Apple loses lead Apple Silicon designer Jeff Wilcox to Intel

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 6
Apple Silicon leader and T2 security processor developer Jeff Wilcox has left Apple to rejoin Intel and oversee architecture for all Intel System-on-a-Chip (SoC) designs.

Jeff Wilcox (source: LinkedIn)
Jeff Wilcox (source: LinkedIn)


As Apple heads to the end of its self-imposed two-year transition from Intel to its own Apple Silicon, the company has lost the leader of its M1 development team. Jeff Wilcox originally joined Apple from Intel in 2013, and is now returning to that company as it works on introducing new processors.

"After an amazing eight years I have decided to leave Apple and pursue another opportunity," wrote Wilcox on his LinkedIn page. "It has been an incredible ride and I could not be prouder of all we accomplished during my time there, culminating in the Apple Silicon transition with the M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max SOCs and systems. I will dearly miss all of my Apple colleagues and friends."

"I'm pleased to share that I have started a new position as Intel Fellow, Design Engineering Group CTO, Client SoC Architecture at Intel Corporation," he continued. "I could not be more thrilled to be back working with the amazing teams there to help create groundbreaking SOCs. Great things are ahead!"

Wilcox returned to Intel at the start of January 2022. It's not yet known who Apple intends to replace him with as Director, Mac System Architecture.

Nor is it known whether Apple tried to keep Wilcox. Separately, Apple has recently been offering $180,000 bonuses to engineers to prevent them leaving.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    Those 180k would probably be just a months worth of salary at his new job. 
    escargotbloggerblogxyzzy-xxxFred257stompynarwhalStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 66
    So with Intel, he'll be able to rush out a new SOC in about 5-10 years?
    williamlondonsphericwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 66
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,017member
    Ouch. But congratulations to him in his new and expanded role with Intel. 
    xyzzy-xxxGeorgeBMacpatchythepiratenarwhalwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 66
    At Apple he, "I could not be prouder of all we accomplished"
    At Intel he, "
    I could not be more thrilled to be back working with the amazing teams there"
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 66
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,129member
    I wonder if Apple will sue, considering he might leak designs
    williamlondonrob53Beats
  • Reply 6 of 66
    So it took 7 years for Apple to put out M1? Any effort before he joined Apple?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 66
    So it took 7 years for Apple to put out M1? Any effort before he joined Apple?
    Apple acquired P. A. Semi in 2008. I would guess they began their transition efforts at that point or earlier.
    baconstangnarwhalapple_evowatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 66
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,843member
    I wonder if Apple will sue, considering he might leak designs

    Oh please. You can bet any non-disclosure and non-compete agreements were fully vetted through all three legal teams.
    byronldewmecuriousrun8StrangeDaysspliff monkeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 66
    Now that Intel claims that the new i9 is faster than the M1 it will be interesting, how Apple competes in the future.
    Especially when Intel gains access to the 5nm TSMC manufacturing process that Apple currently uses.
    So we will see how much of Apple Silicon speed is due to its design and how much is due to the manufacturing process...
    edited January 6 GeorgeBMacnarwhal
  • Reply 10 of 66
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,768member
    mike1 said:
    I wonder if Apple will sue, considering he might leak designs

    Oh please. You can bet any non-disclosure and non-compete agreements were fully vetted through all three legal teams.
    If he works on similar projects he could definitely be investigated. If Apple didn’t have him sign an enforceable NDA Apple lawyers need to be fired. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 66
    Intel must have slipped him a secret off-shore account for him to come back with all those trade secrets. 
    genovelle9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 66
    chelinchelin Posts: 84member
    Well that’s not how it works in California. Sure you can’t infringe on a patent. But you can’t have an NDA which covers knowledge or experience. That’s the whole reason why Silicone Valley is the way it is.
    muthuk_vanalingamelijahgxyzzy-xxxGeorgeBMacpatchythepirateStrangeDaysspliff monkeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 66
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,129member
    mike1 said:
    I wonder if Apple will sue, considering he might leak designs

    Oh please. You can bet any non-disclosure and non-compete agreements were fully vetted through all three legal teams.
    It happened before, also IBM sued Apple for Papermaster
    xyzzy-xxxpatchythepirate
  • Reply 14 of 66
    techconctechconc Posts: 203member
    dewme said:
    Ouch. But congratulations to him in his new and expanded role with Intel. 
    It's funny when I read comments... not really this one in particular, but the media spins this as if it's a huge loss for Apple, etc.  Not to diminish Mr. Wilcox's contributions, but Apple literally has thousands of chip engineers.  They have over a thousand back when they started making their own chips and that division has only grown in size.  While anyone leaving is a loss for Apple and I'm sure he'll bring back great knowledge to Intel, but in the end, there really isn't anyone that would have a significant impact on Apple's plans.  Maybe if Jonny Sourji left we should pause and take note.  Aside from that, there is no single engineer that leaving would have any real impact on Apple.
    dewmeravnorodomtundraboypatchythepiratenarwhaldope_ahmineh2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 66
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,519member
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Now that Intel claims that the new i9 is faster than the M1 it will be interesting, how Apple competes in the future.
    Especially when Intel gains access to the 5nm TSMC manufacturing process that Apple currently uses.
    So we will see how much of Apple Silicon speed is due to its design and how much is due to the manufacturing process...
    Yeah…14 cores using several times the power of apples 10 cores.

    Let’s see what happens when apple brings out a system with two M1 max chips.
    seanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 66
    ODH3ODH3 Posts: 1member
    I'm amazed that development team members don't have to sign non-compete agreements. That's pretty standard in the industries I've worked in.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 66
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,017member
    techconc said:
    dewme said:
    Ouch. But congratulations to him in his new and expanded role with Intel. 
    It's funny when I read comments... not really this one in particular, but the media spins this as if it's a huge loss for Apple, etc.  Not to diminish Mr. Wilcox's contributions, but Apple literally has thousands of chip engineers.  They have over a thousand back when they started making their own chips and that division has only grown in size.  While anyone leaving is a loss for Apple and I'm sure he'll bring back great knowledge to Intel, but in the end, there really isn't anyone that would have a significant impact on Apple's plans.  Maybe if Jonny Sourji left we should pause and take note.  Aside from that, there is no single engineer that leaving would have any real impact on Apple.

    Thanks for chiming in with a voice-of-reason perspective. I would never fault anyone for moving on to take on a bigger role or to settle into a new job that is a better fit for where they are in their career or family situation. The guy came from Intel, was undoubtedly a major contributor there, took on bigger role at Apple and added tremendous value to Apple in its move to Apple Silicon, and then returned to Intel after several years for an even bigger role to help lead them to their next level. This is not at all atypical for high performers who have a demonstrated track record of getting stuff done. As you move up the chain the number of available opportunities decreases significantly, so if you want to make the move up you have to expand the scope of your search - plain and simple.

    Here's one thing to think about when it comes to Apple's move to control their own destiny at the silicon level - they've broken their dependency on Intel. That's it. There never was a competition between Apple and Intel and there still isn't. The whole notion of playing zero sum game comparisons between Apple and Intel is wholly contrived bluster, inspired in some ways by Intel because they were seriously butt-hurt from losing a big high visibility customer. Apple contributed a little to the discourse by pointing out that the excising of the Intel dependency didn't really cost them anything in terms of performance. They actually came out of the divorce smelling like a rose, albeit with some compatibility thorns like killing Bootcamp and greatly diminished VM support. But in general, the Apple-vs-Intel battle has been needlessly amplified by some tech media pundits and people who get paid to run benchmarks for a living.

    Apple is never going to compete at the SoC level to take away customers from Intel. Apple is unlikely to ever create another deep rooted dependency with Intel that puts them in a compromising position when it comes to their own product features, capabilities, or release schedules. Intel tried its best, but Apple was never Intel's only customer. The Apple Silicon team has only one customer (ignoring internal groups), is totally beholden to that customer's every request (ignoring internal negotiation), and can do pretty much whatever they need to do to optimize their pieces for the products they serve. They don't have to worry about any other customers. They can schedule their investments to align perfectly with the business needs of their sole customer. Apple got everything they wanted, including having their hands on all of the control levers. Problem solved.

    Apple never set out to out-compete Intel because they aren't competing against Intel. The only thing that matters for Apple is what goes into Apple products. Whatever Intel does is no longer relevant to Apple. As long as Apple products are satisfying Apple's customers and helping them get their jobs done, everything is good. If any issues arise, Apple has all of the levers right there at its fingertips to fix the issues itself. Again, problem solved.

    GG1mld53asconosciutobestkeptsecretmichelb76pscooter63maximaranarwhalBombdoemangakatten
  • Reply 18 of 66
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,857member
    Guys like Wilcox can pretty much write their own tickets anywhere they want.  That's an enviable position to be in.

    I wonder if Apple even made an effort to retain him.  Maybe he wanted a bigger title and Intel was prepared to give it to him?  Was it money?  Was it both?  Would be interesting to know the details someday.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 66
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,946member
    Somebody is going to get PAID!   Lol!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 66
    180K bonus is sad for a man of that stature, for that company.
    $10M in stock, at the very least, as a signing bonus.
    Then again, if someone’s not happy, no money can solve it.
    dk49
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