Mark Davis joined Amazon in March.
Mark Davis joined Amazon in March.

Amazon.com has expanded beyond its online retail roots in the past few years — taking on everything from cloud computing to grocery delivery to original content.

Now, is chip design the next step?

According to a report by GigaOm, Amazon is building a new chip design center in Austin, Texas, hiring several engineers who previously worked at now-defunct chip startup Calxeda. GigaOm references a job post on LinkedIn, which interestingly is no longer available on Amazon.com’s Web site.

But it also points to several LinkedIn profiles of former Calxeda engineers, including one who now holds the title at Amazon.com of Manager of Hardware Engineering, Silicon Optimizations at Amazon Web Services.

Those on the new silicon team at Amazon include Mark Davis, the former CTO at Calxeda. His new title at Amazon is Principal Engineer of Silicon Optimization. Calxeda co-founder and vice president of hardware engineering David Borland also is now working at Amazon, serving as director of Silicon Optimizations.

Both joined in March, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Google also is investigating its own chip design for use in its data centers, with venture capitalist John Doerr noting at a conference earlier this year that Facebook too will head in that direction.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and others are all trying to gain an edge in the cloud. Is chip design one way to do it?

This will be interesting to watch.

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