It seems that Apple and Qualcomm’s working relationship has severely broken down to the point of what looks like no return. It’s being reported that the Cupertino-based company is actively and almost aggressively seeking to hire chip engineers within the San Diego area, which, perhaps coincidentally, is where Qualcomm is headquartered.
Apple and Qualcomm have a historical working relationship, which has seen the chip manufacturer supplying processors for Apple’s devices for some time. However, that relationship has broken down in recent times with both companies fighting it out in court over alleged missing royalty payments and Apple’s belief that Qualcomm is making it pay twice in some instances. Companies can often go through arbitration in court and still have a purchasing/supplier agreement on a commercial level but that doesn’t appear to be how this one is going to play out.
To further compound matters, it looks as though Apple is planning on going at it solo after it published a total of 10 open positions for chip designers located within San Diego. Apple, as a company, is no stranger to chip design, but this appears to be the first time that the company has actively recruited for this type of role in this part of California. It seems that these positions will be for engineers and designers to work on multiple different projects, including but not limited to Apple’s Neural Engine artificial intelligence processing unit and wireless chips that could drive the next-generation of connectivity for Apple’s mobile devices.
Apple already has internal engineers with these types of capabilities located in other parts of the world but it now looks as though it’s ramping up its efforts to recruit internally. Given the location, it’s difficult to not see how this is a blatant attempt at piquing the interest of employees who are currently on the books of Qualcomm.
Apple is yet to design and build its own complete system for the internals of the iPhone – which is its biggest selling product – so it’s possible that this latest recruitment drive is part of a bigger plan to take all of that manufacturing and supply in-house. This would give Apple greater control over internal architecture as well as product costs and immediately give its hardware another bump over rivals.