Jim Mergard, a 16-year veteran of chip maker AMD, has left his position at Samsung for a job at Apple. Mergard was formerly a vice president and chief engineer at AMD before he left for Samsung, and he is known for his work on both desktop processors as well as systems on chips, or SoCs, like those found in iOS devices. Processor design is of great importance for both Apple and Samsung, as the The Wall Street Journal reports:

Chip design seems to be increasingly important to both companies. Samsung, while better known for memory technology, has vowed to become a more formidable contender in developing microprocessors and related products. Apple also has been staffing up for several years with chip designers to help differentiate its mobile devices. Both use technology from ARM Holdings in their mobile processors.

While it’s true that the iPhone 4, 4S, and all three generations of iPad run ARM hardware, with the iPhone 5, Apple introduced the A6, a completely custom processor. If Apple continues to design its own chips, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t, acquiring veteran talent such as Mergard, is a crucial. The hiring comes at an interesting point in Apple and Samsung’s relationship. The two companies are already rivals, they are suing each other back and forth, and at the same time, Apple depends on Samsung to produce the chips for their iOS devices. Luring such an important and high profile person away from Samsung will undoubtedly intensify the rivalry, which only seems to increase with each new product either company produces.

Source: The Wall Street Journal