Apple and Qualcomm are at odds with each other, and it’s only going to get worse. It’ll be an even more intense battle between them as Apple decided to open a chipmaking facility in San Diego, according to Bloomberg. The city also serves as Qualcomm’s headquarters. As everyone knows, Apple wants to decrease its reliance on outside suppliers.
It’s the first time Apple has openly recruited in Southern California. It makes sense, though, as the region serves as a popular location for chipmakers.
The search for talent is very much underway. Multiple job listings by the Cupertino-based company seek individuals with experience in chip design. Roles are focused on processors, 5G modems, and artificial intelligence-based components. Both hardware and software engineers are needed for the new San Diego office.
Products like the iPhone and the iPad feature custom processors, and Apple inserts its own wireless chips into the Apple Watch and the AirPods. However, it has never developed wireless chips for smartphones and tablets. They’ll be necessary as 5G connectivity approaches.
By manufacturing these components, Apple gains better control over its costs.
It wouldn’t be the first location Apple entered in an effort to pick up talent from local competitors. So far, there are at least six offices around the world that Apple runs to develop custom chips. Apple’s trying to put pressure on companies like Advanced Micro Devices, Infineon, Intel, and Toshiba. Wherever they host major operations, Apple’s popped up next door.
In recent years, Apple and Qualcomm transitioned from partners to rivals. The lawsuit that transpired was almost entirely about patents. Since the relationship soured, Apple weened itself off of Qualcomm’s modems and went all-in on Intel’s technology.
We’ll see how this story continues in the coming months and years. Apple won’t be ready to drop Intel immediately, but in 2020 or shortly after there could be a custom chip and modem paired together. Then Apple’s done its part in cutting out the middle-man once again.