Microsoft hires Sun chip expert

Microsoft has hired the man in charge of Sun's microchip division. It's sparked some rumors about Microsoft getting into hardware production, but it seems more likely the role will involve smoothing out problems between software and hardware.

Marc Tremblay, formerly the chief technology officer for the Microelectronics unit at Sun, has joined Microsoft with the offbeat job title of "distinguished engineer". There's no sign that Sun will try to block the move, even though such senior executives normally have lengthy no-compete clauses.

A similar case involving IBM and Apple wound up in an out-of-court settlement so did not set a precedent about how closely two computer firms must compete for such clauses to be enforceable.

Tremblay had spearheaded the development of many Sun chips in his decade-plus career with the firm, most notably the UltraSparc II processor known as the Blackbird.

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