Former IBM executive joins Apple

Lawsuit doesn't deter defector

Despite an IBM lawsuit to keep him from joining the company, former IBM vice president Mark Papermaster will join Apple as senior vice president of devices hardware engineering.

With 25 years of product and technology experience, Papermaster will lead Apple's iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams. In his new role, he will report directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

With the addition of Papermaster, Apple will lose several executives. Affected are Tony Fadell, Apple's senior vice president of the iPod Division, and his wife Danielle Lambert, vice president of Human Resources. Both are said to be leaving to spend more time with their family.

Apple says Fadell will remain as an advisor to Jobs. Lambert will leave the company at the end of the year, when a successor has been chosen.

IBM is suing Papermaster, a 26-year veteran of IBM, alleging he has knowledge of "significant and highly confidential IBM trade secrets" that would "irreparably harm" the company if he is allowed to work for Apple. Papermaster also signed a non-competition agreement in 2006 pledging not to work for competitors for one year after the conclusion of his employment with IBM.

The complaint says Papermaster was IBM's top expert for its Power microprocessors and the vice president of IBM's blade server development unit, until resigning on October 21. Papermaster is also a member of IBM's "elite" Integration & Values Team, a group of 300 senior managers charged with developing corporate strategy.

"Recently, Mr. Papermaster informed his superiors at IBM that he intended to accept a position at Apple," IBM's complaint states. "On information and belief, Mr. Papermaster will become a senior executive and corporate officer at Apple and will work very closely with Apple's Chief Executive Officer in providing to Apple technical and strategic advice on a variety of issues."

Apple competes against IBM in developing servers, PCs and microprocessors, IBM says, referring to Apple's Xserver line of servers and Apple's acquisition of PA Semi, a semiconductor that IBM also considers a competitor.

IBM says it tried to lure Papermaster back with a substantial pay raise, and offered to pay him one year's salary in exchange for Papermaster "refrain[ing] from working for an IBM competitor for one year."

"Mr. Papermaster, as long as he is employed by Apple, will inevitably use and/or disclose IBM trade secrets for his own benefit and for the benefit of Apple," IBM alleges.

IBM is seeking an injunction preventing Papermaster from working for Apple and asks for monetary awards "as the court deems just and proper."

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