Google Ramps Up Mobile Chipmaking With Talent From Apple

Google has hired John Bruno, a well-regarded chip designer from Apple who had worked on the company’s series of iPhone chips since 2012. The hiring is part of a brewing effort by Google to design its own chipsets for consumer devices like the Pixel phone.

Mr. Bruno follows a number of other experienced chip engineers who have defected to Google from Apple over the past year, including Manu Gulati, Wonjae (Gregory) Choi and Tayo Fadelu. Google has also picked up experienced chip engineers from mobile chip giant Qualcomm, including Mainak Biswas, Vinod Chamarty and Shamik Ganguly.

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Chinese phone giant Huawei also highlights its in-house chipmaking capabilities—through a subsidiary called HiSilicon—to try to set itself apart. Inside its latest flagship Mate 10 device is the Kirin 970 chipset, which comes with a so-called neural processing unit using technology licensed from Chinese AI chip startup Cambricon. The dedicated AI processor is used to run AI tasks like speech and image recognition faster and more efficiently.

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At Apple, Mr. Bruno founded and managed the silicon competitive analysis group to make sure Apple kept ahead of rivals in chip performance for its iPhones and iPads.