The Mark Papermaster saga is getting crazier and crazier.  As of today, Papermaster "will immediately cease his employment with Apple Inc. until further order of this court," U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas in White Plains, New York, said today in an order issued after markets closed. 

While a big blow to Apple, the case is far from over.  In a deposition today, Papermaster said that in the 25 years he has worked at IBM, they have never competed directly with Apple.

While that seems like a bit of a stretch (remember the 1984 commercial?  Those weren’t Blackberry drones marching around), it does seem that, at least on …erm…paper, Papermaster’s new role isn’t something that would constitute a threat to IBM.

However, with iPods and iPhones likely to have some new in-house ARM Cortex built chips from recently acquired PA Semi, the relationship gets a bit more murky.

In reality, this whole incident reaks of bad blood between IBM and a departing employee.  According to court papers, IBM "counter offered" Papermaster a significant raise.  Papermaster refused because he wanted the opportunity to work directly with Steve Jobs.

IBM risks losing to ability to attract talent with this type of behavior.

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