Mere days after news broke that Apple would be pinching one of IBM's top execs to head up its iPod division, comes word that the long arm of the law may just nab him back.

Mark Papermaster's move from IBM to Apple has been put on hold by a US District Court, which says he appears to be in violation of a non-compete agreement he signed with Big Blue.

Competition is real

Explaining the block, District Judge Kenneth said Papermaster must, "immediately cease his employment with Apple until further order of this court."

Apple and its new executive had previously argued that IBM and Apple target very different markets – business and consumers, respectively – and so were not, in fact, competitors.

New uniform

Papermaster has until 18 November to prepare his objections if he wishes to challenge the ruling. Until then, the jeans and black polo neck must remain in the cupboard.