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General Counsel Donald Rosenberg’s sudden exit from Apple Inc. shook Silicon Valley Friday � as did the news that his high-profile replacement is Oracle Corp.’s Daniel Cooperman. But legal observers say they’re not surprised Rosenberg is leaving after just 10 months, speculating that the Silicon Valley company just wasn’t the best fit for the longtime IBM lawyer. “Apple is just such a Silicon Valley, cutting-edge company � my sense is that the cultural fit for someone from an old-line tech company might have not been the best,” said Anna Marie Armstrong, a GC recruiter with Mlegal Consulting Inc. in San Francisco. “They just needed someone who was born and raised in Silicon Valley.” Cooperman is a longtime Valley denizen. In a press release, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that Cooperman will “fit right into Apple’s fast paced culture.” But Rosenberg, who joined Apple last fall as the company grappled with stock option backdating trouble, isn’t headed back to the East Coast: He’ll stay in California at San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc., a company with its own share of legal troubles. Meanwhile, Oracle promoted one of its own, Dorian Daley, to fill Cooperman’s spot. Having worked for 10 years for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, observers say Cooperman will be a good fit at Apple, where Jobs has a similar reputation as strong-willed and obsessive.
Oracle Corp.New GC: Dorian DaleyLawyers in Calif.: About 50Market Cap: $111 billionCurrent Go-To Firms: Davis Polk & Wardwell; Latham & Watkins; Cooley Godward; Bingham McCutchen On Her Plate: Lingering shareholder litigation; trade secret theft claims against competitor SAP.

Or, as Robert Major, a longtime GC recruiter with Major, Lindsey & Africa, put it: “The people that he works for are both known to be very demanding and have very high standards.” Rosenberg’s move to Qualcomm also makes sense, said Spencer Hosie of Hosie McArthur, who is representing Burst.com in ongoing patent litigation against Apple. “He was GC at IBM where patents were a wonderful thing and a great source of revenue,” said Hosie. “At Apple, patents are at best a nuisance, and at worst a real impediment to the company to move forward with its iPod platform � and I suspect that’s why he went where he went.” Apple did not respond to questions about why Rosenberg left the company. MONEY MONEY MONEY Judging by Rosenberg’s stock package at Apple, Qualcomm likely had to shell out to obtain his services. Shortly after Rosenberg joined the iPod maker, the company awarded him 200,000 shares of restricted stock, according to SEC filings.

Apple Corp.New GC: Daniel CoopermanLawyers in Calif.: About 40 Market Cap: $134 billionCurrent Go-To Firms: Wilson Sonsini; Fenwick & West; O’Melveny & Myers On His Plate: Continuing fallout over backdated options, including shareholder suits; various consumer suits over ear buds, battery life claims and alleged product defects; antitrust litigation in the U.S. related to iTunes; negotiations with European antitrust officials related to iTunes.

Based on where the stock was trading on Friday afternoon, that grant is worth roughly $30.6 million. However, none of the stock has vested; Rosenberg had to be at the company until at least Dec. 1, the one-year anniversary of the stock grant, in order to get the first 25 percent of the stock. Rosenberg had worked for IBM for more than 30 years before joining Apple, holding various positions in the legal department there. Cooperman has done well at Oracle, too: Cooperman joined three other Oracle executives in cashing out shares and options last week, days after the company announced continued strong financial results. Cooperman cashed in over 225,000 options last Tuesday and Wednesday, netting him a profit of nearly $3 million, public filings show. That’s on top of roughly $2.7 million in profit Cooperman made from options he cashed out earlier in the year. Cooperman joined Oracle in 1997 from what is now Bingham McCutchen, where he was managing partner of the firm’s San Jose office. Oracle’s new GC, Daley, was an associate at Landels, Ripley & Diamond for five years before joining the company in the commercial and IP litigation group as corporate counsel in 1992. In 2001, Daley took over the commercial and IP litigation group, becoming associate general counsel and later, vice president. LEGAL CHALLENGES AHEAD Both Rosenberg and Cooperman are headed to companies where they’ll have more than their fair share of legal action. Qualcomm is engaged in a broad array of litigation against rival Broadcom Corp., along with other companies. The company’s longtime General Counsel Louis Lupin departed in August for “personal” reasons. Former San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam was named as Lupin’s interim replacement.

Qualcomm Corp.New GC: Donald RosenbergLawyers in Calif.: About 40Market Cap: $71 billionCurrent Go-To Firms: Cooley Godward, DLA PiperOn His Plate: A series of high-stakes patent disputes with key competitors including Broadcom and Nokia; potential sanctions stemming from its failure to produce documents in patent litigation with Broadcom; antitrust complaints in Europe.

At the time of Lupin’s departure Qualcomm had suffered a host of litigation defeats, and in one, a San Diego judge found that “Qualcomm counsel participated in an organized program of litigation misconduct and concealment.” The company and its outside counsel in that case are facing possible sanctions. “I think Don is going to fit in very well at Qualcomm, and he’s going to be a terrific general counsel,” Lam said Friday. “We welcome him warmly.” Apple has had its own troubles. Rosenberg’s predecessor at Apple, Nancy Heinen, had abruptly left the company in May 2006, and the SEC filed civil charges against her in connection with stock option backdating this past April. Her lawyers have argued that she did not break the law. W. Jon Escher, a recruiter with Solutus Legal Search in Silicon Valley, said that it isn’t a good idea to choose a general counsel as a fix for one vexing problem. “I do think that it demonstrates that companies should not hire general counsel just to relieve the crisis of the moment,” he said. “It’s more important to focus on the long-term responsibilities that a GC will have.” Cooperman declined to comment through an assistant and Rosenberg did not return phone calls. Representatives from Apple declined to comment beyond its press release. Oracle also had no further comment beyond its announcement. Representatives from Qualcomm did not return phone calls.

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