In case anyone thought that Apple wasn’t serious about designing its own chips, some news today might put another nail in that coffin.  According to Tom Krazit over at C|Net, Mark Papermaster, former chip guru at IBM and Vice President of Development, IBM BladeCenter, left IBM to take on a role at Apple. 

Apple’s former PowerPC partner, IBM, isn’t letting Papermaster go without a fight..

Mark Papermaster, until recently IBM’s vice president of microprocessor technology development, plans in early November to join Apple in a position that will see him working closely with Apple CEO Steve Jobs in what IBM believes is an attempt to expand Apple’s presence in the markets for servers and chips for handheld devices, according to the copy of a lawsuit filed by IBM against Papermaster. IBM is suing Papermaster to prevent him from joining Apple and divulging trade secrets related to IBM’s Power chips and server products, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

IBM issued this statement: "Mr. Papermaster’s employment by Apple is a violation of his agreement with IBM against working for a competitor should he leave IBM. We will vigorously pursue this case in court."

 

While Krazit thinks that Papermaster is heading to Apple for its Xserve products (which frankly would be nice), it is interesting to note that while his latest job was with the blade server division, he has a long history of chip development and authoring many papers on PowerPC architecture.

This chip knowledge would be much more valuable to IBM than his blade server management role.  Keep in mind that before PA Semi got bought by Apple a few months back, they were specialists in…wait for it…PowerPC designs.  Could Apple be bringing back the ultra-low power PowerPC for iPhone type equipment?  Why Apple is snapping up all of this PowerPC talent?  We checked his background.. Papermaster has very little to no experience in ARM design.

 

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