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Former IBMer Finally Starts Work at Apple

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 5 comments

Former IBM employee, Mark Papermaster has finally started working at Apple, following nearly seven months of legal headaches and red tape.

Apple announced Papermaster’s arrival at the company back in October but Papermaster's former employer IBM claimed that if he were to work for Apple, he would be in breach of a non-compete agreement he had signed when he worked for Big Blue. A federal judge ordered Papermaster to step back from his position at Apple until the matter was resolved and it later emerged that Judge Kenneth Karas felt Papermaster’s presence at Apple could cause IBM some serious damage.

“Because Mr. Papermaster has been inculcated with some of IBM’s most sensitive and closely guarded technical and strategic secrets, it is no great leap for the Court to find that Plaintiff has met its burden of showing a likelihood of irreparable harm," Keras explained.

Papermaster then filed a countersuit. His lawyers claimed that the agreement was unenforceable because the deal was governed by the laws of the state of New York, while Papermaster lives in Texas and Apple is based in California.

"Both states hold that such non-competition agreements are unenforceable as a matter of public policy," the countersuit read. Back in January, Apple once again announced Papermaster’s arrival at the company, assuring the press that, “the litigation between IBM and Mark Papermaster had been resolved.”

IBM released a statement containing details of the resolution reached. Basically Papermaster can start work at Apple once he’s been out of IBM six months. That said, he has to report back in July and again in October and certify that he has not used or disclosed any important IBM stuff to Apple.

The former vice president of microprocessor technology development at IBM joins Apple as senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, reporting to Steve Jobs, himself. CNet reports that Papermaster’s first day at Apple was last Friday.

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  • 3 Hide
    tenor77 , April 28, 2009 2:21 PM
    Normally I find non-compete clauses just wrong. In college I worked as a manager of a pizza joint. I quit and started working for a different place and the douche tried to pull this kind of crap on me. Like I knew some great secret. It's pizza man!

    That said if this guy knows tech secrets I can understand why IBM is upset.
  • 0 Hide
    JMcEntegart , April 28, 2009 2:33 PM
    tenor77Normally I find non-compete clauses just wrong. In college I worked as a manager of a pizza joint. I quit and started working for a different place and the douche tried to pull this kind of crap on me. Like I knew some great secret. It's pizza man!That said if this guy knows tech secrets I can understand why IBM is upset.


    Haha, that made my day.
  • 0 Hide
    hemelskonijn , April 28, 2009 5:56 PM
    It might be strange but this kind of stuff still amazes me.

    Here in the Netherlands asking some one to sign a non-compete would probally not be legal, or at least it wont hold up in court.

    If i signed it and my current employer switches to an other platform it would be likely i would get fired because the re-education costs way more than pulling a fresh kid from school.
    A non-compete would then mean i cant do any sysadmin or system engineering or for that mater all-round tech employee work ever again ?
  • 0 Hide
    JMcEntegart , April 28, 2009 6:24 PM
    hemelskonijnIt might be strange but this kind of stuff still amazes me.Here in the Netherlands asking some one to sign a non-compete would probally not be legal, or at least it wont hold up in court.If i signed it and my current employer switches to an other platform it would be likely i would get fired because the re-education costs way more than pulling a fresh kid from school.A non-compete would then mean i cant do any sysadmin or system engineering or for that mater all-round tech employee work ever again ?


    It's usually not forever (is anyone dumb enough to sign a self-renewing/perpetual non-compete agreement?). Mostly it's for a couple of years. Basically, just long enough for your old company to be working on something new when you take on a new position with a rival. At that stage, all you'll have is old information about older products.
  • 0 Hide
    pim69 , April 29, 2009 11:59 AM
    This concept is absolutely unfair to any employee. I can understand an agreement that states the employee is not allowed to share secrets of course, but there is no reason they must be restricted from working for someone else as long as they don't share those secrets.

    The military is a good example. Many people have high security clearance and are privy to secret information. Should they never be allowed to get another job for their entire lives? Or should they be forced to be unemployed for 1-2 years because the information they know should not be shared with ANYONE (never mind competing companies aka governments)?

    How can someone in any field live for 1-2 years without a job if they decide to leave (or are laid off) from their current employment? Of course their skills would be most useful working for a competing company or customer of the company, that would be the best way to leverage yourself into a better position than what you currently have.

    Since when did it become a crime to get a job doing what you know?? Are employers trying to scare employees away from looking for a new job? I don't get it.