Apple's quest to replace outgoing iPod and iPhone VP Tony Fadell has run into a major roadblock: a federal district judge has granted IBM an injunction, forbidding former IBMer Mark Papermaster from joining Apple's ranks, at least for now.
The story is a classic HR nightmare. According to a timeline at Fortune's Apple 2.0 blog, once he was offered a "once in a lifetime" position at Apple, Papermaster indicated he was going to resign at IBM. IBM executives then offered Papermaster a "substantial increase" in pay to entice him to stay. Papermaster declined, and quit.
The next day, IBM filed their suit with the Southern District of New York, alleging that Papermaster is in violation of the non-compete clause of his employment contract.
Papermaster claims in a counter-filing that Apple and IBM are in two totally different businesses: The former a consumer products company, the latter a high-end server manufacturer. Uh huh.
Pundit Robert X. Cringely speculates that tapping Papermaster for the iPod/iPhone job was duplicitous, and Apple intends to move Papermaster into the lead position at the newly-acquired PA Semi division once the yearlong non-compete clause of his IBM contract expires.
Apple said in a statement to Reuters that Apple "... will comply with the court's order but are confident that Mark Papermaster will be able to ultimately join Apple when the dust settles."