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Cisco hires iPhone 'antenna-gate' exec

Cisco Systems hires the former Apple exec in charge of design and engineering for the gadget that sparked an infamous PR debacle for Steve Jobs and Co.

Cisco Systems has hired the former Apple executive in charge of design and engineering for the iPhone 4--the gadget that sparked a PR headache for Steve Jobs and Co. when its supposedly innovative antenna design proved problematic.

Mark Papermaster, 49, will oversee the creation of chips for Cisco's networking switches, an area of the company's business that accounted for a third of its total revenue in the third quarter, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The iPhone "antenna-gate" debacle eventually led to a high-profile press conference at which Apple announced it would provide free "bumper cases" to owners of the device. The cases helped prevent reception problems caused by an unconventional wraparound antenna that could be inadvertently blocked by users' hands.

The saga accounted for a bit of egg on the face of design-world darling Jobs--who in a sense was forced to slap a Band-Aid across the face of his latest supermodel gadget--and it may have been a factor in Papermaster's departure.

The executive's coming had been as unsmooth as his going: Apple had to tussle with IBM to hire Papermaster back in 2008.

On Thursday, Cisco announced its earnings and was cautious with revenue projections, owing, in part, to a drop in government spending.

Papermaster joined Cisco on Monday and will report to John McCool, the head of the company's data center, switching, and services group, the Journal reported.