An engineer who helped lead Apple’s charge to design its own chips for iPads and iPhones is now at Google.
Gulati, whose move was first spotted by Variety, is now Google’s lead architect for SoC, short for system-on-a-chip. It is a tech term for a chip that bundles both processing power and memory—basically all the components needed for most devices—into one package.
The hire sparks talk that Google (goog) start using chips of its own design in its Pixel smart phones. Currently those phones incorporate Qualcomm chips. Two years ago, tech news site The Information reported that Google was talking to semiconductor fabricators about building microprocessors based on its own in-house designs.
Google’s new hire could help the company differentiate Pixel from the many other smartphones by other vendors that run Android on Qualcomm (qcom) chips. And Gulati’s exit is seen as a set back for Apple (aapl), which has filed a number of chip-related patents that credit Gulati as an inventor, according to Variety.
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Google’s Pixel competes with Android devices from various manufacturers but, perhaps more importantly to Google, Apple’s huge iPhone franchise. For Google, picking up a top talent from Apple is an important win.