SEEMS LIKE EVERYONE wants to make their own chips nowadays, but Google is going one step further and reportedly poaching Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm engineers to join its in-house 'gChips' design team.
Reuters reports that Google has hired a dozen chip engineers in Bengaluru, India over the past few months and has a slew of job postings on LinkedIn that confirm that Google, or at least its parent company Alphabet, is stepping up its chip design efforts.
Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm are big fish in the chip-making world and supply the likes of Google with silicon, so it must be a slap in the face to then lose chip talent to one of their customers.
But then that's the way of things in the chip world at the moment. Firms like Apple are increasingly moving their chip designs in house, with Cupertino designing its own A-series mobile SoCs that use ARM-based instruction sets and radio tech from Intel and Qualcomm, but are still Apple's own designs on the whole.
Yet while Apple has been designing A-series chips in-house for some time, it's now apparently looking at bringing more chip parts under its roof and even create its own processors for Mac machines. That would upset the, er, apple cart in the chip world, given the firm currently relies on Intel's Core CPUs for its MacBooks and iMacs.
As for Google, it and others like Facebook and Amazon already make their own AI-centric chips, so expanding into other areas is hardly surprising.
With the wealth of engineering talent Google already has, and its dominant position in the mobile market with Android, it's arguably well positioned to make its own mobile chipsets at least. Bringing chip design in-house could see Google more tightly integrate its software and AI features, as seen in the Pixel phones, with the underlying silicon to offer better performance and capabilities.
Or it could leave Qualcomm with that slice of the chip pie and instead design its own chip for use in the myriad of data centres that support its cloud and web services. Such a move could be worrying for Intel, which is the current chip king in the data centre arena and wouldn't likely welcome further competition.
But we're spit-balling ideas here, so don't expect Google to rock up with a new Pixel packed with its own silicon any time soon.
Yet, the whole thing is food for thought and should at least prompt the big chip players to keep innovating rather than rest on their laurels. µ
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