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Google buys mysterious firm run by former Apple employees

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Google's window-shopping for high-tech acquisitions has reportedly netted the search giant yet another asset -- a little-known firm spearheaded by former Apple employees who are working on technology no one knows about.

Thomson Reuters' PEHub reports that Google recently acquired Agnilux, a San Jose-based startup comprised of former Apple employees, including several former P.A. Semi employees who parted ways with Apple shortly after the iPhone maker absorbed the fables chip design firm for $278 million roughly two years ago.

Among them are Mark Hayter, Olof Johansson, Todd Broch, and Dan Dobberpuhl -- P.A. semi's founder and chief executive, who is believed to be the most recent departure from Apple. Others have reportedly come from both TiVo and Cisco, the latter of which was one of three companies including Microsoft and Texas Instruments that previously held strategic investment talks with Agnilux.

What makes the acquisition so intriguing is that there's little to no information in the public domain as to what Agnilux has been working on, why Google wanted it, and what it plans to do with it now that it has it.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the acquisition but declined further details. Meanwhile, Agnilux's website -- which never bore anything more than a street address for the firm and the meaning behind its name -- was taken offline sometime in the past week.

While it may seem logical to suggest Agnilux, due to its P.A. Semi heritage, has been developing chip technology that could better position Google to compete against Apple in the mobile space, a less-than-fruitful investigation into the company by the New York Times earlier this year may hint towards another cause.

According to the paper, the folks at Agnilux are just as tight-lipped as the company they defected from. “We want to make a splash," Hayter said when interviewed in February. "We don’t want our manufacturer to take our intellectual property before we’re ready."

However, an unnamed Agnilux employee later told the Times that the company is actually "working on some kind of server, and that the company has a partnership in place with Cisco." Such technology could prove beneficial to Google, which operates hundreds of thousands of servers, all of which are built in-house by its own engineers instead of purchased from suppliers like Dell or IBM.

For what it's worth, the name Agnilux is derived from agni - Sanskrit for fire and lux - Latin for light.
post #2 of 50
This is turning into a joke.

These ex-P.A. Semi guys can probably show up at Shoreline Billiards, shoot a couple of games while making offhand remarks about their latest "design" and get bought out six months later, doing little more than puttering around with some CAD program on the next generation low-power CPU (ARM, MIPS, whatever).

Congratulations, guys! Mountain View has plenty of vacant commercial real estate that is ready for your next startup!
post #3 of 50
Quote:
However, an unnamed Agnilux employee later told the Times that the company is actually "working on some kind of server, and that the company has a partnership in place with Cisco." Such technology could prove beneficial to Google, which operates hundreds of thousands of servers, all of which are built in-house by its own engineers instead of purchased from suppliers like Dell or IBM.

For what it's worth, the name Agnilux is derived from agni - Sanskrit for fire and lux - Latin for light.


How about a new fibre-wire communication protocol to speed up communications? This would definitely be useful to a number of innovative companies. The chosen name is so close to FireWire as to suggest more than a coincidence.


post #4 of 50
Google has been buying a new company every day for the past six months. Their lack of direction reminds me of MS circa 2000.
post #5 of 50
Maybe it's WebTV.
post #6 of 50
Uhhhhhhhhhh, let me guess. It's uhhhhhhhhhh, a set top box or a Google TV.

Let me guess more. The Apple TV wasn't going anywhere so Apple employees left and genius Google snapped them up.

If you want something really entertaining, watch dork pizza face Eric Schmidt (Bill Gates II) take the stage at the MacWorld 2007 keynote on Apple's site.
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Thomson Reuters' PEHub reports that Google recently acquired Agnilux, a San Jose-based startup comprised of former Apple employees,

Unless Angilux was found in a San Jose bar I don't care.
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post #8 of 50
I think they are ex-employees of those companies for a reason.
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post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Google has been buying a new company every day for the past six months. Their lack of direction reminds me of MS circa 2000.

Late 1990s I was thinking, but yes -- if it moves, buy it. If it doesn't move, imagine it could, and buy it.
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post #10 of 50
worst. logo. ever.
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Unless Angilux was found in a San Jose bar I don't care.

Good one.
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post #12 of 50
Google is evolving into Microsoft! (evil laugh)
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post #13 of 50
GoogleTV, obvi...

or gTV
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post #14 of 50
Palm is run and developed by a bunch of ex-Apple employee's also... how's that working out for them!? \

Unless they are still carrying an active Apple employee ID card I don't think it matters much.
post #15 of 50
If it's just server technology, then forget it, it has nothing to do with Apple.
post #16 of 50
Good For Them Because True Competition Is Better For Everyone -
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Good For Them Because True Competition Is Better For Everyone -

No argument there.
post #18 of 50
Would be creators of hardware for a theoretical netbook and/or mini-desktop running Google OS?
post #19 of 50
I'm surprised but not worried. It appears that the PA Semi acquisition may have been as much about IP as it was about talent.

Still waiting to find out about Apple & Intrinsity.

Dobberpuhl & others are supposed to be " startup guys" so we'll see how long they stick around.
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post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Unless Angilux was found in a San Jose bar I don't care.

Wouldn't that be theft of intellectual property?
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post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I'm surprised but not worried. It appears that the PA Semi acquisition may have been as much about IP as it was about talent.

Still waiting to find out about Apple & Intrinsity.

Dobberpuhl & others are supposed to be " startup guys" so we'll see how long they stick around.

My guess is that Dobberpuhl and his gang packed up their stuff and left before the ink was dry on the contract.

They've had enough practice, they should be able to clean out their cubicles in 15-20 minutes, tops. Heck, half the guys probably never unpacked from their last company. They probably grabbed their move boxes and told their pals that they see them at happy hour.
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

My guess is that Dobberpuhl and his gang packed up their stuff and left before the ink was dry on the contract.

They've had enough practice, they should be able to clean out their cubicles in 15-20 minutes, tops. Heck, half the guys probably never unpacked from their last company. They probably grabbed their move boxes and told their pals that they see them at happy hour.

Apparently, they weren't happy with the stock options.
post #23 of 50
Those dirty scumbags are guaranteed to be up to no good (google).
post #24 of 50
Teleportation technology!
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post #25 of 50
Fire=speed / light=TV So a home server networked Internet TV.
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post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitman View Post

Maybe it's WebTV.

or maybe g_KTV )))
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post #27 of 50
Or more than likely an iPad rip off.
post #28 of 50
Interesting stuff... what will google do with this new toy?

I appreciate the name break down by AppleInsider.

Foreign languages...I think Firelight would have been a cooler name.

"Come on baby lux my agni" just doesn't have the same ring...

Could be new connection technology to compete with Intel's light-cable or whatever it's called.
post #29 of 50
Never has an AppleInsider article with so little information garnered so much attention from posters who have so little to say.

Any mention of the terrible compensation package the PA folks received from Apple?
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post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Google has been buying a new company every day for the past six months. Their lack of direction reminds me of MS circa 2000.

But if this has to do with servers, then this actually would be one of the few things that Google has done that makes sense. But otherwise I agree about the lack of direction. Google reminds me of a gifted kid with ADD. Very smart, can't finish anything, easily distracted. Maybe Apple should put out rumors that they are planning a new line of garage door openers just to confuse and distract google. I'm sure there's somebody inside google who has been itching to design a quasi-open source operating system for garage door openers that also projects ads onto the back wall of the garage.
post #31 of 50
Which they knew all about thanks to being on Apple's board no doubt.
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post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tofino View Post

worst. logo. ever.

Have to agree - it's like a early 90's design
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post #33 of 50
I can exclusively reveal they are working on fire and light.
post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Never has an AppleInsider article with so little information garnered so much attention from posters who have so little to say.

Any mention of the terrible compensation package the PA folks received from Apple?

I have to respect your comment from such a long time member of AI but this is a fun rumor blog for Apple enthusiasts and joking around is part of the fun. We all get serious now and then too and all have to deal with the anti Apple trolls trying to ruin the blog. So when there is the occasional post that has little information having a few jokes is totally ok IMHO. Your point could be a topic but it isn't in this thread so why hi-Jack his one, get that one started so we can all pitch in
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post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Late 1990s I was thinking, but yes -- if it moves, buy it. If it doesn't move, imagine it could, and buy it.

Mmmmm I wonder... Dot com boom 2 coming? I missed out having the sense to sell then, don't want to miss out if it happens again. My wife sold a house back then to a guy with 9 million he'd got from selling his company and he never stopped bragging. He even started a 'how to get rich' organization based on his expertise in such things. I met him and asked what his company did prior to being bought, turns out they made FileMaker databases ... That's it! I wasn't sure whether to laugh or throw up.

So, I'd add 'if it doesn't exist, imagine it and sell it'.
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post #36 of 50
"Agnilux is derived from agni - Sanskrit for fire and lux - Latin for light."

Fire.... hot, burns. Light... fast, illuminates.

I think they were working on something laser related. Mini-laser projector for cell phones, or something like Light Peak, maybe chip-to-chip comms, or a pure laser based CPU!

If Google grabbed them then it may be useful in data centers, or related to Google's high speed Internet plans.

- Jasen.

P.S. AAPL pushing $260!!!
post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

I think they are ex-employees of those companies for a reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

This is turning into a joke.

These ex-P.A. Semi guys can probably show up at Shoreline Billiards, shoot a couple of games while making offhand remarks about their latest "design" and get bought out six months later, doing little more than puttering around with some CAD program on the next generation low-power CPU (ARM, MIPS, whatever).

Congratulations, guys! Mountain View has plenty of vacant commercial real estate that is ready for your next startup!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Uhhhhhhhhhh, let me guess. It's uhhhhhhhhhh, a set top box or a Google TV.

Let me guess more. The Apple TV wasn't going anywhere so Apple employees left and genius Google snapped them up.

If you want something really entertaining, watch dork pizza face Eric Schmidt (Bill Gates II) take the stage at the MacWorld 2007 keynote on Apple's site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tofino View Post

worst. logo. ever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_arts View Post

Google is evolving into Microsoft! (evil laugh)

Hey don't be a Hayter!
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post #38 of 50
So, I guess if we all read AND remembered previous AI articles (go ahead, check out past articles) that this was covered earlier on right here in these very articles stacks - that the head of Marketing for PASemi, spun off and created AgniLux with other former PASemi officers - which, again according to the previous AI articles, is pursuing development of server solutions and a partnership with Cisco for next gen systems for them. As was previously speculated here, this meant that Apple was MOST interested in acquiring the PASemi intellectual property. This they did. If the acquisition went as most do, key players came on board with Apple to finalize the transfer of IP and direct future implementation and the rest go off to do other stuff (like AgniLux). For example with Dobberpuhl having founded and developed PASemi and been the recipient of the largest bit of cash coming from Apple for it, at 65 he is well-positioned to leave Apple after the transition and retire or pursue pet projects as he feels so inclined.

The rest may find homes in Apple, or leave and do other stuff as well. It's a win-win for Apple regardless of what they do, even with Google picking up AgniLux. So for the record AI if you go back and look at the key player s at AgniLux, MOST of them are former PASemi employees, NOT former Apple employees. Really, is the issue here abjectly poor short-term memory or what??

post #39 of 50
For a split-second there I thought it was Palm.
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Mmmmm I wonder... Dot com boom 2 coming? I missed out having the sense to sell then, don't want to miss out if it happens again. My wife sold a house back then to a guy with 9 million he'd got from selling his company and he never stopped bragging. He even started a 'how to get rich' organization based on his expertise in such things. I met him and asked what his company did prior to being bought, turns out they made FileMaker databases ... That's it! I wasn't sure whether to laugh or throw up.

So, I'd add 'if it doesn't exist, imagine it and sell it'.

You could try laughing and throwing up at the same time. It's quite a sensation, but I can't recommend it.

I don't think we're going through the same kind of speculative madness that presaged the dot-com bust. But I think we are seeing Google emulating Microsoft's plunge into unfocused acquisitiveness during the mid-to-late '90s, to a remarkable degree. At that time Microsoft seemed to have no other program than to bet on every horse running. Some of the bets they were placing were actually kind of scary at the time, e.g., buying into TV cable companies around the world. It looked like they might succeed in dominating the content delivery system in the way they already dominated everything else. It didn't work out.

With that lesson in mind, I'm not worried about Google in the same way I once worried about Microsoft. They are already sowing the seeds of their own incapacity, just as Microsoft did.
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