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Judge orders Apple exec to stop work

Posted: 11 Nov 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IC design  legal battle  hardware engineering 

In what could turn into a bitter legal battle, a U.S. District Court in New York has ordered a former executive from IBM Corp. to stop working at Apple Computer Inc., according to reports.

Federal District Judge Kenneth Karas ordered that Mark Papermaster must ''cease his employment'' at Apple for the time being, ''because he might be violating an agreement with his former employer, IBM,'' according to Reuters.

Earlier this month, Apple announced that Papermaster was joining the company as senior vice president of devices hardware engineering, reporting to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Papermaster, who comes to Apple from IBM, will lead Apple's iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams.

Papermaster was previously a vice president at IBM. Apple also announced that Tony Fadell, Apple's senior vice president of the iPod Division, and his wife Danielle Lambert, vice president of human resources, are reducing their roles within the company ''as they devote more time to their young family,'' according to Apple.

Fadell will remain at Apple as an advisor to the CEO. Lambert will depart the company at the end of this year after a successor is in place.

Then, IBM filed a suit against Apple in an effort to prevent Papermaster from joining Apple, according to reports.

Now, the court blocked Papermaster from joining Apple. ''Karas said Papermaster could submit any objections to his order by Tuesday and he set another hearing for Nov. 18,'' according to Apple. ''IBM said in a court filing that, before Papermaster left, he agreed to avoid working for any competitor for a year.''

Apple has taken several steps to beef up its IC design efforts. In its signature secretive fashion, Apple earlier this year scooped up embedded PowerPC designer PA Semi Inc. for a reported Rs.1,391.01 crore ($278 million) last week without saying a word to investors or even PA Semi's customers about what it has in mind for the low-power-processor start-up.

-Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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