that was subsequently bought by Qualcomm.

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In recent months, Apple has taken initiatives to fight staff retention issues.


The company has reportedly been offering bonuses as high as $180,000 to engineers to prevent them leaving.


In a report published last month, Bloomberg said that Apple’s bonus offering was not only unusually large; but it was also out of season for the firm.


Anonymous employees told the publication that between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of engineers had been approached with the bonuses.


The bonuses were said to be reaction to Meta’s recent hiring of key engineers across AR, VR, wearables, and other divisions at Apple.


Bloomberg stated that Meta had hired about 100 engineers “in the last few months” in the ongoing talent war.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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