Apple or IBM...?

Posted by: Reena Jana on November 4, 2008

Like you, I’m pre-occuppied by the election. But here’s an innovation-related dilemma for you. I’d be curious to read your opinions.

Have you been watching the drama between IBM and Apple, over Apple’s hire of Mark Papermaster as its new senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, announced today? As the New York Times reported on Friday, IBM filed suit against Papermaster, a top IBM executive, alleging that he violated a noncompete agreement. The agreement states that Papermaster can’t join a competitor until a year has passed after he leaves IBM.

Apple says that Papermaster, who headed a division focused on corporate data center sales, will focus on iPhone and iPod hardware—which suggests his work doesn’t pose a conflict. As John Markoff observes in the Times, though, Apple does business in the corporate arena, too. And Papermaster, a former senior executive at Big Blue, would certainly have been exposed to many R & D projects at IBM during his tenure, meaning he could possibly leak them.

What does this lawsuit say about Apple? What does it say about IBM? Which is the more innovative company today—IBM, which mighty Apple is poaching talent from, or Apple, which is attracting the top talent away from the tech giant IBM? Are they really direct competitors? And what happens if you sign a non-compete agreement, and you want to fulfill a different role at a competitor? How would you navigate this situation as the new hire? As the hiring company? And how would forcing an employee with a track record of imaginative thinking to stay affect his or her enthusiasm for and loyalty to the original employer?

Reader Comments

Mark

November 5, 2008 1:09 PM

Companies have to take all measures possible to protect their intellectual property and trade secrets. It is their lifeblood. In this case, I would say IBM has to file the lawsuit, even if they lose. If they did not and the transtion affected the earnings/share price then they would be open to a class action suit.

As for being innovative, on the surface the pat answer is Apple but if you look in-depth at all the behind the scenes stuff that goes on in IBM research labs and partnerships, it is not even close.

nmishr

November 5, 2008 1:14 PM

Given that the lawsuit is non-enforceable in CA, I think it is being issued to act as a deterrent for other IBM employees who may jump ship and head over to Apple. In itself, loosing 1 exec can't be that much of a loss to IBM, however in a bad economy, many employees might be tempted to change jobs because they might feel more secure by doing that.

S-Dog

November 5, 2008 1:15 PM

It is obvious that apple is the bigger company yeah IBM is cool, but apple far surpases any thing from IBM. The fact that he will be working on a completley different ascpect of the industry, really in my eyes makes a non compete invalid!!

McD

November 5, 2008 1:20 PM

If the roles are in separate areas (server vs handheld tech) there is no conflict. Besides, Apple need to change perceptions & subsequently expectations of corporate IT services before that market comes to them. It's already happening.

McD

Scott

November 5, 2008 1:25 PM

As a small tech business owner, I insist on a non-compete agreement as well, but I was told by an employment attorney that non-compete agreements are very difficult to enforce in California due to our "employment at will" laws.

I'm no expert, but I suspect that IBM may have a hard time with their legal battle, especially if Mark Papermaster is doing substantially different work at Apple than he did at IBM.

Moe

November 5, 2008 1:29 PM

He signed it, therefore he should follow it. There is nothing hawkish about what IBM has done, thats the rules and they should be obeyed, or face the dire consequences. Don't you?

Kris

November 5, 2008 1:38 PM

You hit the nail on the head:

"And how would forcing an employee with a track record of imaginative thinking to stay affect his or her enthusiasm for and loyalty to the original employer?"

This is a prime example of an employer trying to force control over an employee. This guys intent is not to go to apple and give them the same chip(s) they developed at IBM, but rather create the next generation of products. This behavior has stagnated the US's ability to compete on a global market. Another example is the 3G network. Why was the US so late in implementing the 3G technology when the civilized world had it for several years. Well, the companies wanted to sell off old inventory.

Innovation needs to be allowed to take place, and cultivated. I think we are about done being the super consumers of the world. We better start making something. As we have seen, the buck has stopped here.

Susan Kirkland

November 5, 2008 1:41 PM

That's the funny thing about talent; if you want to keep the talent you hire, you not only have to be forthcoming with competitive salaries, bonuses and benefits, but you also have to make the talent happy. And with creative talent, happiness is [I know this will be hard for you non-creatives to understand] usually more important than money. Imagine that.

jens petersen

November 5, 2008 1:42 PM

Seems to me that non compete clauses are not worth the paper that they are written on.
The character of the person that the employer is hiring is the only thing that the employer can rely on. For someone to agree to a non compete then go back on their word says a lot about that person.
Why would Apple trust someone like that?
When will he leave Aple to work for RIM or Sony?

Dan

November 5, 2008 1:43 PM

Who cares?

mjw149

November 5, 2008 1:46 PM

IBM is still the world leader in patents. It's like comparing Daimler to Henry Ford. Henry didn't invent the car, he popularized it.

Susan Kirkland

November 5, 2008 1:47 PM

That's the funny thing about talent; if you want to keep the talent you hire, you not only have to be forthcoming with competitive salaries, bonuses and benefits, but you also have to make the talent happy. And with creative talent, happiness is [I know this will be hard for you non-creatives to understand] usually more important than money. Imagine that.

DB

November 5, 2008 1:47 PM

In my experience, the law in most states will find a non-compete unenforceable if the terms of the agreement unreasonably restricts the employee from finding a successful career at another company. For example if you are a baker by profession, a non-compete that restricts you from working at any other bakery would be considered unreasonable.

So, if his job is as highly specialized as it seems, I don't think he will get much resistance from the courts. But this will likely end in a settlement in which Apple and IBM simply agree not to use his skill/talents to directly compete and maybe some exchange of $$/services.

Mitch

November 5, 2008 1:47 PM

All he has to do is ask to see Apple's development plans before he even opens his mouth. If Apple has internal plans that already are similar to IBM then good luck trying to challenge that.

JohnMc

November 5, 2008 1:55 PM

Apple's considerable offer (at least I would think it would have to be a considerable offer can't see him taking a pay cut and loss of benifits to go to work for S.J.) to work on Ipods with no intention of getting information reguarding the blade server line that Apple is getting into is perfectly above board. RIGHT? I hope the courts make Pagemaster sit on his butt for a year.

Bruce Gladstone

November 5, 2008 1:56 PM

Last time I looked slavery was made illegal by the emancipation proclamation. Non-compete agreements are and should be unenforceable in California. IBM can and should protect its proprietary information and Mr. Papermaster should and probably will be scrupulous in honoring that part of the agreements he's signed with IBM.

Andrew

November 5, 2008 1:58 PM

Apple is a neat company. But, IBM has their rights, and the man signed it. In this case i think IBM should get what they are entitled to.

botchagalupe

November 5, 2008 1:58 PM

First off, Mr. Papermaster agreed in his agreement that all disputes would be settled in the jurisdiction of NY. So CA law will not apply. Secondly, the blanket statement that non-competes are not enforceable is a myth. It all depends on the type of non-compete. In the case of Mr. Papermaster, he agreed to the non-compete and was compensated for agreeing. Those type of non-competes are typically enforceable in all jurisdictions.

IBM is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, making Apple or Papermaster fess up to exactly what he plans to do over there. Once IBM has that in clear terms they will most likely settle or drop. The bigger question is how bad does Apple want this guy. Now that Apple is aware of his non-compete, my guess, is IBM could also hit Apple with some sort of Tortuous interference.

johnmwillis.com

Dan

November 5, 2008 2:11 PM

The issue absolutely is not IBM versus Apple. It's whether or not these "agreements" are binding. I put agreements in quotes because employees often have little choice but to sign them. I'll bet money Apple makes it's employees sign something similar. It's SOP in the industry.

Cuba?

November 5, 2008 2:12 PM

What? I really wish law gets change pronto! We are not in Cuba. IMB should not decided for this poor fella which company he should work and which company he should.

Jason

November 5, 2008 2:13 PM

I agree with so many of you- on both sides. But let's be realistic here: We aren't arguing over ideals and principles. We aren't debating how it *should* be. We're discussing a specific man who signed a a specific agreement. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has signed one of these things before and I can tell you from experience the odds are that the agreement he signed was worded in such a way as to prevent him from working for any competitor in his industry, regardless of the capacity in which they employ him.

They could bring him on as a custodian if they really wanted his knowledge and skills, the title is largely irrelevant. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in court, but I'm guessing that he is in violation of the agreement.

mark

November 5, 2008 2:13 PM

S-Dog
November 5, 2008 01:15 PM

It is obvious that apple is the bigger company yeah IBM is cool, but apple far surpases any thing from IBM. The fact that he will be working on a completley different ascpect of the industry, really in my eyes makes a non compete invalid!!

Dude what planet are you on must be a apple fan boy or something half the damn world runs on IBM servers not to mention the cell chip. I work in a data center and I don't think we have one apple server in the whole damn place.

Tim Singleton

November 5, 2008 2:24 PM

If he is good enough at that level, let him go sit at the house for a year until the period passes. At this level is he is probably okay anyways.

There are weekened barbeques where he and his new buddies can gather at to talk about what will happen a year from now, 6 months from now...

Non=competes are hard for SMALL employers to enforce. Both IBM and Apple have legal departments who are probably overpaid and bored anyways, so let them duke it out. It will be fun to read about in the press.

As for the individual? I hope he makes out, myself.

-Tim

Eric

November 5, 2008 2:24 PM

Ha, ha, ha....good luck to IBM in trying to enforce that non-compete. Generally non-competes only work in the purchase of a company in which you are a principle owner. Otherwise, depending on the state, you have a right to work as much as a company has the right to fire you as an at-will employee.

JOHN

November 5, 2008 2:26 PM

A non compete clause sounds good on paper, but it is no more enforceable than a pre-nup. Most courts will ignore both under the right circumstances.

Jack Parker

November 5, 2008 2:28 PM

This could be huge!!! This lawsuit could make Rich Rodriguez v. West Virginia Redneck Association seem like small claims court fodder. I will be glued to Nancy Grace for weeks!

All sarcasm aside... I have to wonder why there was not an able body within Apple who could have filled the seat. IBM should be able to recoup a large sum from Apple for this aquisition... not entirely sure how that would happen though.

Gnarlyswine

November 5, 2008 2:39 PM

It doesnt say anything about Apple or IBM It does say you dont have a clue about the sector as these type of agreements are comonplace , ase are the resultant litigations for infringement. Its a price of doing similar business and trying to achieve a state of Detente. Every now and then someone messes up.

Josh Viney

November 5, 2008 2:47 PM

Non-compete agreements are unenforceable in CA, but I think IBM is suing in New York. NY law may be more sympathetic to businesses because of the influence of the financial industry - I'm not sure.

The bottom line is that employment is an agreement between two parties that goes beyond financial consideration. If Papermaster wants to leave IBM for Apple, he obviously feels that IBM is not meeting his needs. He should feel no obligation to stay or to halt his career because he owes them nothing. On the other hand, IBM should be looking at itself closely in the mirror and asking "why?"

As for the value of technical trade secrets... The real value is in the execution on the information, not in the secrets themselves. The best way to protect them is to execute first, execute best and stay ahead of the curve through innovation. Trying to protect trade secrets through force is like trying to stop a damn from breaking with bubble gum.

AustinAng

November 5, 2008 2:50 PM

Have the guy sign an NDA and call it done. If anything is leaked (which I highly doubt would happen), they know where to turn to first.

Non-compete clauses should only be used when they are very specifically laid out, which probably isn't the case with this one. Let the guy move on.

crypt2121

November 5, 2008 2:55 PM

Which is more innovative? Does Apple have a teleportation lab?

Andrew

November 5, 2008 2:55 PM

Apple better be careful. IBM could also lay claim on any IP produced by Papermaster if they can tie it back to IBM's R&D.

Monk

November 5, 2008 2:57 PM

Apple’s PA Semi Acquisition and hired IBM veteran Mark Papermaster, next
About To Buy Sun Microsystems?

Joe Geek

November 5, 2008 3:00 PM

*Employment is not slavery.*

By all accounts, Mr. Papermaster is an expert in microprocessor technologies (design to fabrication), specifically Power (RISC) technology of IBM (that used to power PowerPCs).

The non compete is ludicrous, of course. What is a technologist to do? Stay home for a year before he can earn his livelihood and practice his trade? If IBM is willing to pay Mr. Papermaster for a year while he travels the globe and then goes to Apple, that would be more reasonable.

*Employment is not slavery.*

botchagalupe

November 5, 2008 3:03 PM

True non-compete clauses are not enforceable in employment contracts. If you are an employer and you make an employee sign a non-compete as terms of the employment you may not be able to enforce the agreement (depending on the jurisdiction).

However, if the terms are based on items other than employmenet (e.g., stock or special compensation) they can be and I have enforced them against former employees.

I have read a copy of Papermaster's agreement and it is not employment agreement. It is an awards based contract where Papermaster agreed to accept IBM performance awards in return for non-compete for 12 months after the awards were granted.

I think it is absolutely silly to think that IBM would come up with an agreement that is not enforceable and furthermore risk the possibility of a frivolous lawsuit in the process.

However, I could be wrong!!

Rod G

November 5, 2008 3:05 PM

Non-competes rarely are enforced, and quite honestly, need a legal overhaul.

They are inherently unfair, in that if a company chooses to terminate you, you are free to seek work wherever you choose. However, if you choose to terminate your employment, a non-compete should not impede you seeking employment wherever you choose. Intellectual property laws can replace this antiquated, pro-employer/anti-employee concept.

Deepali

November 5, 2008 3:10 PM

Every thing is fair in War...but in this case whose war is it. IBM VS Mark Papermaster or IBM VS Apple.

First of all if it is IBM VS Apple, nothing is going to come out of it. Some Money changing hands will settle this whole deal. No big company wants their name dragged for a long time. Wait and watch, I give this whole thing a time of one month.

But if this is Mark Vs IBM, I feel sorry for the poor fella. He is a nice and competant guy ( Atleast seems that way) but if IBM wins then technicaly he cannot work with any Technology related Field. Cause every one is either using their products or are competing with them one way or the other.

Sean O

November 5, 2008 3:11 PM

Well, in the case of IBM it would be right to "try" to stop Apple from hiring him in the case of losing secerts on their software and manufaturing but it will not happen, Apple will still hire him and IBM will get screwed over.

olivia Vu

November 5, 2008 3:19 PM


Apple known they will face lawsuit from IBM if they're hiring Papermaster who said he did sign a non-compete only. The job that he is working for Apple is most likely had nothing to do with his past job. IBM lawsuit is most likely will go nowhere just like Motorola in the past who sue their ex-employee.

hardmanb

November 5, 2008 3:33 PM

So far, some guessing and speculation. As far as I can tell, the specific wording of the contract, nor the individual's reasons for leaving, nor what he will be doing is open to the public. And it probably never will be.

Non-competes relate to "competition" and "trade secrets". Otherwise, the law says that non-competes cannot be enforced to keep someone from working in their profession, as it would be an ownership incident akin to slavery.

My guess is that Apple & IBM don't directly compete in the pertinent areas, that the employee won't be divulging any trade secrets or competing in a relevant sense, and that IBM is filing the lawsuit for clarification and pro forma to be seen as protective, and possibly "just in case". Obviously, Papermaster has represented that it would be no conflict to Apple. That is why Apple hired him, and why the suit is against him, and not Apple.

Kevin

November 5, 2008 3:36 PM

It seems that Apple's true innovative strength lies in their (or more accurately, Steve Job's) ability to market technology originally created by other "technical" innovators. This goes all the way back to the GUI and the mouse, which came out of Xerox/Parc. The most recent "innovations" are just the next step in that evolution.

Joe Blow

November 5, 2008 3:36 PM

Let us examine exactly where IBM and Apple compete. They don't. IBM doesn't make personal computers nor do they make handhelds, or entertainment devices. IBM - International Business Machines makes servers, and high end corporate hardware solutions.
On the software side, they make security software, operating systems, and custom solutions - none of which are in the same realm as apple. So if its a NON-COMPETE, where's the overlap? Let the man do what he's good at. The corporations need to stop whinning and get on with life. They should be more concerned with saving the environment than what one man wants to do in life.

Joanne

November 5, 2008 3:49 PM

IBM has been the #1 generator of U.S. patents for 15 years straight. THAT'S innovation, and intellectual capital must be carefully guarded.
http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/23280.wss

Alex

November 5, 2008 3:53 PM

People should be allowed to work wherever they want. I'm sure Mr. P lost lots of stock (both options and restricted) in the move. IBM is being petty.

talcott

November 5, 2008 4:00 PM

This is a difference in mindsets.

IBM in general tries to improve and refine existing ideas. Apple tries to create new ideas and be first to market with them.

"I" does not stand for IBM in iPod or iPhone.

So it seems that Mr. Papermaster is going from a company that works in existing idea to a company that is looking for new ideas. He agreed with IBM not to work a competitor and they can only see existing ideas, so to IBM how could he not be competing. Apple is look for ideas, markets or technologies that do not currently exist, so Apple see that no one could be competing in these areas.

Who's right, that depends on your point of view, and will probably be for the courts to decide. But in my opinion he probably signed a confidentiality agreement, so as long as he does not bring up those projects, he should be allowed to apply his knowledge to new project for Apple.

Why not encourage talented engineers to come up with new ideas, products or markets.

And finally, if someone doesn't want to work for you, you are not doing yourself or that individual any service to keep them from working elsewhere.

Carol

November 5, 2008 4:05 PM

Pay your people well and take care of them. You'll never have to deal with this kind of lawsuit.

Woadan

November 5, 2008 4:08 PM

Apple is in CA, where non-competes don't usually hold up in court, and where Mr. Papermaster will be working. (This fact is often one cited to explain why Silican Valley thrived, and tech companies in MA did not.) IBM HQ is in NY, so one wonders if they can stop him from working in CA.

b0b0

November 5, 2008 4:12 PM

These days, IBM files patents and lawsuits in bulk in the hopes that they'll hit a jackpot. They develop technologies and services to be sold to the pacific rim and India....the jobs immediately follow. IBM's primary business principals involve high arrogance and low integrity.....but I'm not bitter.

Alan

November 5, 2008 4:25 PM

Steve Jobs' pitch went something like the one he gave John Sculley.. "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?"

hard to pass up on an offer like that, given Jobs' second life chance bringing Apple back to life, respectability and the height of coolness.. :)

Euonymous

November 5, 2008 4:28 PM

It's traditional in the computer world to have non-compete agreements and for companies to rattle sabres as a means of enforcing them. Of course Apple is making a stretch of an argument. You have to admit it's a good one. The value of an executive comes from several things: their history/reputation, their industry and specific product knowledge, their hard and soft skill sets, their contacts and possible recruits. I find it hard to believe that Apple would recruit from IBM instead of "grow their own" unless they needed something specific they could not get with insiders. If I were IBM I would be concerned about what aspect of this person is most important to Apple.

Peter

November 5, 2008 4:28 PM

Since Apple has stated publicly that they intend to go in the the chip design business and use the PowerPC chip again. This is a clear case where Ibm is trying to protect it's intellectual property.

Warren Dew

November 5, 2008 4:35 PM

It's only a 12 month noncompete. Papermaster should sit out his year as he was paid to do.

Apple does make servers which do compete with IBM. Their hardware is actually very competitive in this area, or at least was before they switched to Intel; it's their marketing that's weak.

Tom Paine

November 5, 2008 4:36 PM

People HAVE to sign all these no compete agreements or NOT get the job. If IBM (or Apple) were to SHARE fairly the profits they make from the ideas of their specific employees then the non compete contract would be valid. However they DON'T share fairly from the ideas so the only recourse is for the employee to leave and take your brain with you in hopes of, at least, getting a higher salary at the new company. Almost any signed agreement, by employee, is signed under duress --the duress is: if you don't sign it you won't get the job --period. Anyone with common sense knows this, including judges who almost always rule in favor of the employee on these matters.

Brent

November 5, 2008 4:36 PM

mark
November 5, 2008 02:13 PM
S-Dog
November 5, 2008 01:15 PM

It is obvious that apple is the bigger company yeah IBM is cool, but apple far surpases any thing from IBM. The fact that he will be working on a completley different ascpect of the industry, really in my eyes makes a non compete invalid!!

Dude what planet are you on must be a apple fan boy or something half the damn world runs on IBM servers not to mention the cell chip. I work in a data center and I don't think we have one apple server in the whole damn place.


Apple is a "Poppy-consumer" over marketed "cool" company.

I help businesses transverse from single set-ups to office networks...and I can tell you that even when helping multi-million dollar marketing/graphics design companies...the only Apples..are just the ones the techs work on...all the data, and e-mail servers..everything else is ran on a PC system..and I highly recommended the Thinkpad/Center solutions...

Matt SFBay, CA

November 5, 2008 4:41 PM

IBM should follow suit and IBM should win. Apple and IBM are in direct competition for certain segments of the computer world. The fact that Papermaster is going to the iPod / iphone division is immaterial. IBM wins the innovation battle imo. Apple repackages ideas into prettier boxes most of the time. IBM should only be angry at themselves that he left but he shouldn't be able to go to another competitor.

frozen01

November 5, 2008 4:58 PM

mark
November 5, 2008 02:13 PM

"Dude what planet are you on must be a apple fan boy or something half the damn world runs on IBM servers not to mention the cell chip. I work in a data center and I don't think we have one apple server in the whole damn place."

Half the world gets its products via truck transit but that doesn't mean the lambourgini sucks.
The average consumer doesn't care about servers. They care about performance.

Potomac Will

November 5, 2008 5:01 PM

IBM wins my vote for most innovative, but it is very slow to bring its innovations to market. It should raid Apple which has a knack for transforming R&D into marketable products. As for Pagemaster, I would say that IBM and Apple are not competitors.

frozen01

November 5, 2008 5:09 PM

Brent
November 5, 2008 04:36 PM

"Apple is a 'Poppy-consumer' over marketed 'cool' company."

Which is why, I'm sure, every design company, design school, photographer, and anyone else who has more than a passing obsession with Photoshop runs on Macs. You know, 'cause it's "cool".

"I help businesses transverse from single set-ups to office networks...and I can tell you that even when helping multi-million dollar marketing/graphics design companies...the only Apples..are just the ones the techs work on...all the data, and e-mail servers..everything else is ran on a PC system..and I highly recommended the Thinkpad/Center solutions..."

Different strokes for different folks. Or, more appropriately, different machines for different tasks. Doesn't mean Apple makes a bad computer. In fact, in my experience, the Apples I've owned have been far more reliable for a longer period of time than the PCs I've owned. I have a PC and an iMac currently, both of which I've had for 4 years (a little more actually). The PC is practically a paperweight now... it's so slow and clunky that it's not even worth it to turn the damn thing on. The iMac, however, works nearly like it's brand new... and I have way more programs loaded and various goodies stored on the iMac than the PC, plus I obviously use it more (since it boots up instantly... I'm really too impatient to wait the 15 minutes for the PC to boot). The iMac has only crashed maybe 5 or 6 times in the over 4 years I've had it. The PC crashes more than that in a month (and don't even get me started on the PC I use at work...)

Josh

November 5, 2008 5:25 PM

Does it matter where the company is Incorporated for the law suites?

egc52556

November 5, 2008 5:27 PM

It's impossible to know without seeing the specific wording of Papermaster's non-compete agreement. Is he prohibited from working for any other computer manufacturer? Or is he prohibited from working in a direct-compete area?

Either way, IBM has to sue just to give weight to the non-compete agreements in the future.

morecowbell

November 5, 2008 5:49 PM

i don't see why i should be barred from changing employment without sitting out for a prolonged period of time, especially when/after i get tasked to do things or work with (new) people i don't particularly enjoy. i also don't see much symmetry here. if 'my' company decides to let me go and hire somebody younger/cheaper, can i enforce some extensive non-hire clause? didn't think so.

astronutfarmer001

November 5, 2008 5:56 PM

hey Frozen01 try to stay on topic and don't you have any thing better to do than talk on the internet?

Digital Dust

November 5, 2008 5:57 PM

Frozen01/Brent

You just accused creative types of using Macs only because they are "cool" and "over marketed", then go on with a litany of reasons why you prefer Macs over PCs... what gives?

Perhaps it's the creative types that "get it" rather than just wanting to be cool?

And what does any of that have to do w/ the above article?

John Harlow

November 5, 2008 8:00 PM

It is amazing how little people value their own integrity anymore. No one believes that giving their word (or signing and agreement) in any way binds them or their behavior. We see this in business, in politics, even in the mortgage meltdown. It is depressing to believe that the safest course of action nowadays is to assume that everyone is lying all of the time.

danstarkey

November 5, 2008 8:21 PM

Where'd you go to J school? Is this any way to write a story? You lay it all out. And then you...stop. You then ask 10 questions and rely on the public to complete the article. Dang, girl. I want a no-thinking job like that.

MacDev

November 5, 2008 9:17 PM

I feel that this lawsuit is the only way that IBM can make a last ditch attempt to block a talented man to work with one of the best computer companies in the world. If Papermaster was happy at IBM, then he would have stayed there. I feel that a NDA should be enough to block him from revealing secrets to Apple and hopefully he is a stand-up individual that would honor this clause. IBM needs to let it go and find someone else who is talented enough and willing to fill Papermaster's spot. In my opinion, developing iPod and iPhone tech is not the same as what he was doing at IBM.

Alexandra

November 5, 2008 9:20 PM

IBM has some talent, but it decamps as soon as possible to less hidebound companies. Many "regulars" spend their days meeting, chatting, talking, "following up," and generally getting little done. That kind of atmosphere is stifling to the creative innovator who wants things to move faster.

SkateNY

November 6, 2008 12:21 AM

Been there, done that. The courts won't have a thing to say about it. IBM wants something from Apple in return for their puppetmaster. And this is what they need to do to get it. He's going to Apple regardless. The idea that Apple didn't know about the non-compete agreement is ludicrous.

alister

November 6, 2008 1:44 AM

APPLE products are cool ones

mark

November 6, 2008 2:49 AM

Let me guess, IBM could fire him no questions asked. But the guy can't change jobs. Get real.

AvidReader

November 6, 2008 9:44 AM

According to IBM's court filing, IBM offered Papermaster "a substantial increase" in his compensation package to stay with the company. "IBM offered to pay Mr. Papermaster one year's salary in exchange for Mr. Papermaster to respect his contractual obligation to refrain from working for an IBM competitor for one year." IBM said.

This sounds pretty fair to me. Papermaster could have taken more money to stay or taken a year off at IBM's expense. I'm guessing he knows things that IBM would prefer he didn't pass on to Apple and they offered a big carrot before bringing out the stick.

Mark

November 6, 2008 11:46 AM

"For example if you are a baker by profession, a non-compete that restricts you from working at any other bakery would be considered unreasonable."

Incomplete analogy. Say you were a baker for Quaker and have spent 5 years investigating all aspects of snack bars - taste, production costs, texture, color, ingredients, etc. Now, at the cusp of getting ready to put this into production, you jump over to General Mills and basically give them 5 years of Quaker R&D and help them get their competing product out in the same timeframe.

Now, you can leave Quaker for General Mills to work on cereal or dog food for a year, but you cannot work on snack bars.

Or you can leave to work at a restaraunt that locally serves snack bars. Or a small bakery that does not sell in the retail market.

You are typically restricted only from direct competitors, only in that particular segment, and only for a year. Nothing wrong with that.

Weltanschauung

November 8, 2008 10:33 PM

IS INCREDIBLE!!! Most people who commented DID NOT answered the QUESTION that started all this...

For Your Information: IBM is, since 10+ years ago, year after year, the company with the MOST world wide registered NEW patents, thus, has the biggest INCOME coming from the royalties that come from those innovations than ANY other company in the world.

APPLE pays IBM a lot for the use of those INVENTIONS.

Obviously their Target Markets are different; without IBM, Apple would not even exist.

AppleEater

November 21, 2008 4:06 PM

Apple is going places - it is expanding and constantly innovating in areas that affect and interest the most important subset of the daily working world: the end user. IBM is contracting its view and its activities - although of incredible value - are still mired in the navel-gazing innovations that support the views of a 1950s corporate America and that seek to satisfy the Chief Information leaders who have narrowed its scope. I bet on Apple.

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What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.

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