There were reports online last month that Samsung is moving away from designing custom CPU cores for its Exynos processors and has laid off the entire team behind the project at its R&D Center in Austin. The company has now confirmed this news through a WARN letter filed with the Texas Workforce Commission.
According to the letter, which is a regulatory requirement under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act that mandates employers to inform the state governments about major layoffs, Samsung is shutting down the CPU project at its Austin Research Center and will lay off 290 employees effective December 31 as part of the exercise.
The WARN letter also states the layoffs would affect the Advanced Computer Lab in San Jose, California, as well, but it’s unclear how many of the 290 layoffs will that account for. Michele Glaze, a spokesperson for Samsung Austin, told the Statesman that the layoffs will not impact the company’s Austin manufacturing facility that employs around 3,000 people.
“We have treated all employees with respect. They all have been given appropriate packages, and advanced notice. These things are very tough. People always wonder, ‘did they treat them right?’ And we did. It’s unfortunate that they are losing their jobs, but it is based upon the fact that we’re always assessing our business,” Glaze told the publication.
To be clear, Samsung hasn’t officially mentioned that it is ceasing development of custom CPU cores, but that is the natural conclusion one can draw from this move. It appears the Mongoose M5 Cores in the recently-announced Exynos 990 will be Samsung’s last custom CPU cores, and that the company will supposedly license ARM designs going forward.
There are also reports that the Korean company will collaborate with ARM for semi-custom cores, but nothing is confirmed yet. Samsung’s move in Austin also doesn’t seem to impact the company’s recent collaboration with AMD for GPU designs.