Court forces ex-IBMer to leave his job at Apple

A court has forced IBM exec Mark Papermaster to quit his new job at Apple, despite Papermaster's protests that he didn't violate a non-compete clause in his IBM contract.

A federal judge on Friday ordered Mark Papermaster, IBM's former guru of processors and blade servers, to leave his new position as head of engineering for Apple's iPhones and iPods until the dust settles around a suit by IBM accusing him of breaking a non-compete clause in his IBM contract.

Papermaster, however, had argued in court earlier that his acceptance of the Apple job didn't actually violate the clause. He claimed that IBM and Apple haven't been direct competitors since IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo and Apple sold servers to education institutions.

"Until this litigation effort by IBM, aside from the divested IBM personal computer business and a single sale several years ago of Apple's Xserve product to a university, I do not recall a single instance of Apple being described as a competitor of IBM during my entire tenure at IBM," according to his court filing.

At the end of October, IBM filed suit in US District Court for the Southern District of New York arguing that as head of IBM's "elite Integration & Values Team," Papermaster -- an IBM employee for 25 years -- was "privy to a whole host of trade secrets and confidences."

Papermaster's lawyers have asserted that forcing Papermaster "to 'sit out' of the electronics industry for a year would be incredibly damaging to his career."

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