Another chip exec one bites the dust at Apple • The Register

Apple is having trouble retaining the best chip people, with the latest defection being CPU architect Mike Filippo leaving for Microsoft.

As chief computing architect at Microsoft, Filippo will design server chips for the software giant, according to media reports. Earlier this month, Jeff Wilcox, Apple’s Arm-based M1 CPU lead, also returned to his former employers at Intel.

Filippo, an ARM architecture expert, worked with Apple from May 2019 to December of last year, according to his LinkedIn page. He joined a year before Apple’s June 2020 announcement that it was transitioning to ARM architecture-based PC chips.

Microsoft is already developing custom chips, but Filippo’s addition signals the company is moving toward ARM architecture for servers in its data centers. This week, the company posted a job posting for an ARM CPU designer in the group responsible for Azure hardware and Xbox products.

Before Apple, Filippo was responsible for the development of Neoverse V1, ARM’s server CPU, which has been used in Amazon’s Graviton server chips.

Cloud companies with mega data centers are developing custom silicon for servers, as well as offerings with industry-standard x86 chips and GPUs. Google has developed custom AI chips to deliver predictive analytics and servers through its cloud offerings.

Companies poaching chip experts has been common practice for decades, with Google and Amazon among those joining the fray to win over scarce design talent.

A group of Apple executives, including Gerard Williams, the chief architect of the iPad and iPhone silicon, left the company to pursue Nuvia, which was later acquired by Qualcomm for the talent. Mark Papermaster toured IBM, Apple, and Cisco before becoming chief technology officer at AMD, where he hired former Apple employees like Jim Keller to create the Zen architecture. ®

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