Google CEO Sundar Pichai ‘personally wooed’ the two IIT graduates and their partner to join his company while Apple CEO Tim Cook ‘tried to persuade them to stay’, The Information reported.

Three engineers, two of them from the premier Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), are in high demand among tech giants in the United States as the field of artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly desirable and skilled AI professionals are in high demand.

Srinivasan Venkatachary, Steven Baker and Anand Shukla, who were instrumental in modernising Apple Inc’s search technology, joined Google last year to focus on developing large-language models, the underlying technology behind chatbots like Microsoft-funded ChatGPT, The Information reported.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai “personally wooed” the trio to join his company while Apple CEO Tim Cook “tried to persuade them to stay”, the report says, quoting two people who spoke with Venkatachary.

Shukla earned a B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT-Kanpur in 2001 before pursuing a master’s degree in from University of Illinois. After working at Google for over 12 years, he, along with Venkatachary and Baker, co-founded a company called Laserlike Inc. which was acquired by Apple. He joined Apple in 2018 where he spent a little over four years before returning to Google in November last year.

Venkatachary is an IIT-Madras alumnus from 1996, with a computer science degree. He pursued his master’s degree in computer science from Washington University in St. Louis. Like Shukla, Venkatachary’s career trajectory has several years at Google (six years), followed by a four-year stint at Applebefore he returned to Google last October as vice president of engineering.

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