IBM has filed a lawsuit to stop a former server blade development vice-president from joining Apple.
IBM claims Mark Papermaster should not be allowed to join Apple as he is subject to a one year non-compete clause in his contract with the company.
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In its lawsuit, IBM says Papermaster possesses knowledge of trade secrets which could be used by Apple. Papermaster's knowledge of IBM's Power processor architecture would prove useful to Apple, says IBM.
Apple previously worked with IBM on the PowerPC chip programme, with Apple having used those processors in its products. Now though, Intel is the main supplier of chips in Apple products.
Although Apple barely competes with IBM in the server market, Apple does have the XServe range of products, which do occasionally challenge IBM's SME server offering.
IBM is also concerned that Apple's recent purchase of PA Semi will, in addition with Papermaster's hiring, make it stronger in the microprocessor market.
IBM is seeking an order that Papermaster cannot join Apple until his non-compete contract clause expires.