Apple escalates feud, sets up new UK office on Imagination’s doorstep

“Apple has raised the stakes in its bitter stand-off with Imagination Technologies by opening an office on the British microchip company’s doorstep,” James Titcomb reports for The Telegraph.

“The Silicon Valley giant has planted its flag by renting a 22,500 square-foot office in St Albans, a stone’s throw from Imagination’s headquarters,” Titcomb reports. “It plans to use the office to develop its own graphics technology as it ditches Imagination, leading to fears that it will poach the British company’s most talented staff.”

“The development is set to heighten tensions between the companies, exacerbating fears that Apple is seeking a quasi-takeover of its supplier by hiring its employees and weakening the company’s hand as the two tussle over Apple’s plans to ditch the company,” Titcomb reports. “Apple has hired a string of Imagination employees in recent months including its former chief operating officer John Metcalfe, who have been placed staff at the iPhone giant’s main UK office in London or in California. More than a dozen further job postings on Apple’s website for experts in graphics hardware now advertise for roles in South Hertfordshire.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, the message is crystal clear: Don’t fsck with Apple or you’ll be ground into worthless paste.

SEE ALSO:
Apple fires back at Imagination Tech in contract dispute – July 7, 2017
Imagination Technologies attacks Apple’s homegrown GPU plans – July 5, 2017
Former Apple supplier Imagination Technologies puts itself up for sale – June 22, 2017
Imagination Technology starts dispute process with Apple – May 4, 2017
UBS: Imagination likely to see Apple royalties slashed, then cease altogether – April 19, 2017
It’s getting even tougher to be an Apple supplier – April 19, 2017
Without Apple, Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR has no future – April 10, 2017
Apple steps up homegrown GPU plans with London hiring spree – April 9, 2017
Why Apple’s ditching of Imagination is critical for the future of the iPhone – and maybe even the Mac – April 5, 2017
Apple aims for more control, less cost as it accelerates in chip design – April 5, 2017
Apple could look to buy Imagination Technologies after ditching the chip firm, share price plunge – April 4, 2017
Imagination Technologies’ shares collapse after Apple dumps UK chip designer – April 3, 2017
Apple nabs top talent from iPhone 7 GPU chipmaker Imagination Technologies – October 13, 2016
After failed takeover talks with Apple, Imagination Technologies sells stake to state-owned Chinese company – May 9, 2016
Apple in ‘advanced talks’ to acquire Imagination Technologies for PowerVR GPU – March 22, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

19 Comments

  1. I can only hope that they got greedy and Apple decided to not play ball (or, perhaps more accurately, play hard ball). I’d prefer to see Apple not not out to screw small suppliers on purpose, but only as a last resort. It’s all very sad and probably didn’t have to be this way, but that’s the way it is…

  2. my interpretation is that Apple values the engineers’ work, but they didn’t need the IP anymore, and the Imagination management got greedy. If Apple had bought the company they’d essentially reward the high level managers who didn’t earn a reward. So they prefer to offer new jobs for the engineers.

  3. When over 50% of your company business is to one customer, you had better have a buyout agreement clause in the supply agreement that gives the customer the right to acquire the company on defined terms.

    I can’t count the number of times I have heard of this. The first time was a company in Oakland that made cookware pans for Sears. 80% of their business was to Sears.

    One day the orders stopped. That’s the way it goes.

    1. That’s pretty much what Walmart did to Rubbermaid last decade. In the era of Trump I’m not sure Walmart would get away with that kind of behavior.

  4. Although behaving correctly on the fiduciary front, Apple may be failing on the PR front especially when Imagination presents its case before the jury.

    Here’s the case: First, it poached employees; Then it may be stealing IP, patents, and confo. info.; Now it looks like it’s stalking which I think is a done deaf move.

    Taken together, should it survive two years from now with enough financing, and should it decide to sue, Imagination could very well make a successful case against Apple on the basis of anti-competitive predation. A skilled lawyer can prevail with a simpathetic jury.

      1. On the level of tone deafness, the move sounds petty and vindictive for the already hugely successfull company. But who really knows what’s afoot.

    1. Presumably that’s a US court and jury?

      Under English law, the Competition Commission could be asked to look into the matter but, on merit, Imagination would have a feeble argument given that they virtually slit their own throat.

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