LONDON Google Inc. is following Apple into the IC design business by buying a chip design team company, according to reports. Google has bought Agnilux Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), which was formed by former design engineers who had been brought into Apple and then quit to form their own company.
Agnilux was founded in about December 2008 but very little is known about the company except that the name is compound of the Sanskrit word for fire agni and the Latin word for light lux.
It was speculated that the design team could be proposing to reduce server power consumption by designing a multiprocessing ARM chip as a server engine, just as the team when working at Apple is believed to have worked with an ARM architectural license to improve power efficiency and extend battery life.
The key Apple escapee executives behind Agnilux included Mark Hayter and Amarjit Gill. It is also thought that Dan Dobberpuhl a founder of P.A.Semi recently left Apple to join Agnilux.
PEHub reported the acquisition, referencing a Google spokesman as providing confirmation, and said that Agnilux had previously held strategic investment talks with companies like Cisco, Microsoft and Texas Instruments. It also speculates that the pricing must have been a "big deal" to persuade Agnilux to eschew the venture capital funding route.
As a measure of what Agnilux owners might have picked up consider that Apple bought P.A.Semi, albeit at a more mature stage in the startup life cycle, for about $278 million in April 2008.
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