Qualcomm data centre tech veep jumps ship

Whither the Centriq now?

Qualcomm's veep of data centre technologies, Dileep Bhandarkar, has left the company, it appears.

Bhandarkar was responsible for developing next-gen server-grade processors at Qualcomm. He joined the chipmaker just over five years ago from Microsoft's Global Foundation Services division, where he worked on cloud server hardware and infrastructure.

He previously worked at DEC and Intel, from the late 1970s to mid-2000s, in various high-level roles developing and steering the architecture of VAX, MIPS, and x86 processors.

Bhandarkar's apparent departure from Qualcomm came to light thanks to a semiconductor conference webpage, which billed him as being "formerly from Qualcomm".

As the chief techie of Qualcomm Data Centre Technologies unit, Bhandarkar was one of the leading lights driving its flagship Centriq server CPU, an Arm-based 48-core 10nm chip that had excited cautious support from cloudy big dogs such as Google, Microsoft and Cloudflare.

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With the tech veep seemingly out the door – Qualcomm had not responded to a request for comment by the time of writing – questions now hang over Qualy's plans for the Centriq chip. Pitched as an alternative to Intel's massive dominance in the x86 server CPU market, the departures of both Bhandarkar and his boss, Anand Chandrasekher, will leave potential customers wondering whether Qualcomm is truly committed to its data center chipset family – despite earlier shifting most of its Snapdragon chip designers to its server CPU business.

Even if the Centriq proves to be little more than a negotiating tactic for companies wanting to prise Intel's claws out of their wallets, a credible competitor suffering from senior leaders either walking or being pushed helps nobody in the market.

In April, Qualcomm revealed plans to lay off 1,200 workers in California, USA. Meanwhile, Centriq may live on in cloud servers for a select few customers, rather than emerge as a general purpose product.

A Linkedin account in Bhandarkar's name gives his current post as "Colourful Curmudgeon at Dileep Neural Networks". ®




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