Apple’s in-house GPU plans have the company on a hiring spree in London, which happens to be pretty close to where Imagination Technologies is based. That’s the company Apple partnered with for iPhone and iPad graphics processors before deciding to go it alone—and more than 20 employees have already left to join the Cupertino-based company.
About a dozen job listings for GPU designers based in Apple’s UK Design Center have been posted, according to the Telegraph. UK-based Imagination is reportedly concerned Apple intends to hire away more of its staff.
Word surfaced last week that Apple is moving away from Imagination for its mobile device GPUs and will start designing its own. Imagination jumped into legal posturing mode saying Apple can’t create its own GPUs without first licensing some of its patented technology.
The company said in a statement, “Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information.”
Apple has already hired 25 people from Imagination over the past two years, including the company’s former COO John Metcalfe. Instead of buying the company, it seems Apple decided to simply hire away its talent instead.
Apple’s Hiring Spree is Imagination’s Bad Luck
Imagination Technologies is taking it on the chin in a big way because more than half its revenue comes from Apple. That’s a big loss to face, plus the company has been losing key talent to Apple thanks to hiring for the past couple years. The salt in the wound came on Friday when Imagination’s stock tanked last Friday after word of Apple’s plans came out.
At this rate, Imagination is faced with the prospect of Apple moving to its own GPU designs within two years, and the possibility of a long patent infringement legal fight. The company has already made it clear litigation is a possibility if Apple doesn’t pay to license its patent protected technologies.
Unfortunately for Imagination, Apple has no doubt factored that into its plans and is ready for what ever legal fight may be coming. Considering the company is looking at the prospect of losing half its income while bleeding away even more talent, the road ahead seems pretty rough.