Future versions of Google’s flagship Pixel smartphone may feature a significant change under the hood if a new report from Variety is accurate.

The publication claims Google has hired Manu Gulati, a veteran chipmaker that has spearheaded Apple’s internal SoC development for nearly eight years. Sources familiar with the hire say he joined Google within the past few weeks – details corroborated on Gulati’s LinkedIn page where he is listed as the lead SOC architect at Google from May 2017.

As Variety correctly highlights, losing Gulati could be a big blow for Apple.

The Cupertino-based company has utilized custom-designed SoCs in its mobile devices since the arrival of the A4 chip in the original iPad in 2010. Developing both hardware and software under one roof has given Apple a significant advantage in terms of overall performance and efficiency and it’s clear that Google and others are now interested in bringing hardware development in-house for the same purposes.

Google is also looking to hire additional chip experts in hopes of further refining future Pixel hardware as evident by recent job postings for positions including Mobile SoC CPU Architect, Hardware Engineer / Mobile SoC Architect and Mobile SoC Memory Architect.

It’s unclear who Apple will be replacing Gulati with. When contacted by the publication, Apple didn’t immediately respond and Google declined to comment.

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