Is Apple Getting Into the Chip Business?

A brewing battle between Apple Inc. and its frenemy, IBM Corp., over the role of an executive who at one time managed Big Blue’s PowerPC chip business may be an early sign that the Silicon Valley wunderkind is considering designing some of its own semiconductors. On Tuesday, Apple said it was hiring Mark Papermaster from IBM as a senior vice president of devices hardware engineering. Apple made the hire despite a lawsuit last week by Big Blue against Papermaster. IBM (IBM) wants to keep him from working at Apple (AAPL) for a year, because of the sensitive information Papermaster is believed to have on its chip business, especially the PowerPC processor, which the companies developed together nearly 20 years ago.

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