Computer chip company sues SpaceX

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The competition heats up: A computer chip manufacturer has sued SpaceX, accusing it of stealing both its engineers and the computer chips they were designing.

Broadcom’s co-founder and chief technology officer Henry Samueli met with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in October 2015 in attempts to solidify an agreement, at which time Musk insisted Broadcom keep its “A-team” on the project, according to the complaint.

But even as Samueli and Musk were meeting, other SpaceX representatives were attempting to uncover the identities of the “A-team” engineers working on the Space X project, Broadcom says in its complaint. Five Broadcom engineers – all of whom worked on the SpaceX project – resigned their positions with the company effective March 11, and refused to disclose their new employer, according to the complaint. Broadcom says SpaceX confirmed they hired the five engineers on March 9, saying nothing prevented them from hiring other Broadcom engineers.

For its part, SpaceX says the Broadcom engineers – all named as defendants in Broadcom’s complaint – approached them. “SpaceX did not pursue or lure engineers from Broadcom,” a SpaceX spokesman said. “On the contrary, these engineers reached out to SpaceX anticipating significant layoffs at the Broadcom Irvine location.”

One comment

  • Gealon

    I fail to see a problem here. This is how capitalism works, you offer someone what you would be willing to pay for their services and they, like an adult, either agree or disagree. Clearly these engineers felt they would be better off with SpaceX and as adults, they are allowed to make that choice. Now if Broadcom wants to keep their A team, then they should match SpaceX’s bid. Instead they are running to the nanny state to try and penalize SpaceX for conducting business.

    As for the allegations of steeling chips, I will not speak on as I do not know the facts. If indeed the chips did change hands, then of course they would have to give them back. But the Engineers leaving Broadcom shouldn’t even be in question, they are people and can exercise free will.

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