Apple Hires Former AMD Graphics Expert

Apr 28, 2009 (02:04 PM EDT)

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Apple has hired a former CTO from Advanced Micro Devices' graphics unit, fueling speculation that the computer maker may be expanding its work on the graphics technology within the iPod Touch and iPhone.

According to his Linkedin profile, Bob Drebin has been hired as a senior director at Apple. Drebin was CTO of the Graphics Products Group within the ATI unit at AMD. AMD bought ATI Technologies in 2006. Drebin was an engineering director and fellow at ATI.

AMD's graphics works once extended beyond the PC and into mobile devices. However, the chipmaker, which has suffered a string of quarterly losses in competing against Intel, sold the graphics and multimedia assets from AMD's mobile division to Qualcomm for $65 million.

As a matter of company policy, Apple does not discuss future products. Drebin's hire, as well as other recent moves by the company, could indicate that Apple is expanding its role in the development of graphics technology for its products.

Apple a year ago bought PA Semi, a maker of low-power processors that could work in the iPhone or iPod Touch. The fabless chip-design company is known for taking the PowerPC architecture and adapting it for embedded markets.

Last December, Apple bought a stake in Imagination Technologies Group, a U.K. company that makes semiconductors for mobile phones and other consumer electronics. Apple is a licensee of Imagination's technology, which is expected to play a bigger role in Apple products as a result of the investment.

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