On Monday, we wrote that Apple hired Bob Drebin, the former CTO of AMD's graphics product group. What else has Apple been up to lately? Oh, nothing much—it's only hired Raja Koduri, who happens to have filled the exact same role at AMD since Drebin's departure early last year. The Wall Street Journal says Koduri started at Apple this week.
We've already noted that the Mac maker hired former PA Semicondutor chip designers and bought a stake in graphics IP firm Imagination Technologies. The Journal adds that Apple "is building a significant capability to design its own computer chips" by hiring "people from many different segments of the semiconductor industry." Specifically, LinkedIn shows "more than 100 people" from firms like Intel, Samsung, and Qualcomm have defected to Steve Jobs' company.
Why spend all these resources on chip development? Simple: quoting sources familiar with the subject, the Journal says Apple doesn't want information about either the chips it's building or the products for which it's building the chips to leak out to competitors. Those fears probably aren't unfounded—Apple certainly wouldn't want to end up like Sony during the PlayStation 3 CPU development process.
Don't look for custom Apple processing hardware in the next iPhone, though. The same folks with purported knowledge of Apple's plans believe the first in-house chips shouldn't see the light of day until "next year at the earliest."