Google Buys Agnilux, Founded by Former Apple Employees

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-04-21

Google has quietly purchased a stealth company founded by former Apple employees called Agnilux, the search engine confirmed for eWEEK April 20.

Agnilux allegedly makes a server chip, but no one has been able to confirm this and the Website is bare aside from some @symbols and shadow figures of office workers.

The acquisition was first detected by PEHub, which said the company held talks with companies like Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Texas Instruments about a strategic investment before landing with Google.

Agnilux was scarcely a blip on the radar, but The New York Times provided a rough sketch of the startup in February as part of a profile on Apple's A4 chip, the processing engine behind the ballyhooed iPad.

It seems the A4, designed to process large volumes of data while consuming little power, was developed by engineers who joined Apple in the computer maker's $278 million purchase of PA Semi in 2008.

Some of the engineers would later leave Apple to form Agnilux, including Agnilux CEO Amarjit Gill and Chief Operating Officer Mark Hayter. Engineers Olof Johansson and Todd Broch joined them. The Times said some of these PA Semi workers were upset about the grant price on their Apple stock options.

It's time to connect the dots of what Agnilux might mean for Google. Though the PA Semi engineers-turned-Agnilux creators only spent a short time at Apple, Google would now have access to some degree of inside information on how Apple's hardware processing works.

Perhaps Agnilux has made a technological breakthrough in server processing, something major along the lines of what PeakStream provided for Google when the company acquired it to boost its application processing.

It could be that Google will take the chip work Agnilux has done and use it as the processing engine for a possible tablet. Remember, these Agnilux engineers did make the A4 powering the iPad and possibly the forthcoming iPhone 4 chip.

There are a lot of unknowns here; Google told eWEEK, "We don't have any additional information to share right now."

All the more reason this development bears watching, as Google continues to snap up companies with fervor and do battle with Apple, now its chief rival in the mobile computing sector.

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