Apple is suing the former lead of its A-series chip development Gerard Williams III for breach of his employment contract. Williams led the development of almost all of Apple’s custom chips starting from the A7 found inside the iPhone 5s to the A12X that powers the iPhone XS/iPad Pro.
In turn, Williams has also sued Apple for illegally monitoring his text messages. He also says that Apple’s employment contract is not enforceable under the California law.
Gerard left Apple in March and started his own company Nuvia Inc in the same month. He also managed to poach a lot of Apple employees to his new startup which has already received $53 million in funding. The startup is aimed at creating chips for use in servers.
Apple sued Williams for breach of his employment contract in August which prevented him from indulging in any business activity that would compete with or “would be directly related to Apple’s business or products.” In his counter attack, Williams sued Apple over “stunning and disquieting invasion of privacy.” In 2018, Williams sent text messages to his colleagues at Apple saying the company would have “no choice” but to acquire his startup.
In “Apple’s theory, if one Apple employee speaks to (or texts) another employee conveying criticisms of Apple’s strategies or decisions, that discussion is itself a purportedly unlawful ‘solicitation’ to leave Apple,” he said in a filing.
Apple says in its suit that Williams encouraged his co-workers at Apple to leave the company and join Nuvia. He also started working on Nuvia while working at Apple and used his knowledge and expertise to work on technologies for his startup. The company further adds that it has developed a number of technologies to optimize the performance of its own servers and development work. It has also considered designing or customizing serves for its use cases.
A hearing of the case is scheduled on January 21 where Williams hopes the case is dismissed.[Via Bloomberg, The Register]