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Papermaster's Apple exit a result of falling out with Steve Jobs


Mark Papermaster's departure from Apple is said to be a result of "cultural incompatibility" and losing the trust of Chief Executive Steve Jobs, and not solely a result of the iPhone 4 "antennagate."

According to sources who spoke with The Wall Street Journal, Papermaster's departure came as a result of a "falling out" with Jobs. How much the iPhone 4 antenna controversy played a part in his exit was said to be "unclear," as those anonymous sources said the departure was chiefly a result of "cultural incompatibility."

"Mr. Papermaster had lost the confidence of Mr. Jobs months ago and hasn't been part of the decision-making process for some time, these people said," authors Yukari Iwatani Kane and Ian Sherr wrote. "They added that Mr. Papermaster didn't appear to have the type of creative thinking expected at Apple and wasn't used to Apple's corporate culture, where even senior executives are expected to keep on top of the smallest details of their areas of responsibility and often have to handle many tasks directly, as opposed to delegating them."

Apple revealed on Saturday that Papermaster, the head of its iPod and iPhone division, had departed the company. Apple recruited Papermaster away from IBM less than 2 years ago, and was not the iPhone maker's ideal pick for the position.

The report noted that Jobs, not Papermaster, decided to move forward with the development of a new iPhone with an external antenna despite allegedly knowing about the signal degradation caused by touching the external metal band. That conflicts with the official line from Apple, as the company has claimed that it only learned of the iPhone 4 antenna issue after the product was released.

Separately, John Gruber of Daring Fireball said he was told that Papermaster was viewed internally at Apple as "the guy responsible for the antenna." He also indicated that the signal loss issue when holding the phone was allegedly filed two years ago.

"This is not a problem they didn't catch, or caught too late," he wrote. "So, on one hand, clearly the fundamental antenna design predated Papermaster's time at the company. But on the other hand, there was plenty of time to find a solution to the problem."

In addition, the New York Times reported that Papermaster was pushed out after a number of hardware-related problems, "including some related to the iPod touch." That could be a reference to last year's iPod touch refresh, which was originally planned to include a camera. But that feature was scrapped due to bad parts with the obtained camera modules.

The Journal noted that Papermaster joined Apple when Jobs was on sick leave, and he joined at a time when executives had freedom to make decisions. It said that Papermaster "was likely ill-prepared" for the return of Jobs, who is known for taking a hands-on approach in his management style.

"Mr. Papermaster's departure shows how difficult it can be for an outsider to succeed at Apple," the report said. "While some of the company's top executives who came from other corporations have thrived—notably Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who was previously at Compaq Computer Corp., and retail chief Ron Johnson, who joined from Target Corp.—others haven't fared as well. For instance, Apple has gone through general counsels that it hired from IBM and Oracle Corp. since 2006."