Google buys mysterious firm run by former Apple employees

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    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!
  • Reply 2 of 49
    ouraganouragan Posts: 417member
    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.





  • Reply 3 of 49
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    Google has been buying a new company every day for the past six months. Their lack of direction reminds me of MS circa 2000.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    bitmanbitman Posts: 13member
    Maybe it's WebTV.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    ivladivlad Posts: 739member
    I think they are ex-employees of those companies for a reason.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    worst. logo. ever.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


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



    Good one.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    Google is evolving into Microsoft! (evil laugh)
  • Reply 12 of 49
    GoogleTV, obvi...



    or gTV
  • Reply 13 of 49
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,323member
    If it's just server technology, then forget it, it has nothing to do with Apple.
  • Reply 15 of 49
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Good For Them Because True Competition Is Better For Everyone -
  • Reply 16 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,323member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


    Good For Them Because True Competition Is Better For Everyone -



    No argument there.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    bedouinbedouin Posts: 331member
    Would be creators of hardware for a theoretical netbook and/or mini-desktop running Google OS?
  • Reply 18 of 49
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,131member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,593member
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 49
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    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.
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