Key Apple Chip Designer Jim Keller Returns to AMD

Wednesday August 1, 2012 7:45 AM PDT by Eric Slivka

AMD today announced the return of Jim Keller, who has spent the past four years as a director in the platform architecture group at Apple after joining the company as part of the 2008 acquisition of P.A. Semi.


Keller, who previously was a key contributor to AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron 64 projects before moving on to positions at other companies, will be returning to the company as corporate vice president and chief architect of AMD’s microprocessor cores. Keller will report to AMD chief technology officer Mark Papermaster, who spent a brief time heading up Apple's iPhone and iPod engineering teams.

“Jim is one of the most widely respected and sought-after innovators in the industry and a very strong addition to our engineering team,” said Papermaster. “He has contributed to processing innovations that have delivered tremendous compute advances for millions of people all over the world, and we expect that his innovative spirit, low-power design expertise, creativity and drive for success will help us shape our future and fuel our growth.”

Keller was most recently a director in the platform architecture group at Apple focusing on mobile products, where he architected several generations of mobile processors, including the chip families found in millions of Apple iPads, iPhones, iPods and Apple TVs. Prior to Apple, Keller was vice president of design for P.A. Semi, a fabless semiconductor design firm specializing in low-power mobile processors that was acquired by Apple in 2008. While there, he led the team responsible for building a powerful networking SoC and its integrated PowerPC processor.

Keller's hiring is being seen as a major victory for AMD, which has been suffering from the loss of a number of executives in recent months. Apple of course has a significant team of designers and engineers working on its chip projects as it seeks to advance its Ax series of ARM-based chips that have become the heart of its iOS devices, but Keller has undoubtedly been a key figure in that effort.

Top Rated Comments

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100 months ago
I think we are going to see continuing AMD development but not for Apple's Macs....IOS devices, on the other and will benefit from AMD in the futire I'm sure...I can't see Apple moving away from the Intel platform in it's range of OSX computers though...It's the R&D curve which is planning in action years in advance of what we can buy now.

I hope AMD do make a recovery though....I built many a machine with the early stuff, and it offered excellent value for money. Kellier's return to the company can only be a good thing, and as pointed out above AMD need him way more than Apple do at the moment.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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100 months ago
I think AMD needs him more at the moment than Apple.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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100 months ago

A director is only as good as those below him, and praise for success usually goes to the ones up top. Sometimes upper management forgets that the "grunts" are the ones that actually get things done (and in my experience often have the ideas, which get credited to higher management).


While true, it usually applies to not so good managers. Good managers know how to keep the good ideas coming, bring the best out of people, and bad managers just steal the credit. A good manager working well with average people can usually outperform a bad manager with suppressed and angry geniuses.

I have no idea what applies here, but wanted to present the other side.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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100 months ago
Bought two 6950's and was pretty happy with them. I just haven't had a reason in age's to buy an AMD CPU, SB i7@4.8 for $250 is pretty dam nice price/performance ratio. More competition is always a good thing though.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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100 months ago
Good, maybe AMD will now have a chance.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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100 months ago
I hate to see good talent leave Apple.

Yet that said, it's what happens behinds the scenes in the workplace that we will never know about.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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