Facebook is reportedly planning it make its own chips, in a bid to lower dependence on chipmakers like Intel and Qualcomm, according to a report by Bloomberg. The report cites job listings and internal sources to corroborate the claim.
The Menlo Park giant is seeking to hire a manager for a team to build “end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organisation,” and has listed the job offering on its corporate website. While it seems the initiative is still in its early stages, Facebook joins a growing number of tech companies moving to make their own semiconductors to lower dependence on the chip-making giants like Intel and Qualcomm. Apple too started making its own chips for iPhones and iPads from 2010 while Google has developed its own AI chips for the Pixel 2 phones.
Facebook’s AI researcher Yann LeCunn also tweeted seeking candidates interested in designing chips for AI.
Facebook too could use its own chips to power the hardware devices that are in the pipeline, as indicated by the company in the F8 Conferences over the years. Furthermore, the chips could be used to power its data centers. The company is all set to launch the Oculus Go, a standalone VR headset developed by Xiaomi that runs on a Qualcomm chipset. The social-media company is also working on a range of smart speakers which could be made better with its own dedicated chips. Facebook will likely more granular control over its product development and optimise the hardware and software better with its own chips.
The job listing indicates Facebook is planning to build both SoCs and ASICs. While SoCs or Sytem on Chip are chips that contain multiple discrete components built into one piece of silicon, ASICs or applications specific integrated circuits are designed for a narrow purpose which work the best when running a particular piece of software.