Gerald Williams III, former Apple engineer who oversaw the development of the A-series chips, has accused Apple of poaching employees from his startup and stifling innovation.
Williams left Apple in early 2019 after working at the company for over nine years. During this tenure, he saw the development of key A-series chips used by Apple inside its iPhones and iPads. Soon after leaving Apple, Williams started his own company called Nuvia Inc which aims at creating chips for use in servers. He even managed to poach some Apple employees and received a funding of $53 million.
This led Apple to sue its former lead engineer for breach of contract. The engineer’s request to dismiss the lawsuit against him was rejected by the court. Now, Williams has countered Apple’s lawsuit by claiming that it is designed to “suffocate the creation of new technologies and solutions by a new business, and to diminish the freedom of entrepreneurs to seek out more fulfilling work.” The engineer added that he has maintained his distance from Apple and its employees after leaving the company. He also claims that one of Apple’s employees, Anand Shimp, sent him a number of documents marked as confidential in April this year. Williams then told Shimpi that this was “inappropriate and unwelcome.”
In his court filing, Williams also says that Apple’s Srouji offered him a six-month paid sabbatical to get him to not leave the company. As a parting gift, Apple gave Williams an iPad engraved with signatures of the company’s top executives.
It is unclear if this legal battle between Apple and Williams will go into trial or not. Even if it does, the final result is a while away.