Cisco Hires Former Apple Exec Mark Papermaster

The microchip expert who left during the highly publicized iPhone 4 antenna problems becomes VP of Cisco's switching technology group.

Antone Gonsalves

November 15, 2010

2 Min Read
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Mark Papermaster, who is believed to have been the fall guy following Apple's highly publicized antenna problems with the iPhone 4, has joined Cisco to work on the company's important line of network switches.

Microchip expert Papermaster started work Monday as VP of Cisco's Silicon Switching Technology Group, where he will be responsible for managing the application-specific integrated circuits that go into the Nexus 7000 and Catalyst lines, a Cisco spokesman said. Papermaster will report to John McCool, senior VP and general manager of the company's Data Center, Switching and Services Group, which accounts for $15 billion in Cisco product revenue annually.

Papermaster left Apple in August after less than two years on the job. His departure followed quality problems associated with the iPhone 4, which was Papermaster's responsibility. The most publicized problem involved the design of the antenna that wrapped around the phone. When the user touched an area at the bottom of the device, it would lose signal and the call would be dropped. To appease angry customers, Apple handed out a case at no charge to cover the antenna.

The antenna was one of several problems with the iPhone 4. The new high-resolution display, which Apple called a "retina screen,” got high marks from reviewers, but was reportedly less sturdy than the screen it replaced. The screen was reportedly more inclined to scratches in ordinary use and spider webbing if dropped.

Papermaster and Apple did not give a reason for his departure. However, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that Papermaster had had a falling-out with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. As a former IBM executive, Papermaster also didn't do well in Apple's very different corporate culture.

Papermaster was working on IBM's PowerPC microprocessor when he left the company in 2008 to join Apple. IBM sued Papermaster, claiming his joining Apple violated the non-compete clause in his IBM contract. In January 2009, the parties settled the lawsuit, with Papermaster agreeing, presumably with Apple's blessing, to check in with IBM if he suspects that any innovations he develops at Apple infringed on confidential or proprietary information he picked up during his years of work at IBM.


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