Qualcomm to acquire NUVIA (founded by former Apple chip designers) for $1.4 billion

Qualcomm will acquire NUVIA, a chip startup company founded by former Apple chip designers, for US$1.4 billion, reports Reuters.

The deal marks a big push by Qualcomm to “reestablish a leading position in chip performance after several years of high-profile patent licensing litigation with rival Apple and regulatory authorities,” the article adds.

NUVIA was founded in early 2019 with the goal of “reimagining silicon design to deliver industry-leading performance and energy efficiency for the data center. The company was founded by John Bruno, Manu Gulati, and Gerard Williams III, who have collectively driven system engineering and silicon design for more than 20 chips, with more than 100 patents granted to date.

In December 2019 Apple sued Williams, the former chief architect of its iPhone and iPad microprocessors, who in left the company in February 2019 to co-found NUVIA.

Apple said he broke his employment agreement while setting up his new enterprise. Williams – who oversaw the design of the company’s custom Arm processors for nearly a decade – quit Apple in February to head up the newly founded Nuvia, which claims to have $53 million in funding. And which boasts eight former Apple employees, including its co-founders.

Apple’s lawsuit alleges Williams hid the fact he was preparing to leave the company to start his own business while still working at Apple, and drew on his work in steering iPhone processor design to create his new company. Apple’s lawyers claim he tried to lure away staff from his former employer, all of this in breach of his contract, notes The Register.

According to Bloomberg, Williams accuses Apple of a “stunning and disquieting invasion of privacy” over its monitoring of his texts. In one message, he saysApple would have “no choice but to purchase” his new company.

In “Apple’s theory, if one Apple employee speaks to (or texts) another employee conveying criticisms of Apple’s strategies or decisions, that discussion is itself a purportedly unlawful ‘solicitation’ to leave Apple,” Williams says in a filing.