• Exodus of the Engineers: PA Semi Talent leaving Apple

    According to a report on CNet, one of the top executives that came to Apple with the company's acquisition of PA Semi in 2008 is leaving. If the report turns out to be true, Dan Dobberpuhl would join a growing number of PA Semi personnel that have left Apple since the acquisition. CNet reports that its sources are saying that Dobberpuhl is leaving to join Amarjit Gill and Mark Hayner at a new Silicon Valley startup called Agnilux.

    PA Semi (short for "Palo Alto Semiconductor") was founded by Dobberpuhl back in 2003. The company specialized in energy-efficient chip designs, including the PWRficient line, which was the first Power Architecture chipset to be designed by a firm that was not one of the AIM Alliance (Apple, IBM, Motorola/Freescale) companies. When Apple purchased the company, the assumption was that PA Semi's chip designers would be put to work on new technology for Apple allowing for more powerful processors in their portable devices. However, after the new Apple A4 chip was announced, reports indicated that the system-on-a-chip was designed by Apple's in-house VLSI group, which designed custom northbridges back when Apple used Power PC processors.

    Over the past months, members of the PA Semi team have been leaving Apple. The New York Times reported that a number of engineers and key executives have formed a startup with links to Cisco Systms said to be working on a server processor and with links to Cisco. Not much is known about Agnilux Inc. except that the name is derived from the compound of the Sanskrit word for fire — agni — and the Latin word for light — lux.

    Mark Hayter, the system architect and chief operating officer at Agnilux, was a director at Apple from June 2008 to December 2008. At PA Semi Hayter was systems architect and vice president of hardware. Prior to that Hayter was principal systems architect at SiByte Inc. up until its acquisition by Broadcom Corp. Amarjit Gill, the former PA Semi Executive Vice President for Sales and Business Development, also left Apple for Agnilux.
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