Xbox executive adds weight to Apple's gaming value

While you might not instantly associate Apple with the cutthroat arena of videogames, the growing popularity of iPhone and iPod Touch software and some executive poaching from the ranks of Microsoft’s Xbox division might suggest the gadget specialist is looking to extend the gaming reach of its handheld platforms.

More pointedly, while its iPhone games continue to forge forward in the handheld market with more than 9,000 titles now available, Forbes reports that Cupertino-based Apple has this week plucked Richard Teversham away from Microsoft in order to bolster the strength of its steadily evolving team of graphics-chips specialists.

The acquisition of Teversham, a 15-year Microsoft veteran who most recently served with the Xbox division as the senior director for Insights and Strategy across territories including Europe, Middle East and Asia, follows on from Apple recently securing the services of AMD chief technologist Bob Drebin – who is perhaps best known for the creation of the Nintendo GameCube’s graphics processing unit (GPU).

According to Forbes, another indication that Apple is crewing up to focus its efforts on the gaming market is the official unveiling of former IBM chip designer Mark Papermaster, who will lead the company’s iPod business, while the company has also hired former AMD graphics chip design group CTO Raja Koduri.

Similarly, Apple paid some $378 million USD in 2008 for chip design outfit PA Semi, and also purchased a small percentage stake in UK-based Imagination, which duly enabled the licensing of its PowerVR graphics technology.

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