Rumor: Samsung courting former Apple and AMD silicon engineers to help it design a custom CPU

Samsung is reportedly looking to hire Apple’s and AMD’s former silicon engineers to help it create a custom CPU after shuttering its in-house semiconductor team recently.


  • Samsung may be hiring ex-Apple and AMD engineers.
  • The idea is to switch to custom CPUs for its devices.
  • Samsung also wants to bring AMD graphics to Exynos.
  • Samsung’s custom Moongoose CPU cores launched in 2016.
  • In 2019, Samsung switched to ARM’s stock CPU cores.

Samsung Exynos teaser graphic

Samsung switching back to in-house CPU designs

Samsung has been using its own Exynos-branded chips to power its Galaxy smartphones since 2016. As for Apple, the iPhone maker began ditching off-the-shelf designs from ARM in favor of its custom ones, a process that started with the original iPad and iPhone 4 in 2010.

Apple has been using ARM’s custom CPU designs until the iPhone 5s, which debuted the A7 chip featuring Apple’s first fully custom CPU cores based on the ARM instruction set.

Depending on the specific market, Samsung’s Galaxies ship with either their own Exynos chip or Qualcomm-designed Snapdragon. In November 2019, however, the South Korean company shut down its internal team focused on designing custom CPU cores, dubbed Moongose, and has instead opted to license CPU cores designed by fabless semiconductor maker ARM.

But Samsung is reportedly changing its mind again because the company was unimpressed by the performance of the latest CPU designs from ARM. It’s now looking to hire ex-Apple and AMD engineers to help it design a custom CPU/GPU solution to remain competitive.

GSMArena has the story:

A new report claims that Samsung is courting former CPU engineers from Apple and AMD, one of which was a major player in the development of Apple’s custom chipsets. That engineer is demanding to be fully in control of their own team and to choose which employees to bring onto said team.

As the report indicates, Samsung is putting together a team as we speak so it’s probably going to take a while until its in-house CPU designs begin appearing in flagship Galaxies.

Qualcomm’s custom CPU is coming soon

Chipmaker Qualcomm has also been working on its own custom CPU design after acquiring Nuvia for a reported $1.4 billion. Nuvia was founded in 2019 by former Apple engineers who worked on the Apple M1, Apple A14 and other chips.

Nuvia-designed chips are said to be optimized for a broad range of devices, like smartphones, laptops, infotainment systems and driver-assistance systems among other applications.

One of Nuvia’s founders said Apple suffocates “the creation of new technologies and solutions“ after the iPhone maker had sued him over an alleged breach of contract. Theoretically speaking, Qualcomm could launch its custom CPU designs later in the year.