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IBM goes judicial over second strategic exec exit

Dell bracketed with Apple

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IBM has apparently moved to block a second strategically important employee from joining a systems competitor.

The giant is reportedly suing to stop former mergers-and-acquisitions chief David Johnson from joining Dell, the world's joint second largest provider of PCs.

IBM claimed Johnson's new position at Dell violates an agreement restricting his employment with rivals. The company said Johnson was in possession of "valuable confidential information" that prevents him from undertaking a senior strategy position at Dell.

Dell dismissed "characterizations" of his role at the company as speculative, adding it respects the trade secrets and intellectual property of others." Johnson is a 27-year IBM veteran.

The suit follows an IBM action started in November 2008 against Mark Papermaster who'd joined Apple as head of iPod and iPhone engineering. Papermaster had served in a variety of roles at IBM during 25 years, and worked on IBM's BladeCenter server line and Power microprocessor architecture and technology. The suit was settled in January, with the companies agreeing Papermaster "shall not use or disclose any IBM confidential information." ®

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