Networking giant Cisco has hired former Apple vice president Mark Papermaster, according to Businessweek. Mr. Papermaster left Apple in August following the initial problems with iPhone 4’s antenna. At Cisco, Mr. Papermaster will be a vice president in charge of some of the company’s chips.
Mark Papermaster was a longtime executive at IBM where he worked on both processor designs and Big Blue’s blade servers. He was recruited by Apple to head up the company’s mobile device engineering efforts, where he was in charge of, among other things, the iPhone’s innovative antenna design.
Apple never blamed those problems on Mr. Papermaster, but he departed six weeks after the iPhone 4 was released, and shortly after those problems led to lots of headlines denigrating the iPhone for those problems.
There was also a report from The Wall Street Journal, however, that quoted unnamed sources who said his departure was the result of cultural friction (i.e. Big Blue’s suit culture vs. Apple’s turtle neck and jeans culture).
The mildly ironic thing about his departure from Apple was how hard Apple had to fight to get him in the first place. After his departure from IBM to go to Apple, Big Blue sued claiming he was violating a noncompete contract. The three parties eventually worked it out, however, and Mr. Papermaster started a new career in Cupertino.
That career was short, lasting less than two years. Steve Jobs has a reputation for being a tough boss, and Mr. Papermaster wouldn’t be the first highly competent and capable executive not to last in Apple’s corporate culture, and he probably won’t be the last. With a stunningly impressive resume, iPhone antennas notwithstanding, Mr. Papermaster is likely to continue playing a role of some sort in the tech world.