Google Is Bolstering In-House Chip Design By Poaching Qualcomm, Intel, NVIDIA Engineers

One way to cut costs and increase margins is to design as much technology as possible in-house for the products you sell. This fact is not lost on Google. Over the past several months, Google has hired a bunch of chip engineers in Bengaluru, India, including ones who have previously worked for companies like Broadcom, Intel, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm.

This is not an entirely new venture for Google. The company has been designing semiconductors for the past five years, primarily for its data centers, but also image processing chips for its Pixel family of smartphones. It is not clear if the unannounced Bengaluru site will be an extension of those product lines, or if Google plans on expanding its chip making efforts into other product categories.

Tirias Research analyst Jim McGregor told Reuters that traditional chip makers have long zeroed in on Bengaluru, and so it is not surprising that relative newcomers to the field have started looking for experts in the area.

"Everyone tries to keep things close to home when starting out, but when you reach a certain level of success you have to expand out," McGregor said.

That is exactly what Google is doing, according to various job postings and updated LinkedIn profiles. In the past few months, Google has hired no less than 16 experienced engineers and four talent recruiters for its gChips division, all poached from the aforementioned companies.

One example is Rajat Bhargava, Google's silicon site lead in Bengaluru. According to Bhargava's LinkedIn profile, he previously spent nearly 10 years each at Broadcom and Cisco, and more recently one and a half years at Intel before joining Google.

"Google's Consumer Hardware Silicon division (gChips) builds chips (SoCs and ASICs) optimized for Google-branded consumer devices. Our product areas include imaging, machine learning, video, and security," his profile states. "We are currently hiring in Bangalore across all parts of the development process including: architecture evaluation and definition, microarchitecture, RTL, verification, emulation/prototyping, DFT, physical design and silicon validation. We aim to build the best in class team with top notch talent resonating Google culture of innovation and fun."

This is not surprising, given that Google is a player in various hardware sectors. Obviously the company has a big need for data centers, but it also builds and sells smart speakers, smartphones, laptops, routers,  Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and so forth.

Apple is doing the same thing as it looks to decrease its dependency on third-party companies and increase margins on its increasingly pricier iPhone lineup. So is Facebook, which owns Oculus, the development company responsible for the Rift.

It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out in the years to come, especially since there is only so much top talent to go around.