Facebook Poaches Top Google Chip Guru

Facebook Poaches Top Google Chip Guru
The company is planning to release a range of Facebook-branded hardware devices powered by custom processors.

(CCM) — Facebook has announced to the world that it is serious about building its own hardware by poaching one of Google's top microchip designers, according to a Bloomberg report.

Shahriar Rabii will be Facebook's head of chip development, and he will spearhead the company's plans to build a range of consumer devices powered by proprietary processors. These are likely to include a follow-up to Facebook's Oculus Go standalone virtual reality headset, which is currently powered by a Qualcomm chip, as well as Facebook-branded smart speakers with large touch screens which can also be used for video chats, according to the report.

Facebook may also design its own custom artificial intelligence (AI) chips to help it work with the vast amount of data that it collects about its two billion monthly active users. This could include using AI to spot hate speech, fake accounts, and videos of violent behavior.

Facebook's plans are part of a trend among large technology companies, including Google and Apple, to reduce their reliance on established chip-makers such as Intel and Qualcomm. Apple already uses its own main processors in its iPads and iPhones, and hopes to ship Mac computers with Apple processors instead of Intel ones by 2020, the report says.

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