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

APApple CEO 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 centres.
  • Apple is accusing Gerard Williams, who serves as Nuvia’s CEO, of breaking the terms of his employment agreement.
  • Nuvia raised $US53 million from backers including Dell in November. It was cofounded by the 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 served as the chief architect of Apple’s iPhone and iPad chips before quitting the firm in February to start his own business, Nuvia, which designs processors for use in data centres. His departure from Apple was seen as a major blow to the firm.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has brought a lawsuit accusing Williams of 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 $US53 million in a Series A funding round, with its backers including the information technology giant Dell.

Nuvia’s other founders 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 three have reportedly been granted more than 100 patents related to chip design and system engineering.

Data centreStockphotoNuvia, which raised $US53 million in a November Series A, develops processors for use in data centres.

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.” In one of the texts, Williams is said to have bragged that Apple would be forced to buy Nuvia once the company got off the ground.

Apple has also 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.

Apple sued the Florida startup Corellium in August, accusing it of unlawfully replicating its iOS operating system, which runs its suite of iPhones and many other of its devices. Corellium was accused of commercialising this replica iOS while masquerading as a cybersecurity research firm.

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