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Apple Graphics Chip Designer Heading to AMD

AMD has confirmed that it has hired on Raja Koduri, a former director of graphics architecture at Apple. He will be rejoining AMD after leaving the company four years ago, and will assume a role in AMD's graphics business as corporate vice president, Visual Computing. He will be reporting to Mark Papermaster.

“Maintaining AMD’s position as a leader in visual computing is the key to our long-term success. As one of the industry’s foremost experts in developing leading-edge visual computing solutions, Raja brings exceptional vision and strength to AMD’s world-class engineering leadership team,” said Papermaster. “Given his past record of success, Raja will help AMD lead the way in visual and accelerated computing and ensure we continue developing the industry-leading graphics IP that forms the foundation for our future growth.”

Koduri began his career serving as Director and Engineering Manager at S3 Inc., and then moved on to ATI Technologies as the Director of Advanced Technology Development in 2001. Naturally he was assimilated into the AMD collective when the company acquired ATI in 2006, and eventually moved up the corporate ladder as the chip giant's Chief Technology Officer of the Graphics Product Group before leaving in 2009.

Apple reportedly hired Koduri as part of the company’s push to build up its own chip operations. Rather than rely on partners like Intel to design SoC's for its tablets and smartphones, the company began creating its own chips.

After departing Apple earlier this year, Koduri served as Technical Advisor to the Board of Directors at Makuta VFX. This company is described as "a fully-fledged visual effects facility covering a full gamut of requirements from active on-set visual effects supervision through to immersive digital set extension, digital matte painting, high-end feature animation and effects work, clean-up, motion tracking and final compositing."

AMD and Apple have seemingly been tossing executives back and forth over the past few years. In August 2012, AMD named Jim Keller as its Corporate Vice President and Chief Microprocessor Architect. He previously served as a director in Apple's platform architecture group, and even worked for AMD prior to that. Keller now reports to former Apple hardware chief Mark Papermaster. The previous hardware chief was John Bruno who left AMD for Apple.

According to the report, AMD had courted Koduri for some time, wanting him to return to the company. Koduri and Keller efforts at Apple complimented each other, and will likely continue with both under the same AMD roof. Their expertise will reportedly help accelerate AMD's System-On-A-Chip strategy of cramming all the features it can onto a single central chip.

AMD reported a narrower first-quarter loss on Thursday, but its revenue dropped a huge 31-percent in a year-over-year comparison. To combat the slump in sales, the company has laid off a large portion of its staff and restructured its relationship with Globalfoundries. However in its report the company highlighted the announcement of Sony's APU-powered PlayStation 4, the Never Settle: Reloaded program, Radeon Sky Graphics, among others.