Home / Tech / Apple is suing its former lead chip designer after he quit to set up his own chip company

Apple is suing its former lead chip designer after he quit to set up his own chip company

Tim Cook

  • Apple is suing the former chief architect of its iPhone and iPad chips after he quit the firm to start his own processor design firm, Nuvia, which targets data centers.
  • Gerard Williams, who serves as Nuvia’s CEO, is being taken to court by Apple after allegedly breaking the terms of his employment agreement.
  • Nuvia raised $53 million from backers including Dell in November. It was cofounded by ex-Apple engineers John Bruno and Manu Gulati, alongside Williams.
  • Williams reportedly accused the tech giant of snooping on his private text messages in court filings related to the case.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple is taking one of its former star chip designers to court after he left to cofound his own firm.

Gerard Williams is a former chief architect of Apple’s iPhone and iPad chips and quit the firm in February to start his own business, Nuvia, which designs processors for use in data centers. His departure from Apple was seen as a major blow to the firm.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is suing Williams for planning or engaging in business activities that are “competitive with or directly related to Apple’s business or products”, thereby breaking the terms of his employment agreement.

After eight months of scant news about Nuvia, the firm was revealed to have raised $53 million in a Series A funding round, with its backers including the information technology giant Dell.

Nuvia’s other cofounders are also former Apple execs — John Bruno, who worked in Apple’s platform architecture group, and Manu Gulati, who worked on Apple’s systems-on-a-chip.

The trio has reportedly been granted over 100 patents related to chip design and system engineering.

data center

Williams has since accused Apple of snooping on his private texts.

According to the same Bloomberg report, Williams accused Apple of a “stunning and disquieting invasion of privacy” over its monitoring of his texts. In one of those texts, Williams is said to have bragged about Apple being forced to buy Nuvia once the company was off the ground.

For its part, Apple has accused Williams of unlawfully encouraging its employees to leave and join Nuvia – an accusation Williams denies. “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,” he reportedly argued.

In August, Apple sued Florida startup Correlium for unlawfully replicating its iOS operating system, which runs its suite of iPhones and many other of its devices. Correlium was accused of commercializing this replica iOS while masquerading as a cybersecurity research firm.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm soars after agreeing with Apple to drop all litigation

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