Apple Exec Quits Amid iPhone Antenna Problems

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The head of the company’s iPod and iPhone hardware department has left the organisation

A senior Apple executive has left the company in a move which is believed to be related to the antenna issues which have marred the launch of the company’s latest iPhone.

It emerged this weekend that Mark Papermaster was leaving Apple but the company has so far refused to confirm the reasons behind the move. Apple has not comment on whether the former-IBM exec had resigned or was pushed out over the antenna problems which have plagued the iPhone 4.

Legal Tussle With IBM

Papermaster, head of Apple’s iPhone and iPod hardware engineering department since 2009, was embroiled in some controversy when he joined the company following a protracted legal tussle with IBM over the terms of his employment. IBM maintained that his decision to join Apple contravened the terms of his employment.

This weekend, a spokesperson for Apple told the BBC that Papermaster’s responsibilities would be taken on by Bob Mansfield, who heads up the company’s Macintosh products.

The antenna issues with the iPhone 4 emerged shortly after the device was launched in June. In early July, the company responded to a number of law-suits regarding the fault by admitting there was a problem, but blamed a faulty algorithm instead of the hardware itself. Chief executive Steve Jobs went on to defend the reliability of the device but announced that customers would receive a free case to help reduce the reception problems that some users had experienced.

Green IT Development

Papermaster took on the iPod and iPhone division from Apple veteran Tony Fadell, who contributed greatly to the creation of both devices. Fadell said at the time that he was leaving Apple to pursue opportunities in green IT. ”My primary focus will be helping the environment by working with consumer green-tech companies,” he said. “I’m determined to tell my kids and grandkids amazing stories beyond my iPod and iPhone ones.”

The Apple exec’s departure this weekend coincides with the resignation of HP’s chief executive. Mark Hurd quit the company amid allegations of sexual harassment and problems with his expenses claims.

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