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A Massachusetts court has ruled that new HP Enterprise Storage and Servers executive David Donatelli can work for Hewlett-Packard. But during his first year, Donatelli will have to focus on the latter part of his organization's solutions. Storage work is out until May of 2010.

That's because Donatelli comes to HP from storage rival EMC, where he signed a non-compete clause promising to forgo employment at any competitor. EMC filed for an injunction to block Donatelli's hiring as soon as it was made public. The suit took three weeks to clear the the Suffolk County Superior Court of Massachusetts. The result is that Donatelli will have lots more focus on less-familiar duties managing server business.

HP revised Donatelli's job title to executive vice president of Enterprise Servers and Networking, rather than executive VP of the larger HP organization ESS. He will report directly to executive vice president of the Technology Solutions Group Ann Livermore until next year, when the court's 1-year ban on storage work is lifted.

HP said in a statement the court order satisfies the vendor, since it didn't see Donatelli's hiring blocked, and he'll have an immediate job running HP's server business. Those operations, which include the HP 3000 alternatives HP-UX, Integrity servers and Windows systems, saw a 29 percent drop in sales during HP's second quarter.

"HP is pleased with the court's recent decision, and looks forward to the contributions Donatelli will make to HP's business."

California courts don't recognize non-compete clauses such as the one Donatelli signed. His lawyer argued that he should be able to move to California and escape his non-compete.