Apple has dropped its lawsuit against a former chip executive the company sued for allegedly poaching its employees for a startup, according to Bloomberg.

Gerard Williams III left his job as lead chip architect at Apple in 2019 and co-founded Nuvia Inc. In response to Apple’s complaint, Williams filed his own claiming Apple tried to stop his firm from hiring its engineers while simultaneously recruiting staff from Nuvia.

Apple’s request to dismiss the case was filed this week in state court in San Jose, California. The filing doesn’t explain why the lawsuit was dropped, notes Bloomberg.

In December 2019, Apple sued Williams III, the former chief architect of its iPhone and iPad microprocessors, who in February quit to co-found a data-center chip design biz.

Apple said he broke his employment agreement while setting up his new enterprise. Williams – who oversaw the design of the company’s custom Arm processors for nearly a decade – quit Apple in February to head up the newly founded Nuvia, which claims to have $53 million in funding. And which boasts eight former Apple employees.

Apple’s lawsuit alleged that Williams hid the fact he was preparing to leave the company to start his own business while still working at Apple, and drew on his work in steering iPhone processor design to create his new company. Apple’s lawyers claim he tried to lure away staff from his former employer, all of this in breach of his contract.

Williams tried to have Apple’s lawsuit dismissed. He accused Apple of a “stunning and disquieting invasion of privacy” over its monitoring of his texts. In one message, he said Apple would have “no choice but to purchase” his new company.

In “Apple’s theory, if one Apple employee speaks to (or texts) another employee conveying criticisms of Apple’s strategies or decisions, that discussion is itself a purportedly unlawful ‘solicitation’ to leave Apple,” Williams said in a filing.

However, his filing was denied. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mark Pierce said the law doesn’t permit an employee “to plan and prepare to create a competitive enterprise prior to termination if the employee does so on their employer’s time and with the employer’s resources.” 

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today