Samsung has hired a semiconductor expert from Apple to bolster its chip tech. According to Business Korea, Kim Woo-pyeong is leaving the Cupertino-based iPhone maker after nine years to join the Korean giant. He will serve as the director of the company’s newly established Packaging Solution Center within the Device Solution America (DSA) division.
Kim has a vast experience in the field of semiconductors. He graduated from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and worked for Texas Instruments and Qualcomm before joining Apple in 2014. During his nine-year reportedly tenure at Apple, Kim worked on the company’s Bionic processors.
Samsung is now looking to utilize Kim’s expertise in semiconductors to develop its chip tech. The company has historically struggled to compete against Qualcomm in chip designing, with the latter’s chipsets always outperforming competing solutions from the former. The Korean firm’s foundry unit has also always played a second fiddle to TSMC due to its inferior fabrication tech.
However, Samsung isn’t giving up, and it’s making some strategic changes to get its chip business on track. It has stopped making custom CPU cores and also integrated the AMD GPU in its Exynos processors. This poaching of a semiconductor expert from arch-rival Apple is another crucial step for the company towards better mobile processors.
There’s not much info available about what would be Kim’s responsibilities as the director of Samsung’s Packaging Solution Center. It appears he will oversee innovations in chip packaging technologies. As we enter the 3nm era (Samsung recently began 3nm mass production), fabrication processes are getting more difficult due to the chip’s tiny physical size. Companies are looking to overcome these limitations with advanced packaging technologies. Samsung seems to have entrusted Kim to do that job for it.
These kinds of movement of personnel between Apple and Samsung are rare
Samsung and Apple are among the biggest tech companies in the world. Their relationship is somewhat unusual in the industry. The former is a supplier of various components to the latter even though they compete directly against each other. As such, there have been numerous bitter moments between the two. They have hit each other with patent infringement lawsuits in the past. Even though the cases have been settled, some Apple executives still hold a grudge against Samsung.
All this makes it incredibly rare for these kinds of hirings between the two. People rarely leave one company for the other. As the new report notes, the last notable switch from Apple to Samsung came in 2012 when Luc Julia, who oversaw the development of Siri, joined the Korean firm.