DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

October 15, 2012

2 Min Read
Apple Lands Former Samsung, AMD Chip Hotshot

The bitter legal rivalry between Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung appears to have transcended the courtroom to scuffling over top engineering talent, as Apple has snagged Jim Mergard, the Korean device maker’s vice president and chief engineer and a former veteran AMD (NYSE: AMD) chip engineer, according to a published report.

Mergard left AMD for Samsung in June 2011 following a 16-year tenure at AMD, joining a host of chip hot shots hired away by the Korean manufacturer as it sought to pump up its engineer capabilities in the mobile market. Mergard, who played a key role in developing AMD’s Brazos accelerated processing unit (APU) for PCs and notebooks, joins Apple as the vendor tries to pare down its chip dependency on Samsung.

The move again raises the question of Apple’s processor plans, showcases the growing competition for top flight engineers, and gives the vendor a formidable one-two punch of former AMD whizzes. In July, Apple hired John Bruno, a former AMD chip luminary noted for his work on the Trinity APUs (AMD’s second-generation A series Accelerated Processing Units) but riffed out of the chip maker in its November 2011 layoffs, as its new system architect. At time, this report suggested that Bruno’s hiring could signal Apple’s intention to develop new processors and graphics chips.

There’s no word yet as to whether Mergard will stay in Texas where he worked for AMD and Samsung, or if he will move to Apple’s California headquarters. As mentioned here, Apple has local presence in Austin with a support center and personnel from its Intrinsity acquisition two years ago.

While there’s still a lot of slogging, legal maneuvering and rhetoric remaining in the Apple Samsung courtroom war, in IT industry trench warfare the day is often carried by who commands and retains the best talent. We’ll just have to see if, in the long run, no matter whose lawyers win the battles, the victor between Apple and Samsung is determined by whose house holds the best and brightest engineers.

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About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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