Cisco hires Apple's former iPhone chief Mark Papermaster

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Cisco announced Friday that it has hired Mark Papermaster, the former Apple executive who headed up the company's iPhone and iPod division before reportedly being ousted in August.

Papermaster's 2008 arrival at Apple was the subject of controversy. Apple had recruited Papermaster away from IBM, where he served as VP of microprocessor technology development. IBM promptly responded with a lawsuit alleging Papermaster was in violation of his non-compete agreement.

Court documents revealed that Papermaster, who was suggested by Apple VP Mark Mansfield as a "long shot" for the iPhone and iPod position, had been a secondary pick during Apple's year-long search to replace 'iPod father' Tony Fadell. Apple and IBM eventually reached a settlement requiring Papermaster to check in with IBM regularly to notify them that he hadn't revealed any confidential information.

After less than two years at Apple, Papermaster left his position at the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPhone maker. Apple announced his departure in August, but declined to say whether he left of his own accord or was asked to leave. With Apple having recently weathered the iPhone 4 antenna controversy, dubbed 'Antennagate,' pundits speculated that Papermaster had taken the blame for it.

However, sources told The Wall Street Journal that Papermaster's departure came because of a "falling out" with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. According to the report, Papermaster "had lost the confidence" of Jobs several months prior to his departure and was seen as incompatible with Apple's corporate culture. The report also noted that Papermaster had joined Apple while Jobs was on sick leave and may have been "ill-prepared" for Jobs' return.

Papermaster has joined Cisco Systems as its vice president of its silicon switching technology group, Reuters reports.

Interestingly enough, Cisco happens to 'share' the iPhone trademark with Apple, as a result of a settlement over a trademark dispute. That fact, however, likely has no bearing on Papermaster's role at Cisco.