Apple First Rejected IBM's Papermaster For Top iPhone Job

The chip engineer apparently didn't succeed in his first effort to land the position in Cupertino.
IBM defector Mark Papermaster, a top microprocessor engineer who recently bolted Big Blue to head up iPhone and iPod development at Apple, was initially rejected by Steve Jobs' company, according to court records.

Papermaster, who has been sued by IBM for breach of contract, interviewed to be Apple's head of device hardware engineering in early 2008. At the time, Apple declined to give him the position. Instead, the company offered him a job developing hardware products for PCs, according to court records.

Papermaster turned down the consolation prize and Apple resumed its search for a successor to iPod and iPod head Tony Fadell, who is stepping down from his position for family reasons.

But Apple apparently had little luck finding a better candidate. The company trumpeted Papermaster as its new consumer electronics head on Nov. 4.

"Whatever led Apple to decide not to offer Mr. Papermaster the position earlier in 2008, apparently did not prevent it from re-interviewing Mr. Papermaster in October 2008," wrote Judge Kenneth Karas, of U.S. District Court in Manhattan, in a ruling connected to the case.

Karas earlier this month barred Papermaster from assuming duties at Apple until his lawsuit with IBM has been fully heard or settled. IBM claims Papermaster breached a noncompete agreement by accepting a position at Apple. Papermaster maintains that IBM and Apple are not competitors.

Karas appears to be siding with IBM.

In temporarily enjoining Papermaster from working at Apple, the judge noted that both companies design chips that can be used in consumer electronics. "It cannot be disputed that iPods and iPhones are powered by microprocessors, and any improvement in the speed, storage, and power capabilities of those devices depends on improvements in microprocessors design," Karas noted in an opinion he issued last week in connection with his decision to bar Papermaster's employment at Apple.

Karas noted that, as a member of IBM's elite Integration & Values team, Papermaster also had access to other sensitive information, "such as strategic plans, product development, technical recruitment, and long-term business opportunities. "

The case is ongoing.