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Apple Recruits IBM Chip Designer, IBM Files Lawsuit

CNet reports that IBM has filed a lawsuit against former employee Mark Papermaster for accepting a job at Apple. Papermaster was IBM's vice president of microprocessor technology development but recently accepted a position at Apple to begin in November.

IBM claims that Papermaster is violating his prior employment agreement by accepting a position at a competitor and may divulge IBM's trade secrets to Apple. Papermaster reportedly has authored several papers on PowerPC chip development and is considered a "top expert in Power architecture and technology."

CNet speculates that Apple's interest in Papermaster was due to of his experience in both chip and system designs.

Papermaster's expertise in system design--putting together the entire package of processor, chipset, and the rest of the guts that form a computer--could serve him well at a company that prides itself on soup-to-nuts design.

Of course, Apple could also be interested in having Papermaster help with their recent P.A. Semi acquisition. Apple has been said to be working on their own ARM processors for use in the iPhone and iPod Touch.

If Apple wants to continue its strategy of designing and building complete systems, hardware, software, and now chips for iPhone and iPod Touch, it's going to need someone who can predict the future of chip design and advise Jobs and Apple's executive team on how Apple can best take advantage of those trends. Papermaster, with a unique set of skills in the tech industry, might be just that guy.