According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple has now hired Jim Megard, who spent 16 years as a leading designer at chip company AMD before being hired by Samsung a little over a year ago as chief system architect.
Apple has made him an offer which he obviously couldn’t refuse. Samsung has a major chip design facility and fab in Austin, Texas, where Megard worked. That facility actually makes chips for Apple, despite the difficult relationship between the two companies.
Megard is a specialist in “system on a chip” microprocessors, which combine many functions onto the one chip and which are widely used in portable devices. Apple needs expertise in this area, having relied strongly on off-the-shelf products in many of its devices.
Megard may stay in Austin, where Apple has a small operation, and commute to Cupertino – for many years there has been a daily flight dubbed the “Nerd bird” that flies between San Jose and Austin airports.
The hiring is unlikely to improve relations between Samsung and Apple, which are locked in a bitter patent dispute. Chip designers with Megard’s experience are in short supply, and he will leave the Korean company with an intimate knowledge of its design strategies.