Another day, another high-profile talent acquisition for Intel - this time, at the expense of the world's first trillion-dollar company, Apple. Jeff Wilcox, Apple's Director of Mac System Architecture announced on LinkedIn that he's leaving the company in favor of a new role at Intel. He'll serves in a leadership role as Intel Fellow and CTO of the Design Engineering Group with a focus on Client SoC Architecture. Wilcox is now the man in charge of SoC architecture design across all Intel client segments.
During his previous eight years as Director of Mac Systems Architecture at Apple, Jeff Wilcox oversaw system architecture, signal integrity and power integrity for Mac systems, and was instrumental in leading the transition to Apple Silicon beginning with the M1 chip. His new role at Intel feels like a continuation of that road.
This isn't the first time Wilcox has worked for Intel; in fact, his professional journey in the semiconductor industry has seen him work at the blue giant for a cumulative 12 years already, besides a year-and-a-half stint at Nvidia. Before joining Apple eight years ago, Jeff Wilcox worked for Intel from 2010 through 2013 as a power management architect for the chipset program of Intel's Atom processors. If anything, his work in decoupling Apple from its Intel x86 dependence shows that he's not too concerned with merely upholding the status quo, so long as innovation is possible.
This latest Intel hire is but one of many that the company has embarked upon since CEO Pat Gelsinger took the reins at the company. Under the Intel chief's guidance, the company has made multiple hires from competitors AMD, Nvidia and Apple, with particular focus on the graphics segment as it gears up for launch of its Xe high performance graphics architecture. At the same time, Intel has boosted its compensation structure with a $2.4 billion investment focused on attracting new talent.
Considering Intel's transition to a SoC architecture that's so close to Arm's Big.Little design bias (somewhat mirrored in Intel's latest 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs with their Performance and Efficiency cores), the hiring of Wilcox points towards a doubling-down on an ever tighter integration of technologies into SoC designs. Considering the architecture and development of Apple's M1 chip and its subsequent evolutions (the M1 Pro and M1 Max), it'll be interesting to see in which direction Intel's SoC development funnels towards.