IBM defector settles lawsuit to join Apple in three months

The executive who was sued by IBM to prevent him from moving to Apple and giving away its secrets has finally joined the company.

Mark Papermaster will start on 24 April as senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, leading the Apple iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams.

Papermaster was previously vice president of IBM's Blade Development unit until late last year. IBM sued, claiming that Papermaster had signed a noncompetition agreement that prevented him from accepting a job with a competitor until a year after leaving.

IBM said that Papermaster was one of its top 300 managers and had access to a wide range of the company's intellectual property and trade secrets from his role in the Integration & Values (IV&T) area since 2006.

Part of the complaint at the time read: "In his capacity as a member of the IV&T, Mr Papermaster has gained access to confidential information concerning the company's strategic plans, marketing plans and long term business opportunities, including the development of specific IBM products."

Reuters also said that Papermaster's lawyers argued that forcing him to sit out of the electronics industry for a year would damage his career and force him to forfeit a "dream job" at Apple.

The litigation has now been resolved, apparently on terms that protect IBM's proprietary and confidential information.

Papermaster was at IBM for 26 years. According to reports from Reuters, Apple would not divulge details of the settlement, while Papermaster could not be reached immediately for comment.