AMD exec moves to Samsung, report says

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AMD exec moves to Samsung, report says

Samsung Electronics has hired the former vice president of the ailing U.S. chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) who designed the application processors for Apple’s iPhones, according to U.S. Internet media citing a Chinese source.

Jim Keller, a former chief architect of microprocessor cores at AMD who is famous in the CPU architecture community, recently joined Samsung’s R&D center in Austin, Texas, to work in the mobile processor division, the report said.

A Samsung spokesman said the report appears to be based on rumors, adding that the company is not in a position to confirm whether it has hired Keller or not.

“It seems like the news report is part of speculations that has emerged after Keller’s departure from AMD was made public in September,” he said.

Keller’s move to Samsung is not groundless, however.

The world’s top smartphone producer by shipment is said to be developing an entirely new CPU architecture. Tentatively called Mongoose, or Exynos M1, it will be Samsung’s newer Exynos system-on-a-chip (SoC) that will be embedded in the next-generation Galaxy phones, including Galaxy S7.

Samsung impressed the industry in March by introducing the Exynos 7420 mobile processor that was developed in-house instead of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 in its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones.

Although Exynos 7420 is manufactured with proprietary technology, it is still based on ARM’s Cortex A57 and A53 cores. Cores are an essential part of single chip substrate.

After designing various microprocessor cores at AMD, Keller joined a team at Apple to design the A4 and A5 SoC mobile processors, which powered such products as the iPhone 4, 4s, iPad and iPad 2.

He returned to AMD in 2012 and left after three years.

Hurt by the sluggish market for personal computer processors, AMD has been struggling in recent years with slumping revenue.

Rumors surfaced earlier this year that both Samsung and Intel were mulling buying out AMD, and Microsoft rose later as a potential bidder.

AMD said at the beginning of this month that it would slash around 500 jobs, or 5 percent of its workforce, as part of a restructuring.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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