Apple (AAPL) Snags Samsung’s Chip Architect

The WSJ reported on Thursday that Apple (AAPL) has hired former AMD chip designer and executive Jim Mergard, who joined Samsung last June as chief system architect. Before Samsung, Mergard, who is well-known for his work on both PC chip design and system-on-a-chip/SoCs design such as that used for Apple’s iOS devices, spent 16 years at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) where he was a vice president and chief engineer.

During his time at AMD, Mergard was also responsible for the development of AMD’s high-profile Fusion APUs.

Mergard’s hiring marks a significant talent win for Apple in terms of the company’s transitioning efforts from partially relying on Samsung  — the South Korean-based firm currently produces chips for all of Apple’s iOS devices — to creating its own chips in-house.

Patrick Moorhead, a former AMD executive was quoted as saying to the Journal that “Mergard brings deep expertise in both PC technology as well as in…SoCs”, with the latter being of great benefit to Apple as it is the architecture used within iOS devices like the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

It is unknown whether Mergard will remain in Austin, where he worked for AMD and Samsung, or work from the company’s Cupertino headquarters. Apple has had a chip design presence in Austin since acquiring Intrinsity in 2010.

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