Apple is renting a 22,500 square-foot office in St Albans, a “stone’s throw” from Imagination’s headquarters, where it plans to use the office to develop its own graphics technology as it ditches Imagination, reports the Telegraph.
This has led to fears that it will poach talent from the British company. And it will certainly increase tensions between the feuding firms.
Imagination disclosed in April a warning from Apple that it would cease to be a customer within two years, ending its royalty payments. However, the Cupertino, California-based company tells Bloomberg that it first issued a warning in 2015.
“We began working with Imagination in 2007 and stopped accepting new IP from them in 2015. After lengthy discussions we advised them on February 9 that we expected to wind down our licensing agreement since we need unique and differentiating IP for our products,” Apple said. “We valued our past relationship and wanted to give them as much notice as possible to adapt their future plans.”
Apple also pooh-poohed Imagination’s claim that it would be impossible to create its own GPU chips without infringing upon its patents. The iPhone/Mac maker is working on its own custom graphics architecture to control more of the core technology, in the same way that it already architects custom CPU silicon designs. 9to5Mac says this suggests that Apple will be using a custom GPU stack in the Apple A12 chip.
Apple accounts for half of the London-listed company’s revenues. Imagination’s shares slump when the news emerged, and the company put itself up for sale last month.
In December 2008 Apple picked up a 3.6% stake in Imagination Technologies. There were rumors that Apple would buy the company. It never happened, but several Imagination Technologies’ employees have gone to work at Apple, including the company’s former chief operating officer, John Metcalfe, and engineers Dave Roberts, Jonathan Redshaw, Simon Nield, and Benjamin Bowman.