Google will be losing at least three engineers specializing in the building of chipset technology, sources have told The Information. That includes John Bruno, Manu Gulati, and Vinod Chamarty. If those names sound familiar, that's because each of the employees in question was a relatively recent hire, brought on from Apple and Qualcomm to lead the companies efforts to build in-house consumer-level chips for use by the search giant.
Details surrounding the impending departures are still slim but the shift has led to some speculation about the future of Google's branded-chip efforts.
Is this going to impact Google?
Mr. Bruno was brought on by Google approximately one and a half years ago to take on a role as a chip system architect, a similar role filled by fellow Apple defector Mr. Gulati. Both engineers still have listed their jobs at Google as their current employment, suggesting that the situation between the company and workers here isn't hostile — which could be a concern given recent events surrounding the search giant.
Mr. Chamarty filled a similar role after heading over to Google from Qualcomm.
Setting aside their respective roles, the departures are already fueling speculation that Google's hardware division and its in-house consumer chip-making endeavors, in particular, will be directly harmed by this turn of events. More directly, that's with consideration for Google's purported attempts to build mobile-friendly components that would help set its Pixel-branded smartphones and hardware apart from competing devices.
While the departures will almost certainly weaken some of its consumer-level efforts, they aren't necessarily going to cause too much damage. Chip projects typically take years to complete and generally involve a large number of engineers. According to sources close to the matter, those projects are still ongoing with a focus on smaller chipsets for non-mobile hardware. So the loss of three isn't likely to have a major negative impact.
The constant shuffle of silicon valley
Google is said to have chosen not to comment on the departures but did confirm that the departure is imminent without disclosing further details. The Googlers in question haven't publicly provided any reason behind their decision that isn't necessarily surprising. Shuffles in the tech industry are not only common but are practically to be expected, with employees moving between Apple, Google, Qualcomm, Facebook and others with some regularity.
Generally, departures occur on good terms and as new opportunities arise with fresh challenges to be met or to allow a change of pace — and the latter may be the case if Google's efforts have centered around menial projects.
Prior to the latest three departures of engineers from Google, the company also lost another acquisition back in mid-2018 when then Head of Chip Development Shahriar Rabii left for Facebook. Mr. Rabii served at the company for nearly seven years as Senior Director of Engineering and as Director of Engineering before leaving for Facebook.
The short employment term between the hiring and decision to leave is not the usual run of events but isn't unheard of either and Google has also spent a significant amount of time hiring for hardware related positions. So, at present, there doesn't appear to be any evidence that this will be detrimental to the company or to its chip projects.