Apple, who was counting on ex-IBM exec Mark Papermaster’s leadership skills to steer its iPod and the iPhone engineering teams will have to wait longer to have him on board. Before his decision to leap frog to Apple, Mr. Papermaster was vice president of IBM’s Blade Development unit which sells computers for corporate data centers. He has been the head of IBM’s technology department in the past and also has had access to company’s intellectual property for long.
Given this fact, IBM is worried that Papermaster would generously give away IBM’s trade secrets to Apple. The company has expressed its indignation by taking the issue to the court and has sued him on the grounds of violating a contract in which he agreed not to work for IBM’s competitor within a year of leaving his job. The result: a U.S district court has barred him from working at Apple for now. In the words of Judge Kenneth Karas, Papermaster “will immediately cease his employment with Apple Inc until further order”.
As end consumers of Apple, this is bad news for us. We may have to face problems like delay in getting the cool new firmware updates for the iPhone that Apple comes up with from time to time. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and pray that this court order is lifted soon. At the end of the day, Apple’s problem is our problem.