The AI race is speeding up and not even the biggest company in the world, Apple can ignore it. Facing the heat of the moment is Apple’s artificial intelligence (AI) chief, John Giannandrea. The executive faces a tough challenge as his team struggles to keep pace with rivals like OpenAI, Google and Microsoft. The team, responsible for developing Siri and other AI and machine learning efforts, is said to be engulfed in turf battles that are hampering their progress. At the center of this entire AI battle is the race to hire the right talent.

A report by The Information claims that three key engineers, Srinivasan Venkatachary, Steven Baker, and Anand Shukla are a hot commodity for both Google and Apple. The trio helped modernize Apple’s search technology but left the iPhone maker to work on large-language models (LLMs) at Google. Two of these three engineers were pass-outs of IIT.

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Venkatachary who is currently the VP of Engineering, AI Product expansion in Google completed his B. Tech in Computer Science from IIT Madras. Anand Shukla, a Distinguished Engineer at Google, completed his B. Tech in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur. According to the LinkedIn page of the two engineers, Venkatachary left Apple in October 2022, and Shukla left Apple in the month of November 2022. 

According to the report by The Information, the engineers believed that Google was a better place to work on LLMs. Google CEO Sundar Pichai personally wooed the group. The report also claims that Apple CEO Tim Cook tried to persuade the engineers to stay.

All three engineers are now working on Google’s efforts to reduce the cost of training and improve the accuracy of LLMs and the products based on these models.

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So far, Apple’s primary revenue drivers are its products and services. The company is yet to announce its first LLM-based tech. On the other hand, Google has introduced Bard AI for search in select geographies. Microsoft, one of the strongest contenders in the AI race has already begun integrating AI and LLMs in its mainstream products like Bing search and even Microsoft Office. It remains to be seen how Apple can catch up with its rivals in this regard.

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