If the name Mark Papermaster rings a bell, perhaps it’s because of the battle between IBM and the veteran executive when he tried to leave for Apple. IBM sued Papermaster for violating a non-compete agreement, but the case was eventually settled and Papermaster became part of the engineering team as the executive in charge of hardware. However, after the whole iPhone 4 antenna debacle, Papermaster has left the Cupertino based computer company.
Apple has confirmed his departure as reported by the New York Times:
In a statement, an Apple spokesman, Steve Dowling, confirmed Mr. Papermaster’s departure. Mr. Dowling said Mr. Papermaster “is leaving the company and Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Macintosh hardware engineering, is assuming his responsibilities.”
So it looks like Bob Mansfield will be taking over Papermaster’s role at Apple, though there is no word if this is a permanent move or if Apple will be looking to fill an open spot at the company.
It’s unclear whether it was Papermaster’s decision to leave the company, or if he was fired by Apple. However, John Gruber of Daring Fireball says:
From what I’ve heard, it’s clear he was canned. Papermaster was a conspicuous absence at the Antennagate press conference. Inside Apple, he’s “the guy responsible for the antenna” — that’s a quote from a source back on July 23. (Another quote from the same source: “Apparently the antenna guys used to have a big chip on their shoulder. No more.”)
If this is true, we’d certainly expect to hear it from Cupertino within the coming week that a major executive was let go. And if Papermaster really was the guy responsible for the iPhone 4’s antenna, I’m sure he was feeling a lot of heat as soon as the flaw in the design was revealed.
At this point, all we can do is speculate, but it is sad to see the Apple exec leave after such a huge battle against IBM in order to do his work with Steve Jobs & Co.