A former Apple executive in charge of the development of iPhone chips said today that Apple viewed his confidential text messages before suing him for starting the company. Gerard Williams III left Apple in February, and that same month founded Nuvia with several other former Apple developers.
Williams previously served as the “chief architect” of all Apple mobile device chips. His new company, Nuvia, develops processors used in data centers. In November, Nuvia pulled out of The Secret Mode and announced a $53million capital raising.
Apple sued Williams in August for breach of contract, saying he was subject to an intellectual property agreement and could not plan or participate in any business that was “directly related to Apple’s business or products.”
In response, Williams accused Apple of hacking into privacy in a shocking and disturbing way by monitoring its text messages. In a text message, he said Apple had no choice but to buy his new company.
“According to Apple’s logic, if an Apple employee speaks to another employee or sends a text message to express criticism of Apple’s strategy or decision, the discussion is said to be considered an illegal ‘instigation’ to persuade people to leave the company.” Williams said in the lawsuit.
In recent years, Apple has used privacy features to promote its devices and services, and has criticized other companies such as Google and Facebook for using too much personal data.
In a complaint filed in the San Jose county courthouse, Apple said Williams criticized Apple in a text message that he was encouraging his colleagues to leave Apple and join Nuvia. Apple also said Williams was “planning and preparing” Nuvia when he was still with the company, using the knowledge he had accumulated during his nearly 10 years at the company to develop the technology that was then used by Nuvia.
Apple said that while its public efforts to develop mobile chips did not appear to immediately compete with Nuvia, the company was “considering designing or customizing servers” and had developed key server-related technologies to optimize servers for autonomous operations and development.
The lawsuit will be heard on January 21. At that point, Williams will try to get the judge to dismiss Apple’s lawsuit. He and his lawyer sit in the case of Apple, which is “desperately trying to prevent the legal employment of a former employee.”