Agnilux? Is That Latin for Annoy Steve Jobs?

Published on April 21, 2010
by John Paczkowski

Of the 66 acquisitions Google has made, the purchase of Agnilux ranks among the most curious. So little is known about the company’s mission that it’s impossible to say definitively what Google wants with it. And the Agnilux Web site, which has been take offline, reveals only a street address and the derivation of its name: Agni is Sanskrit for “fire,” and lux, Latin for “light.”

But the company’s origins are interesting indeed. You see, Agnilux was reportedly founded by a group of former Apple (AAPL) employees that includes several from P.A. Semi, the boutique chip design company Apple acquired in 2008. Among them: P.A. Semi founder and CEO Dan Dobberpuhl, former P.A. Semi principal Amarjit Gill, and Mark Hayter, once one of the company’s leading system architects. Already on board at the company: A handful of engineers from Cisco (CSCO) and a software architect from TiVo (TIVO).

Serious talent, but what does Google (GOOG) want with it?

The answer isn’t clear. Unconfirmed reports suggest Agnilux has been working on “some kind of server.” If that’s the case, Google could be thinking of using that server or the design savvy that created it to enhance its own servers, which it designs and builds itself.

That said, Dobberpuhl and company are the folks who presumably led development of Apple’s new A4 chip, which powers the iPad, so it’s possible that Google might have some mobile aspirations here as well. Impossible to say until someone talks. And right now, no one is doing much of that.

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