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Apple plays lawyer musical chairs with Oracle, Qualcomm

Oracle's former general counsel is heading to Apple, replacing Donald Rosenberg as he leaves to take the top legal spot at Qualcomm.

Having overseen Apple's carefully planned steps through the stock-options backdating mess, Donald Rosenberg's ready for a new challenge.

Donald Rosenberg's leaving Apple for new pastures at Qualcomm. Apple

Rosenberg will resign as Apple's general counsel to take the same position at Qualcomm, the companies announced Friday. Apple is hiring Daniel Cooperman, Oracle's general counsel, to take his place effective November 1.

Qualcomm is giving Rosenberg a fancier title (executive VP, as compared with senior) and arguably a bigger legal challenge than Apple faced heading off stock-options investigators. Qualcomm, which controls almost all of the technology used in cell phone networking chips, is in the middle of legal disputes with Broadcom and Nokia over patents. The International Trade Commission banned imports of phones using Qualcomm's chips as part of the patent dispute with Broadcom, although that ruling was later stayed by an appellate court. He'll hit the ground running, replacing Lou Lupin, who resigned last month.

Daniel Cooperman will be the new head lawyer at Apple, starting in November. Oracle

Rosenberg was hired in November 2006 after Apple's general counsel position was vacated by the departure of Nancy Heinen in May of that year. Heinen and former Apple CFO Fred Anderson have been implicated by the SEC as the masterminds behind Apple's stock-options backdating problems. Last year, outside investigators hired by Apple did not find any evidence of wrongdoing by current members of Apple's management team, including CEO Steve Jobs.

Cooperman's no stranger to Silicon Valley courtrooms, either, having most recently filed suit against SAP alleging that an SAP subsidiary stole documents from Oracle. But with Jobs facing a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission to testify as part of its case against Heinen, he'll also be busy right off the bat.