Cisco has hired the man responsible for Apple’s famed “Antennagate” issues—Mark Papermaster, 49, has joined the company as vice president of Cisco’s Silicon Switching Technology Group, which oversees the various chips that the company develops for its hardware switches. It’s a profitable business for Cisco, as switches make up a significant portion of the company’s overall revenue stream.
That said, Papermaster is likely looking to keep his name out of the press for any hardware upsets this time around. The former senior vice president of devices hardware engineering for Apple left the company in August of this year, a year and change after his arrival at Apple in April of 2009 (following a protracted legal battle with former employer IBM.)
It’s unclear whether Papermaster’s departure was the result of a cultural incompatibility within Apple or due to the simple fact that the iPhone 4 suffered a gentle reaming in the public eye from the alleged antenna issues users reported when trying to hold the device and make calls. So much so, that Apple itself decided to offer all purchasers of the iPhone 4 a free wraparound bumper shortly after the device’s release in an effort to staunch users’ signal loss issues.
Papermaster himself reportedly lost the confidence of Steve Jobs after the Apple CEO returned to the company following his recovery from a liver transplant in early 2009. Part of that has been attributed to Apple’s corporate culture, according to undisclosed sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal.
At Apple, senior executives don’t have as much room for delegation as other companies, for it’s expected that those on the top will process even the tiniest details within their realms of control. The same sources indicated that perhaps this wasn’t Papermaster’s strong suit—as well, they claim he lacked the kind of creative thinking Apple propagates.
Regardless, Cisco needs its best captains to face the stormy sea of sales challenges that lie before it. The company recently took a huge hit to its stock price as a result of its most recent earnings announcement. Although Cisco announced greater earnings as compared to the previous quarter, investors punished Cisco for a 48 percent drop in its state government contracts quarter-to-quarter and a 35 percent drop in orders from cable operators, to name a few of Cisco’s admitted challenges. The company’s expected second-quarter revenue was approximately $1 billion under Wall Street projections.
As a result, investors sent the stock plummeting 16 percent –the biggest loss the company’s seen since July of 1994. That’s not the best financial omen for a company that’s widely touted as a bellwether stock of the technology industry.