Google acquires chip startup Agnilux, team comprised of former PA Semi and Apple engineers

Wed, Apr 21, 2010


Oh sneaky Google, what are you up to?

Back in March, we reported that PA Semi founder and CEO Daniel Dobberphui (what a name!) had left Apple to join former PA Semi and Apple employees Amarjit Gill, Mark Hayter, and Puneet Kumar at another chip startup called Agnilux. Some LinkedIn snooping revealed that at least 6 other PA Semi employees had also jumped ship from Apple to the new startup.

And now CNET is reporting that Google recently snatched up Agnilux, along with its cadre of former PA Semi and Apple employees. Also on board is Scott Redman, a former software architect at TiVo who most recently was Agnilux’s director of application software, and a number of former Cisco employees as well.

It remains unclear what plans Google has in mind for its newly acquired team as it was never entirely clear what Agnilux was. But you have to imagine that Google’s offer was more than favorable if the team of engineers, disillusioned by life in the corporate bubble at Apple, were willing to cash out and join another large corporation so soon after forming a startup. As for what Agnilux was developing, the New York Times back in February said that it was “some kind of server.”

Interestingly, Agnilux co-founder Mark Hayter told the Times, “We want to make a splash. We don’t want our manufacturer to take our intellectual property before we’re ready.

Well, I guess they’re ready.

As a quick refresher, Apple purchased PA Semi back in 2008 for $278 million, undoubtedly intrigued and impressed by their ability to design more than capable chips that used relatively little power. Upon being acquired by Apple, rumor had it that the PA Semi team was split into two, with one group assigned to develop ARM based processors for the iPhone and iPod and the other tasked with developing the A4 processor that would soon find its way into the iPad.

Since then, the extent of PA Semi’s role in the development of the A4 has been questioned in light of Apple’s acquisition of the privately held ARM design firm Intrinsity.

Either way, those PA Semi dudes are gettin’ around.



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