Head of Apple's Device Hardware division makes sudden exit

Apple's Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering, Mark Papermaster, has reportedly left the company following the disastrous (but nonexistent) iPhone 4 antenna issues.

Papermaster joined Apple in November 2008, following the stepping down of Tony Fadell earlier in the month, but was soon ordered to cease work at the Cupertino-based technology giant after IBM, Papermaster's previous employer, claimed he broke a clause in his contract which stated he couldn't work for any competitors (despite Apple saying it wasn't one) for at least a year after leaving.

As part of a resolution that was eventually made in January between Apple and IBM, Papermaster was unable to work at Apple until April 2009, and Papermaster was forced to contact the courts to make sure IBM's secrets weren't being told at Apple.

Apple won't comment on the circumstances surrounding Papermaster's decision to leave, but from what Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has heard, it seems as if Papermaster was forced to leave the company after the outcry over the much-publicized iPhone 4's antenna issues.

"From what I’ve [Gruber] heard, it’s clear he was canned," Gruber wrote today. "Inside Apple, he’s 'the guy responsible for the antenna'." 

Notably at the company's press conference to deal with the antenna problem last month, Papermaster was not present -- instead the man expected to be his replacement, Bob Mansfield, the senior vice president of Macintosh hardware engineering, was there answering questions about the problems.

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45 Comments

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If there is any blame to be dish out, it ought to go at the media. The media, especially the U.S. media blew the issue way out of proportion. There are plentiful of global users who are with U.S. iPhone 4 (probably jb'ed) using it outside the U.S. and not having the 'death grip' issue.

It goes to prove once again how bad the cellular infrastructure of AT&T is. And once again, the media has been so quiet about it. Makes one wonders the 'relationships' behind the scene between the telco and media.

I'm sure everyone on the iPhone team knew of the issue all the way up to Steve Jobs. There has to be at least one guy on the development team that is left handed. This guy based on his resume is a very intelligent person.

Intelligent people tend to get rail-roaded when there manager tells them to do something to save a dollar rather than creating a proper implementation. Bottom line hes the fall guy.

Nonexistant antenna issues? Tell that to the $30 bumper that I got so I could have reliable data service while holding the phone.

well well.....you do the fantastic work...."Steve dick head Jobs" takes the credit.....and when it all goes wrong....you get fired......I can't believe tech community actually ignores Job's arrogance and dictatorship....has anyone ever heard Steve Jobs apoligizing to anyone for anything?

Apple fanboys will say this is over reaction...but when you are Apple, unless you provide evidance...you are guilty....so unless Apple says why this guy was fired...people has every right to believe whatever they believe.

A shame, because despite the supposed problems, the iPhone 4 is clearly the best looking phone on the market right now.

Non existent antenna issues? Don't make me laugh. It's a sure bet that he was "asked to leave" over the debacle!

Raa said,
Non existent antenna issues? Don't make me laugh. It's a sure bet that he was "asked to leave" over the debacle!

It's irrelevant here whether or not the issues were blown out of proportion; this whole phone launch has been a PR nightmare for Apple.

Mike Brown said,

It's irrelevant here whether or not the issues were blown out of proportion; this whole phone launch has been a PR nightmare for Apple.

I totally agree. They certainly didn't handle this one very well.

Wait, he couldnt of gotten fired or left because of the antenna issues and then the light leak in the white iPhone or poor wifi performance in the iPad. I mean, Jobs said that there was nothing wrong with these devices.

Sarcasm aside, doesnt surprise me a bit. Maybe people will open their eyes more and see that Apple products are not pullet proof and perfect as the company and its users claim. Jobs flat out lied to millions and most accepted it.

techbeck said,
Maybe people will open their eyes more and see that Apple products are not pullet proof and perfect as the company and its users claim. Jobs flat out lied to millions and most accepted it.

I don't remember anyone saying the products are perfect. But alright, let's say that people do "open their eyes", bearing in mind that it was people who complained about the antenna in the first place. Does that mean they should accept the imperfection?

Sacked by Apple. Poor guy! wait a minute. I am sure he will get some severance packages.

Antenna problem nonexistent? Just a flat straight lie. If you lie once, you lie for life. Apple can not be trusted. Did anyone notice they put a clear coating layer on iPhone week 28. This temporarily solves the problem. But what if that coating layer got peeled out as the time goes by?

It's simple, Jobs said himself that people were holding it incorrectly. Clearly, he held it correctly so he never ran into the issue. >.>

I think either scapegoat or maybe he resigned because he DID bring up the antenna issue to Jobs and Jobs did do anything about it.

I find it hard to believe that Jobs didn't use the phone well before the release and tell that there was a problem with the antenna.

Shadrack said,
I think either scapegoat or maybe he resigned because he DID bring up the antenna issue to Jobs and Jobs did do anything about it.

I find it hard to believe that Jobs didn't use the phone well before the release and tell that there was a problem with the antenna.

He probably got fired for saying "I told you so"

kryten said,
Did you even READ the article? He left on his own.

Companies will allow people to do that so they dont have to say they were "fired".

Funniest thing is the Samsung captivate a new popular phone has this same issue and I don't see anyone giving a fuss or the head guy getting fired =/
I don't buy that many apple products but I find that people like to pick on apple for mistakes that others have made in the past or are making in the present, I don't think this guy shoulda lost his job for all this..

danisflying527 said,
Funniest thing is the Samsung captivate a new popular phone has this same issue and I don't see anyone giving a fuss or the head guy getting fired =/
I don't buy that many apple products but I find that people like to pick on apple for mistakes that others have made in the past or are making in the present, I don't think this guy shoulda lost his job for all this..
Its not the fact that of them picking on Apple its the simple issue that the iPhone is such a HUGELY used Mobile SmartPhone that has an issue. Not alot of people use Samsungs compaired to Apples product so of course you can expect to see more fuss over this phone than samsungs phone even if the same concept of an issue is at fault.

danisflying527 said,
Funniest thing is the Samsung captivate a new popular phone has this same issue and I don't see anyone giving a fuss or the head guy getting fired =/
I don't buy that many apple products but I find that people like to pick on apple for mistakes that others have made in the past or are making in the present, I don't think this guy shoulda lost his job for all this..

That's because Samsung produces many different phones. If one have a problem, just get a different model.

What the hell kinda Lastname is Papermaster? Did his granddad owned a paper factory or something? I swear, people are just putting caca together for names.

vice le von said,
What the hell kinda Lastname is Papermaster? Did his granddad owned a paper factory or something? I swear, people are just putting caca together for names.

I know someone whos last name is Swackhammer

Ouch. Still, thought it had been Jobs' decision to use the broken antenna despite everyone's advice not too. Still, you never know.

amon91 said,
Ouch. Still, thought it had been Jobs' decision to use the broken antenna despite everyone's advice not too. Still, you never know.

Well, nobody has the guts to fire the Almighty Jobs, so somebody else has to be the scapegoat.

amon91 said,
Ouch. Still, thought it had been Jobs' decision to use the broken antenna despite everyone's advice not too. Still, you never know.

What evidence do you have that Jobs had any say other than, "I'll let you handle the details - but if you screw up your balls are on the chopping block"? I swear some here some how believe that Steve is some sort of omnipresent God who knows and sees everything that happens within Apple.

wait....does that mean there are people apart from Steve Jobs at Apple who has decisive say in things? Or Steve employs them to fire them for his own mistake....poor people...if that is true...that has to be the saddest job in the world......

dhaval001 said,
wait....does that mean there are people apart from Steve Jobs at Apple who has decisive say in things? Or Steve employs them to fire them for his own mistake....poor people...if that is true...that has to be the saddest job in the world......

It's like this at all companies. There's a hierarchy of decisions. The CEO never has detail knowledge in how all work is proceeding.

dhaval001 said,
wait....does that mean there are people apart from Steve Jobs at Apple who has decisive say in things? Or Steve employs them to fire them for his own mistake....poor people...if that is true...that has to be the saddest job in the world......

Sad, but well paid...

What I find dumb is that it seems all the blame was placed on him, as if he was the who designed the hardware on his own from start to finish.

reidtheweed01 said,
What I find dumb is that it seems all the blame was placed on him, as if he was the who designed the hardware on his own from start to finish.

But he was the manager who signed off on it - a person just doesn't create something without a person further up signing off on it.The question is how much pressure was put on him to create something revolutionary by those further above the hardware manager or whether it was a gamble he was taking hopeing if it paid off he would come out the winner (promotion, bonus etc.). Never underestimate the power of the ego to push people to do stupid things.

Ouch, sucked to be that guy. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Someone was bound to pay the ultimate price over the "non-existent" antenna issue. Wouldn't be shocked if others have as well, or will be.