Qualcomm can beat Apple M1 chip, says CEO, thanks to ex-Apple engineers

Qualcomm can beat Apple M1

Qualcomm can beat Apple’s M1 chip, says the company’s CEO, for one good reason: It has a team of chip architects who formerly worked on Apple Silicon. This includes former A-series chip lead Gerard Williams.

You may recall Apple was so upset at Williams leaving the company that it sued him, accusing him of exploiting Apple tech and poaching other key engineers…

Background

Williams and two other former Apple chip execs left the company in 2019 to create a new chip company, Nuvia. The trio said at the time that they were planning to compete with Intel and AMD.

Apple didn’t believe them, and said their true intention was to force Apple to acquire the company, effectively buying back its own tech.

That dispute was still unresolved when there was a fresh development earlier this year: Qualcomm bought Nuvia for $1.4 billion. That gave the chipmaker access to much of the expertise behind the development of Apple’s M1 chip.

Claim that Qualcomm can beat Apple M1

Reuters reports on the latest development.

Longtime processor suppliers Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices have no chips as energy efficient as Apple’s. Qualcomm Chief Executive Cristiano Amon told Reuters on Thursday he believes his company can have the best chip on the market, with help from a team of chip architects who formerly worked on the Apple chip but now work at Qualcomm.

Amon doesn’t seem totally confident in this claim, as he does have a plan B in mind.

If Arm, which we’ve had a relationship with for years, eventually develops a CPU that’s better than what we can build ourselves, then we always have the option to license from Arm.

Qualcomm currently remains an Apple supplier, making modem chips for iPhones. A lengthy legal battle between the two companies over patent royalties got extremely heated before it was finally settled in 2019. This latest development could inflame tempers again, though Qualcomm may figure it has little to lose as Apple gets closer to designing its own wireless chips.

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Apple Silicon

Apple Silicon is Apple's new lineup of processors for the Mac platform. It was announced in 2020 with the first Macs appearing at Apple's "One More Thing" event in November 2020. The first was the M1, and it first appeared in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini.

Qualcomm

M1

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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