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Apple has faced a lawsuit from IBM after an ex-IBM employee joined the company as the vice president of devices hardware engineering. Mark Papermaster will lead Apple’s iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams and the lawsuit from IBM, considering his experience, may point to huge changes in Apple’s iPod and iPhone businesses.

Mark Papermaster is claimed to be a key developer of IBM Power PC microprocessor as an expert in chip design. Most recently he served as vice president for IBM’s blade server development. Papermaster also has been a member of the company's Integration and Values Team since 2006, reports ChannelWeb web-site. IBM asserts that while working for the company, Mr. Papermaster gained information and experiences that would now work against IBM.

“In his capacity as a member of the [Integration & Values Team], Mr. Papermaster has gained access to confidential information concerning the company's strategic plans, marketing plans and long-term business opportunities, including the development of specific IBM products. We will vigorously pursue this case in court,” IBM said in a statement.

Mr. Papermaster resigned in late October claiming he was taking on an unspecified job at Apple. In its suit, IBM said that the former employee would be in breach of a no-compete agreement he signed in 2006 that “prevents him for working for competitors for one year if he were to sever ties with IBM”.

IBM does not complete with Apple on the market of general computers since IBM quit the PC business years ago. On the other hand, Apple sells Xserve servers that may potentially compete against IBM’s. Moreover, IBM has been trying to enter the market of consumer electronics with Power PC chip design for years now, without much success. Perhaps, IBM has been working on certain infrastructure-based projects, which might be useful for Apple as well. Still, it is hard to believe that those projects were/are aimed at consumer electronics market, on which iPod, iPhone and other gadgets from Apple are targeted.

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. 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.

Tony Fadell is widely recognized as one of the key developers of iPod and iPhone.

Tags: Apple, iPod, iPhone, IBM, Papermaster

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