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Apple targets Qualcomm employees with new job listings

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After dropping Qualcomm from the iPhone

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple and Qualcomm have been in a heated dispute for the last two years, and now Apple is taking another small jab at the company by opening up jobs that seem to be designed to grab employees from the chipmaking giant.

Bloomberg spotted that Apple has opened 10 job listings this month for chipmaking positions in San Diego. That’s where Qualcomm is based, and according to the report, Apple has never searched for chip engineers there before. It also suggests that Apple could be opening up another regional office for chip designers.

Of course, there’s nothing unusual about trying to hire employees from a top-tier rival. It’s an obvious move for Apple, which prides itself on designing many of its own chips, and it’s something the company already does in other locations. Bloomberg points out that Apple has regional offices designed to help it hire employees from Intel, AMD, and others.

But it’s notable that Apple is targeting Qualcomm at the very same time that it’s trying to move away from something Qualcomm does best: modems. Apple completely dropped Qualcomm for its latest iPhones, choosing instead to get modems from Intel. But Intel has always trailed when it comes to modem performance, and, in a recent lawsuit, Qualcomm argues that Apple and Intel have gone to illegal lengths to catch up.

Whether or not that’s true, it speaks to the fact that Apple has good reason to search out Qualcomm’s modem experts. That said, Bloomberg reports seeing job listings focused on a variety of technologies, including LTE and 5G, but also Bluetooth and AI, so this could be more than just a way to boost Apple’s cellular performance.