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Qualcomm just snapped up Apple’s chief architect and his CPU startup


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Qualcomm just snapped up Apple’s chief architect and his CPU startup


  • Qualcomm has announced a $1.4 billion deal to acquire chip design firm Nuvia.
  • The fledgling company was founded by Apple executive Gerard Williams III.
  • He is the long-time chief architect behind a variety of Apple CPUs and chipsets.




Qualcomm is the top dog in the Android phone space right now, but it faces stiff competition in the general smartphone space and computing space thanks to players like Apple. Now, the US chipmaker has announced a $1.4 billion deal to acquire fledgling silicon design firm Nuvia.


Nuvia was founded back in 2019 by former Apple silicon executive Gerard Williams III, along with Manu Gulati and John Bruno. Williams was the chief architect behind several major Apple CPUs and chipsets from 2010 to 2019.


More specifically, Williams’ LinkedIn profile notes that he was behind the Cyclone, Typhoon, Twister, Hurricane, Monsoon, Vortex, Lightning and Firestorm CPUs. These CPUs were featured in the Apple A7, A8, A9, A10, A11, A12 series, A13, and A14 respectively. The Nuvia founder’s profile also notes that he was the chief architect for Apple’s Mac hardware.


Going back even futher, the Nuvia co-founder worked at Arm from 1998 to 2010, working on CPU tech like the Arm Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A15 CPU cores.



Credit: LinkedIn/Gerard Williams III


In announcing the deal, Qualcomm said that Nuvia has industry-leading expertise in “high performance processors, Systems on a Chip and power management for compute-intensive devices and applications.” So how will Qualcomm use the new firm’s know-how?

“Nuvia CPUs are expected to be integrated across Qualcomm Technologies’ broad portfolio of products, powering flagship smartphones, next-generation laptops, and digital cockpits, as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, extended reality and infrastructure networking solutions,” the San Diego firm explained.


In other words, it sounds like we can expect future Qualcomm smartphone processors to swap out Arm’s Cortex CPUs in favor of (newly) in-house solutions. This would mark the first time since 2016’s Snapdragon 820 that it used custom CPU designs. But the big difference between now and then of course, is that Qualcomm didn’t have Apple’s chief silicon designer working for it.


It’s also worth noting that Qualcomm says Nuvia CPUs will be found inside next-generation laptops, suggesting that future Windows on Arm laptops will gain a major performance boost. And it’s just in time too, as Apple makes waves with its M1-powered Mac computers.


We’ve contacted Qualcomm to find out more about its intentions with Nuvia and will update the article when they get back to us. Do you think this deal will help Qualcomm to beat Apple? Give us your thoughts in the comments!



Source: Qualcomm just snapped up Apple’s chief architect and his CPU startup

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Qualcomm acquires Nuvia, a startup founded by former Apple chip engineers




Qualcomm announced today that it will acquire high-performance chip company, NUVIA Inc., for approximately $1.4 billion. NUVIA was founded by former Apple chip engineers responsible for its A series of chips for the iPhones and iPads.


NUVIA will be incorporated into Qualcomm's subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, to help build processors for future smartphones, laptops, and digital cockpits. The acquisition is also expected to benefit the chip giant's "Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, extended reality, and infrastructure networking solutions".


Regarding the acquisition, Cristiano Amon, President and CEO-Elect of Qualcomm, said:



“5G, the convergence of computing and mobile architectures, and the expansion of mobile technologies into other industries are significant opportunities for Qualcomm. The NUVIA team are proven innovators, and like Qualcomm, have a strong heritage in creating leading technology and products. I am very excited to have them join our team.Together, we are very well positioned to redefine computing and enable our ecosystem of partners to drive innovation and deliver a new class of products and experiences for the 5G era.”


As part of the deal, NUVIA co-founders Gerard Williams III, Manu Gulati, and John Bruno will join Qualcomm along with their employees. Williams, the CEO of NUVIA, was formerly a senior director and chief CPU architect at Apple for nearly a decade. Similarly, Gulati and Bruno previously played a key role in Apple's chipset architecture.


In late 2019, NUVIA raised $53 million during its Series A funding round led by Capricorn Investment Group, Dell Technologies Capital, Mayfield, and WRVI Capital. Last year, it closed another funding round where it raised $240 million.


Qualcomm didn't say when the transaction is expected to close. For now, it's awaiting customary closing conditions and other regulatory approvals.


Source: Qualcomm acquires Nuvia, a startup founded by former Apple chip engineers (via Neowin)

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