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Google Buys Startup Founded By Ex-Apple Designers

In a move that could strengthen its alleged tablet rival to the Apple iPad, Google has quietly purchased Agnilux, which was founded by former Apple employees

Google has confirmed to eWEEK that it has quietly purchased a stealth company founded by former Apple employees called Agnilux.

Agnilux allegedly makes a server chip, but no one has been able to confirm this and the website is bare beside some @symbols and shadow office workers.

The acquisition was first detected by PE Hub, which said the company held talks with companies like Cisco, Microsoft and Texas Instruments for a strategic investment before landing with Google.

Agnilux was scarcely a blip on the radar, but the New York Times provided a rough sketch of the startup in February as part of a profile on Apple’s A4 chip, the processing engine behind the ballyhooed iPad.

It seems the A4, designed to process large volumes of data while consuming little power, was developed by engineers that joined Apple in the computer maker’s $278 million (£181 million) purchase of P.A. Semi in 2008.

Some of the engineers would later leave Apple to form Agnilux, including Agnilux CEO Amarjeet Gill, COO Mark Hayter. Engineers Olof Johansson and Todd Broch joined them. The Times said some of these PA Semi workers were upset about the grant price on their Apple stock options.

It’s time to connect the dots of what Agnilux might mean for Google. Though the PA Semi engineers-turned-Agnliux creators only spent a short time at Apple, Google would now have access to some degree of inside information into how Apple’s hardware processing works.

Perhaps Agnliux has made a technological breakthrough in server processing, something major along the lines of what PeakStream provided for Google when the company acquired it to boost application processing.

It could be that Google will take the alleged server chip work Agnilux has done and use it as the processing engine for its alleged tablet. Remember, these Agnilux engineers did make the A4 powering the iPad and possibly the forthcoming iPhone 4 chip.

There are a lot of unknowns here; Google told eWEEK “we don’t have any additional information to share right now.”

All the more reason this development bears watching, as Google continues to snap up vendors with fervour and do battle with Apple, now its chief rival in the mobile computing sector.

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