After losing its head of M1 processor development, Apple’s semiconductor design and manufacturing facility is suffering a new blow: Microsoft has stolen Mike Filippo, a specialist semiconductor designer who previously worked for Apple as a chip architect, from the Cupertino-based company.
Filippo had joined Apple in 2019 after spending ten years in design at ARM, a company where he was credited with developing some of the underlying technologies leveraged in processors in phones and other devices. He was responsible for the development of several ARM chips, including Cortex-A76, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A57, and other chips using 7nm and 5m lithography technologies. Being a great ARM expert, Filippo was instrumental in the design of the chips that are the basis of almost all Apple devices based on ARM architecture.
The now former Apple employee also had expertise in supercomputer CPUs. Between 2004 and 2009 he worked as chief architect on 24-core, 96-threaded systems at Intel and in this perspective he was certainly instrumental in the development of high-performance products.
According to what has been learned, Mike Filippo will work on processors with Microsoft’s Azure group led by Rani Borkar, an unspecified source reported. Microsoft seems determined to give a boost to the launch of servers to be dedicated to Azure cloud-computing services, in the same way as Alphabet (Google) and Amazon, Microsoft’s two rivals in this sector.
In 2020 there were rumors of Microsoft working on proprietary chips for servers and perhaps even for Surface. The Surface lineup currently leverages mainly chips from Intel and Qualcomm; if Microsoft decides to use proprietary chips, it could take a similar approach to Apple’s in recent years. Meta (Facebook) is also apparently working on proprietary chips for its future devices. That’s why Philip’s recruitment becomes an impotant piece.
As mentioned in the opening Filippo’s exit marks another very significant loss for Apple in the field of high-profile engineers: it’s a few days ago the news of the farewell of Jeff Wilcox who left the House of Cupertino to return to Intel and oversee the design of new System-on-a-Chip (SoC) of the company of Santa Clara.