Big Shrink to “Hire” 25,000 in the US, as Layoffs Pile Up

IBM is in trouble and desperate hype is apparently required.

The last thing IBM needs is ending up on the receiving end of a Presidential tweet. So, to forestall this event, it announced in December that it would “hire” 25,000 workers in the US. But current and already laid-off workers are now pooh-poohing this promise.

IBM is in trouble. Revenues in the fourth quarter fell to $21.8 billion, the 19th quarter in a row of year-over-year declines, IBM reported last week. Annual revenues fell 2% in 2016, the fifth year in a row of declines that none of the executive hype has managed to stem. These annual revenue declines add up. In 2016, revenues were down 25% from the peak in 2011:

But IBM bravely asserted, as it does every quarter, that revenues from its new “strategic initiatives” were increasing and that therefore its future was bright. Its “strategic imperatives revenue” – its cloud and artificial intelligence business, including its wonder-brand Watson – rose 13% for the year. But it wasn’t enough. It hasn’t been enough in five years to paper over the relentless revenue debacles in its other operations.

So, to placate stock and bond markets, IBM is touting its expense reduction efforts, such as laying off workers in the US and offshoring work to cheaper countries. IBM has been doing this for years.

Some nasty tongues are claiming that this could be the path to irrelevance. Slashing staff to prop up investor enthusiasm during a revenue decline creates a downward spiral, whereby productive people get cut, and thus revenue drops further, and because revenue drops further, more people get cut, and so on, year after year.

But at the end of last year, IBM woke up in a new world. And it was time to issue some corporate propaganda, squarely aimed at the new administration – but not, for crying out loud, at the analysts, who’d get the opposite fare to please them during the conference calls (more on that in a moment).

In an opinion piece in the USA Today on December 13, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty announced the big hiring plans. “New collar” jobs, she called them:

At IBM alone, we have thousands of open positions at any given moment, and we intend to hire about 25,000 professionals in the next four years in the United States, 6,000 of those in 2017. IBM will also invest $1 billion in training and development of our U.S. employees in the next four years.

She said “hire,” not “create jobs.” IBM hires people all the time as part of the normal turnover. She didn’t promise to increase IBM’s workforce in the US by 25,000. Surely, IBM’s lawyers parsed her draft with a fine-toothed comb before it was published.

And she forgot to mention that IBM has been laying off workers and off-shoring many of the jobs to cheaper countries even as laid-off employees claim they get to train their overseas replacements. The way she put it: “We are hiring because the nature of work is evolving.”

But IBM tries to keep layoffs out of the media. Bloomberg:

Today, Big Blue gets rid of people quietly and in smaller batches, former and current employees say. The firings have become so commonplace, they say, that many workers are resigned to losing their jobs and simply wait for their names to be called. Then, many are asked to train potential replacements overseas.

These new people that need to be trained are in China, India, and Argentina, among other places. IBM even touts these cost cuts to analysts. During a conference call, CFO Martin Schroeter said that IBM would improve its narrowing profit margins in 2017, partly based on “savings we have from workforce rebalancing as we continue to remix the workforce.”

What exactly this “workforce rebalancing” and “remix” mean does trickle out, via former and current employees. Bloomberg:

In late November, IBM completed at least its third round of firings in 2016, according to former and current employees. They don’t know how many people have lost their jobs but say it’s probably in the thousands, with many of the positions shipped to Asia and Eastern Europe.

The firings – known internally as “resource actions” – have continued into the new year [emphasis added]. This month, IBM started notifying more U.S. workers that they would be let go, according to a current employee, who says colleagues in the services business are bracing for further rounds.

So IBM trots out the big IFs. Spokesman Doug Shelton told Bloomberg about hiring those 25,000 people as the layoffs would also continue: “If we are able to fill these positions,” he said, and that could be a big IF, if IBM doesn’t want to fill the positions, “we expect IBM U.S. employment to be up over that period.”

Up by 10? By 1,000? He didn’t say. But even then, only if

IBM employees who’re getting the layoff notices remain a cynical bunch and refuse to buy into the hype. Bloomberg:

Rometty’s hiring pledge prompted current and former IBM workers to vent on message boards and Facebook groups. Some complained that the new recruiting drive wouldn’t offset jobs sent overseas in recent years. Others said Rometty had neglected to mention whether and how many people would be fired in the meantime. Some urged online communities to contact the Trump transition team and educate his aides about IBM’s history of layoffs and outsourcing.

To keep everyone in the dark about its layoffs and dwindling workforce in the US, IBM no longer discloses its US headcount. But the top-down pressure to trim the US workforce continues. Bloomberg:

For example, early last year, the technology services division aimed to have just 30% of permanent employees located in the U.S. by the end of 2016, according to two former managers, who received the information from superiors. Later in the year, the target had been reduced to 20%, said one of the people, who asked not to be named to discuss internal matters.

So in this new era, one thing among all the uncertainties is becoming clear and certain: corporate propaganda is taking on new and even more elegant forms.

“Ginni Rometty is terminating thousands of IT workers and touting herself as some hero who’s out to hire 25,000 workers,” says Sara Blackwell, a Sarasota, Florida-based lawyer and advocate for Protect U.S. Workers, who represents about 100 IBM ex-employees who have filed discrimination and other complaints. “To me, that’s hypocritical.”

Over the years, IBM has been aggressively buying back its own shares and funding those buybacks with more debt, though it recently was forced by its deteriorating balance sheet to back off. Other companies have stepped into the void, and Fitch Ratings is getting nervous about their bonds. Read…  What Will Prick the “Leveraged Share Buyback” Craze?

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  114 comments for “Big Shrink to “Hire” 25,000 in the US, as Layoffs Pile Up

  1. I’ll address just one tiny part of the article that made me reminisce :

    This quote : “Slashing staff to prop up investor enthusiasm during a revenue decline creates a downward spiral, whereby productive people get cut, and thus revenue drops further, and because revenue drops further, more people get cut, and so on, year after year.”

    Scott Adams called it “Brightsizing” . . . because it is not about rats leaving a sinking ship, but rather this — when the company becomes bad or unproductive or tainted ( fill in your own descriptor here ) , THE BRIGHT ONES LEAVE FIRST, (i) because they can and (2) because they are bright enough to understand what is happening.

    Presumably, it is then the dullards that remain. Do not blame me for this theory, it has just stuck with me since there were several Dilbert Strips on the topic.


    • Suzie Alcatrez says:

      IBM layoff the older employees, the young smart ines are kept around. For a few more years, that is.

    • Petunia says:

      I survived two big layoffs at two different companies and it taught me loyalty is a one way street in corporate America. Always do what’s best for you, because in the end they won’t care about what you’ve done for them.

  2. Paulo says:

    It sounds absolutely terrible for the IBM workforce. It is so disheartening to work for a company in decline, and for one that you don’t trust because it lies so often.

    I remember many years ago being laid off on November 24th so the company would not have to pay my Christmas and Boxing Day statutory holiday. I was 24 years old, with a wife, small child, and new mortgage. All I said to the ‘owner’ (who took great pleasure in the action) was, “Merry Christmas”. (You should have seen his face when I did that. But, it only lasted for an instant as he was an inherently evil person). He was out to break our Union by attacking our spirits. It didn’t work, but I moved away anyway; onwards, and upwards. It remains, to this day, a terrible place to work because of the owners and managers. (Talk about high turnover!!)

    When you work for mean-spirited corporations or like individuals, it never does improve. The only suggestion I have for people in that situation is to make concrete plans to ‘get out’ before you are another casuality and statistic. Those who stay will find that backbiting and manipulating co-workers take the joy out of the job in any event. It certainly does not bring out the best in people.

    Those corporate leaders who portray such a misleading reality must truly be psychopaths. Imagine, having to ‘train’ your replacement. The only time I have done that is when I retired and did so solely because I wanted to leave on a high note and see the organization continue to prosper. If I was ‘forced’ to do such a thing I would have no hesitation to do my best at damaging what I could. Let me correct that statement. I simply would not train my replacement if I was shafted….ever.

    Warning. When you make plans to leave an organization like IBM you have to be very very careful. If they suspect you are making plans to leave they will ‘get you’ before you can act. I’m sure we have all been witness to this kind of behaviour.

    • SaveUs says:

      My Dad was quite a character. He was a steel fabrication / machinist inspector for a large company. He had made up his mind to retire in six months. When the owner of the company found this out he called my Dad up to his office. The owner said well Jim I hear you are going to retire so I was thinking that you could pick a young fellow in the fabrication / machine shop and train him to take over your inspection duties. My Dad said as a matter of fact I have a person that would be good for the job. My Dad then said are you going to pay me a little extra to train him? The owner said no Jim it is part of your duty. My Dad said well I not going to train him. The owner then said: Jim you are not being a team player and I am wondering why you are here. My Dad said I’m here because it is close to home. He retired after six more months.

      • robt says:

        Examples like this demonstrate why it’s so difficult and often disappointing to be an employer or manager.

        • BradK says:

          Not nearly as disappointing as it is to be the employee of such a manager, one who views you only as a disposable “human” resource. Institutional knowledge — like loyalty — is rarely valued by the taskmasters, at least not until its gone.

          Then again, the MBAs who put the notion and process in place are usually off to greener pastures by the time reality sets in.

      • West says:

        I’m siding against your dad on this one. He should have been willing to train the young apprentice on this own volition, because he was retiring. This is totally different from training your replacement where you are losing your job unwillingly.

        If I was the employer, I’d have likely had him retire that day.

        • West says:

          BradK – Institutional knowledge is extremely overrated, IME it is spouted off by those who believe they have some magic potion and if they share it, they’ll lose their magic touch.

          Nothing in this country, or any company, is above the learning potential of a talented person with desire to learn it.

          We can this kind of management SILOS, and I’ve been part of companies where silos caused the entire company to fail.

        • d says:

          “Nothing in this country, or any company, is above the learning potential of a talented person with desire to learn it.”

          Time frames.

          The man who made the propeller shafts for the ford has been making carrier propeller shafts his entire life.

          He stayed to do the ones on Ford.

          he was over 70′ years old. (I think close to 80)

          They don’t have anybody close to that skill level. In America, or the world.

          the time required to make the shafts for the next Ford class is expected to double.

          Same with the guy’s who align propeller shafts in ships, its an art form. After 20 years, you might start to get good at it.

          America dosent employ people in lifetime occupation’s offering them good job security and remuneration, any more.

          Anybody can learn to do anything, given enough time.

          TIME IS MONEY.

          America has some big problem’s coming.

        • Beard681 says:

          Around here, we call such employees close to retirement “zombie employees”. They are still around getting paid, but shirk off work, and spread their bad attitude. I laugh when I hear all these stories about companies losing such great “institutional knowledge”. What kind of work is there that hasn’t change radically in the last 5 or 10 years. Hire a smart young person, or someone laid off from a competitor.

      • Morph says:

        “you are not being a team player” — what team? The manager sure wasn’t being a team captain.

        That accusation aimed at employees is one of the standard tactics of failed and failing managers. A good manager would have been ahead of the game, offering the retiring employee incentives — not necessarily monetary — to carry on his job to the end and train a replacement to the highest standard.

        This clown wasn’t worth the polish on the seat of his pants.

  3. Mike G says:

    IBM will also invest $1 billion in training and development of our U.S. employees in the next four years.

    The latest count I can find says Little Blue has 92k US employees, so that’s a whopping $2700 a year per head spent on “training and development” which I suspect consists mostly of corporate BS seminars rather than tech skills. Whoopee.

    • George says:

      These education costs are for training the newcomers so they know all the buzzwords and internal acronyms.

    • BigBluez says:

      It is more like less than 70,000 They stopped releasing US employee counts years ago, but layoffs and attrition have way outpaced any college hires. What they do report is global employee numbers and that is down drastically, by nearly 100,000 over the past 3 years. So there should be roughly 300,000 globally and roughly 70,000 in the USA. If anyone has any specific proof they can point to, please post. The 25,000 hiring number that was stated 1 year ago by Rometty, is obviously a misleading statement. So what if you hire 25,000 interns and people desperate out of college if you are at the same time cutting several times that number globally and roughly double that number in the USA? It’s the same thing with the spin on Revenues: All of this wild growth in strategic business shell game, but the net is continuously shrinking revenues.

      • BigBluez says:

        Additionally, Look at some charts (you might have to piece a few together because it seems hard to find charts that span the past 20+ years) For example, the last time IBM’s Revenues were this low (about 1998 – 1999) Global headcount was approx 300,000. Consider how fast IBM would go out of business if it still had 377,000 employees but Revenues dropped 20%. Now also consider, if headcount is roughly the same as it was in 1998 as are revenues, then how can profits be so much higher than nearly 20 years ago? Obviously it’s because the ratio of low cost workers to well paid workers (mostly offshore) has changed over the past 20 years. (ignoring the continued top heavy executive bloat that siphons off massive amounts of cash). From various country employment reports you can do your own intelligence work and piece together what IBM’s real US to offshore ratio is today. I think it’s very close to 1 US to 5 Offshore. Also do not be surprised to see that ratio double over the next 5 years, and double again the following 5 years. That is the only way they can keep showing increasing profits with same number of revenues and headcount. And at the same time, while I think there are approximately 65,000 to 70,000 US employees, the % of interns and college hires of the US slice has no doubt been rising. I’ve found no official breakdowns. Based on various observations it looks like Internships / college hires have gone from annual rates of 20% of the hiring pool to 33% over the past 4-5 years. Put all of this together: If IBM grows 7-10% CAGR per year (on paper) for the next 5 years and gets Revenues up to $110b Then expect it to be back up to 400,000 employees but only 40,000 to 50,000 in the US and 1/3 of them relatively fresh college hires. And extending these trends another 5 years…. In 2027 $130-150b revenues 500,000 employees with ~25,000 in the US, and 1/3 still relatively fresh college grads. That’s the path they are on. Shareholders might like that, but US employees?

  4. economicminor says:

    It makes sense as the US economy has matured and changed there would be fewer jobs here as opposed to where there are opportunities for expanding any company’s business.

    This is what globalization was all about.. Expanding over seas into new markets. To do so there are cultural and language barriers, so it actually makes sense for companies like IBM, ORCL, CISCO and many others to go this way. Hiring more in the markets they are doing business in and fewer here at home. The problem is then the distribution of the earnings.. Which all seem to go to the few while the many get to fight over the remainders.

    What is disturbing is the tendency of the CEOs to pander as Trumpetiers. Is the US turning from an Oligarchy into a Fascist state? Is one man going to decide how all businesses are run and which ones are allowed to be profitable and which will have to pay to play?

    • Chicken says:

      Perhaps you suggest substituting social justice movements for economic opportunities.

      • economicminor says:

        No just commenting on the logic of the situation.

        Morals and big business go together about as well as oil and water.

        • d says:

          “Morals and big business go together about as well as oil and water.”

          SHOULD READ

          Morals and big AMERICAN business go together about as well as oil and water.

          Not everybody, and everywhere, is as corrupt, unethical and immoral, with no concept of social justice or responsibility, Let aloan national loyalty, in business, like America.

        • economicminor says:

          d, I believe it goes to American Business schools / Ivy League especially and the teaching of the Dulles Doctrine. You may be right that not every one in the world is as corrupt but many of the leaders of large businesses all over the world went to out schools and learned the American way.

          For some reason that is obscure to me, the Dulles brothers, who were sons of a Presbyterian minister, decided that it was the divine destiny of the US to spread our form of Capitalism across the globe. They engaged in assassinations and coups and any method they could devise to expand big American business interests across the globe.

          We are still functioning under this delusion of grandeur and divine destiny. If it is good for GE it is good for America and you can put a variety of ticker symbols in olace of GE. For a couple of Christians, the idea of forcing a world to do whatever the US wants it to is certainly not humble or caring.

        • d says:

          ” I believe it goes to American Business schools / Ivy League especially and the teaching of the Dulles Doctrine. You may be right that not every one in the world is as corrupt but many of the leaders of large businesses all over the world went to out schools and learned the American way.”

          You are SO WRIGHT.

          I am currently watching a US trained and workexperienced CEO apply US corporate. MAXIMUM PROFIT NOW principles to what was a well performing local company 50 M asset’s.

          The damage he is doing to it is mounting.
          Staff who wer the core of the business and perfectly suited to it that can afford to leave have. Some after long service.

          The customer is always wright, has been replaced with “the customer is entitled to an opinion, but we will always do, what we want to, when and how we want to do it.

          In this country that goes down like a lead balloon.

          Sales are now dropping off. The replacement staff on less wages, with poorer condition’s, (the clown made the buy half their uniform’s and their own safety footwear) are nowhere near good enough.

          They have moved from a company following the market rate to a company pushing the envelope at the top of the market.

          Daddy (The company founder) will be spinning in his grave.

          And their customers who used to love them, now hate them.

          As the company is owned by Seventh day Adventists they don’t advertise and now their customers don’t advertise for them and in fact advertise against them.

          Today, the American way, is not the wright way, or the only way.

        • Dan Romig says:

          From page 103 of Bucky Fuller’s ‘Critical Path’:
          “The Wall Street lawyers’ grand strategists put Wall Street lawyer John Foster Dulles in as Ike’s Secretary of State to dictate the American foreign policy of “Soviet containment,” and Foster Dulles’s Wall Street lawyer brother Allen Dulles was put in as head of a new brand of absolutely invisible, U.S.A.-financed, capitalistic welfare department, the CIA, established ostensibly to cold-war-cope with the secret-agent operations of our enemies. So secret was their operation that the people of the United States and its Congressional lawmakers had no idea of the size of the unlimited funds given to the CIA, nor for what those unknown funds were expended. The CIA and Allen Dulles had a U.S.A.-signed blank check for X amount of money to do X tasks. I call the CIA, “Capitalism’s Invisible Army.”

          Bucky was a wise sage.

      • Bruce E. Woych says:

        @Chicken…or perhaps Economic Justice Movement over social opportunists?

  5. MC says:

    Has IBM already announced if these new hires will be H1B or H2B visa holders?

    [By the way, I was being sarcastic]

    • PrototypeGirl1 says:

      I knew a woman here on an HB visa from India, very intelligent woman, app programmer for Apple, she had done this job for 7 years, and was apparently good at it, she was stuck at $10 an hour, no pay raise , vacation, ect. She can not just go get another job as her visa is tangled to Apple she imo is literally owned by apple.

      • BradK says:

        In the olden days this was referred to as serfdom. Today it’s called “opportunity”.

        • d says:

          It is an opportunity another opportunity for an HB1 to become a US citizen through marriage.

          Which a considerable number of them do every year.
          7 years late they are divorced with a US passport.

          A l0t of eastern countries REVOKE the citizenship, when that occurs, but not in the liberated west..

  6. Nik says:

    So…basically its “pay no attention to the men&women behind the curtain” but…Only to the Great&Powerful ‘OZ’ oops…I meant $IBM$…..lolol

  7. RD Blakeslee says:

    “So, to placate stock and bond markets, IBM is touting its expense reduction efforts, such as laying off workers in the US and offshoring work to cheaper countries. IBM has been doing this for years.”

    IBM will now face a new headwind: Trump’s so far quite effective jawboning (and promised legislation) against U.S. job losses and offshoring.

    • av av says:

      If you believe they could care about what he says,…
      Like he, they can also play shell games.

  8. Petunia says:

    I’ve been a techie for decades and other than govt, I can’t think of one company that is an IBM customer. What are they staffing with 25K new hires? It looks like they are replacing older workers with cheaper workers.

    • robt says:

      That, and IBM is an old company, so there are probably a lot of people just retiring, some of whom will be replaced (the ‘new hires’). The IBM pensions were pretty generous, so attrition takes care of the excess labor, and older employees pushed aside to the ‘ignore list’ help to shrink the payroll.

      • Harrison says:

        IBM froze their pension plan about 13 years ago.

      • night-train says:

        I vaguely remember back in the late 80s IBM having their first downsizing where people were urged to take early retirement packages. I remember it causing a big stir in the bidness community. Like maybe the first public crack in Big Blue.

    • Cyrus says:

      Totally agree; I’m well versed on many different technologies, and other than a couple of old, monolithic technologies which look more like useless monsters than useful tech, I can’t name any software from IBM.

      Even Oracle is a go nowhere company. Their stock price has been in the $30-$40 range since forever; but in Oracle’s case, I think they make money, but once you take Larry and his buddies bonuses and paychecks, nothing remains for investors.

      Forget about Cisco; Cisco managers can’t find their way out of a wet paper bag. Cisco is basically a giant dying monster that depends on government for a lot of their revenue. They also keep buying smaller companies since Cisco can not come up with one smart technology of it’s own. One of their revenue generating technology is this god awful software that is based on technology that was being used in 2000; the idiots can hardly spell big data.

      • walter map says:

        “The fate of the world economy is now totally dependent on the growth of the U.S. economy, which is dependent on the stock market, whose growth is dependent on about 50 stocks, half of which have never reported any earnings.”

        – former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, September 1999

      • Harvey says:

        You forget about the defense industry, and the welfare industry, you’d be amazed at how big our “big government” really is.

    • Mike P says:

      IBM still has large customers in the banking, insurance, and retail sectors. Customers with millions of lines of legacy COBOL, RPG, etc. As long as these systems continue to work… the urgency to replace/modernize them just isn’t high enough.

  9. Maximus Minimus says:

    IBM sold the personal computer business to Chinese Lenovo. Under Lenovo it became the biggest PC supplier, and profitable, too. Paying the Wall Street tax could be one reason, but surely overpaid management competence must have been an issue. Repeat with Jaguar Land Rover and Ford, and GM and Volvo.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      It should be remembered that Bill Gates’ (small, independent at the time) company worked on IBM’s graphic PC control system and eventually launched Windows independently of IBM’s PCs, much to IBM’s chagrin.

      What IBM eventually sold was the wreckage of its PC hardware business, after Gates torpedoed its propitiatory software.

      • Kent says:

        Ah, yes. The Windows Server line was essentially written by IBM programmers in the early 1990’s since Microsoft didn’t understand multi-user, multi-tasking operating systems. Good old OS2 on the IBM side. Great product and wildly over-priced in the IBM spirit.

        • P Walker says:

          Actually, I heard that Windows NT was basically given to them by DEC, with the condition that Microsoft would continue to support the DEC Alpha platform. A lot of the key design choices were made by DEC at the time, like an emphasis on multithreading instead of SMP.

          Microsoft handed it over to Intel, which ported it all to x86.

          I could be wrong, but I had friends who worked for Microsoft when I lived in Seattle in the early 1990s.

    • Cyrus says:

      Lenovo is one ugly laptop; whenever companies want to buy me new laptops, I always demand HP laptops.

      I wouldn’t touch a Lenovo with 10 foot stick.

      • d says:

        Strange HP is last on my list.

        Lenovo is ugly but better than when IBM had it made and still has access to the global IBM service network.

        HP’S blast display adapters, brake hinges and screen surrounds, regularly. There is a pile of them (5 plus that still haven’t sold) sitting on the other side of my trading desk.

        Another reason I went mac, Mac-book pro’s, are made of metal, and durable.

        • Cyrus says:

          Oh, come on; Lenovo not only has a strange keyboard, but also has so many software issues. Just six month ago I was given a Lenovo, and it had so many software and Windows issues that I had to send it back to them and tell them to get me an HP.

          As for Mac, it would never even come close to the ease and versatility of Windows. I’m a software engineer; I know hell of a lot about Windows and Linux, and I would not want to work with Mac; an overpriced, hyped laptop with thousands of little problems that just wastes your time for doing simple tasks that you can do in accomplish in Windows in seconds.

          It has always been a mystery to me how good a job Steve Jobs did on people to buy Mac junk for such high prices. True Mac is physically built well, but what is important is how productive you can be with a laptop. I’m 2-3 times more productive with Windows than I am with Mac.

        • d says:

          Each to his own

          I brought this one as new old stock way below its recommended retail. It was my first new mac and my second mac the first was a used trial.

          Since I started using mac’ my computer use experience has been very peasant, no more virus, no more crashing, no more update demand’s, no more windows nag’s.

          When I turn it on it always goes, Excellent graphic’s.

          I have a small window’s 10 machine that I need to operate 2 pieces of SW. Not available in MAC.


          That’s just the way it is.

        • Mike says:


          The only software engineers I know that prefer a Windows system to a Mac are the ones writing .net or visual basic, both proprietary to Windows.

          OS X (or whatever it’s called now) is superior to Windows in every possible way. Does that mean it doesn’t have problems? Of course not. All software has bugs — you should know this Mr. Software Engineer! I do agree that Macs are overpriced, but I’ll take a Mac any day of the week over any Windows laptop. Ultimately I prefer Linux, but I also don’t want to spend hours and days getting the underlying OS to work with mass produced hardware and trying to find the drivers, libs, etc., that may not even exist. But why do all that when I can just use a Mac, and run Linux VMs?

          I write code, pen test, dev ops, and came up on the sys eng side. You developers are a hoot. For all your supposed knowledge of software, most of you can’t find your way out of a Windows XP start menu without having someone from the help desk show you how.

        • d says:

          √ +.

          Thank you.

          You did a nicer job than I would have which is why I didn’t bother.

          A computer operating system, is no different to a screwdriver, just a tool.

          Some tools are simply better quality than others.

          Better quality tool’s, tend to carry a price premium, this is the way of the world

      • av av says:

        I didn’t realize buying a computer was a beauty contest.
        So now we know what you do in front of that machine.
        Personally, I like inflatables.

        • Cyrus says:

          Maybe you should read more carefully; it’s how ugly Lenovo is from inside; you have so many software issues with it that it drives you crazy.

        • Mike says:


          You keep repeating this fallacy. Sure, maybe out of the box you’ve got a bunch of useless bloatware, but that’s nothing a quick wipe and fresh install of Windows won’t fix.

  10. d says:

    Anybody who hasn’t, must read


    Is a company the planet would be much better off without.

    • Dan Romig says:

      In some history written about the immigrants that came to Ellis Island, IBM code was used to classify the immigrants’ languages and skills for a database??? IBM was founded by Germans if I recall, and allegations have been made regarding d’s comment. I would not be surprised if this was how it went down.

      My maternal grandpa saw Elis Island at age 13 in 1906.

      • d says:

        “and allegations have been made regarding d’s comment. I would not be surprised if this was how it went down.”

        Whats more interesting in that book is the references and sources.

        They make the statements and conclusion’s in it, irrefutable.

        The Holocaust and Germany’s war effort. Would have been nowhere nears as efficient or even possible in some cases. With out IBM’s assistance.

        IBM, J Edgar Hoover, and FDR. KNEW what the German administration was going to do with that information, long before 1939.

        No IBM assistance to Germany, no lists from European country’s census data, hence no efficiency in collecting the undesirable’s. When the Military moved out of Germany.

        Knowing the attitudes of the administration you were dealing with, how could you help them collect that data, and not know they were going to do something unpleasant with it ????

      • Realist says:

        One of IBM’s founders was named Spencer, the very same gentleman who created the Spencer carbine back in civil war days.

  11. james says:

    What about all these students and older people learning coding. Now I hear that coding is being automated. You learn a new skill and the next day you are replaced.

    • Petunia says:

      Automated code generation is a nice idea that has been around for a long time, but don’t hold your breath. However, what changes all the time are the new languages that are created. Most are a collection of pre-writen code sections which makes them easy to use but not necessarily efficient or robust.

    • walter map says:

      “Now I hear that coding is being automated.”

      Software development is expensive, and that motivates increasing automation and other methods of speeding development and reducing costs. For example, software that can write a web service client from the wsdl file of a web service has become extremely sophisticated, as have AI integration with IDEs, frameworks, and debuggers.

      What such software cannot yet do is artistic design and content development, but they are doing more of everything else all the time. Employment growth in IT is exaggerated to encourage increase in the labor pool to reduce cost.

      Software that can write, augment, specialize, and reproduce itself is expected to become extremely dangerous in an event called The Singularity. Until then you still have the man-made Matrix to contend with.

      • Cyrus says:

        Software companies hire slaves, not workers. And they keep combing jobs that used to be done by 3-4 people into one job, and one person that is hired is expected to do all those tasks which were performed by 3-4 people.

        On top of that, projects which used to be done in 2- 3 years back then 80s, now is expected to be done in weeks; and this is not enough for them yet. Now, they keep preaching what is called microservices which translates to this: Each software engineer will take over the job of system admin, as well as database admins, and they are expected to have 2-4 releases per day (we are talking releases per day).

        The only reason they can demand this much from employees is the fact that there is huge pool of slaves, I mean programmers from India who work 24 hours a day just for the honor of not being sent back to India.

        And as you said, they exaggerate the IT market in order to suck in other suckers so that they can have a bigger and cheaper pool of slaves to exploit. Companies like Google, Cisco, Oracle, Facebook, etc. keep sponsoring articles that say just out of University graduates are being hired for $160K per year. While in reality in 90% of companies even managers don’t make $160K per year, let alone some fresh graduate. Technology has become so vast, and so complex that I really don’t want to be in the shoe of someone just graduating; they have to learn dozens of technologies to be of any use; it’s a huge, huge task to learn all these technologies.

        • Maximus Minimus says:

          The dishonorable companies mentioned can make their case directly to paid-for politicians, and through lobbyists for more foreign talent which they so desperately need. The domestic programmers haven’t got around the fact that they are just costs as opposed to valued techie geeks. They would not join an association that would lobby for them. They are their worst enemies.

    • Mike says:

      Automation is writing code. You’re simply using code, usually a script or larger collection of scripts, to automate performing tasks that people used to manually perform by entering commands.

  12. NotSoSure says:

    IBM = Irrelevant Business Machine.

    This stock should be 50 bucks at best, but nah, why have a date with reality if you can just paper it over?

  13. JB says:

    carefully crafted corporate spin to avoid a trump tweet .

  14. michael engel says:

    IBM have another major problem investors cannot ignore.
    For president Trump they are a standing target.
    The reason : Warren Buffett.

  15. michael engel says:

    IBM have another problem investors cannot ignore.
    Warren Buffet.

  16. tony kidd says:

    IBM has twice as many employees in India as in the USA according to this 2014 article.

    Tech billionaires are forever urging congress to understand that there are not enough east Indian IT workers in their organisations here in the USA.

    • d says:

      “Tech billionaires are forever urging congress to understand that there are not enough east Indian IT workers in their organisations here in the USA.”

      East Indian IT workers.

      Are no smarter than US IT worker’s, in many cases they are much less efficient.

      They are however, much cheaper..

      • Cyrus says:

        But they do become smarter in their area of expertise since they are given a job while US worker are kicked out. The US worker has to sit at home and play with his resume while the cheap Indian worker is working and learning on the job. So many of my friends just gave up development altogether; all that they had learned has gone to waste since they couldn’t get a job, and they gave up. Replaced by H1-B visa workers. On top of that managers in many software companies are Indians; who do you think they prefer to hire?

        • Petunia says:

          Once you get an Indian manager, you will only get Indian underlings.

          Like the Mexican workers, they too send a lot of money back home to India. No one ever mentions this extraction of purchasing power from America. The H1B’s have a lot in common with the illegals. BTW, I see more Indian films on Netflix now than Spanish films.

        • Cyrus says:

          Petunia: “ndia’s per capita income (nominal) was $1,497 in 2013.” I imagine in 1990, when this whole outsourcing to India started, the per capita income was probably around $300.

          Now, put yourself in place of a young Indian; his dad makes $500 per year. He sees American company’s are coming and hiring Indian programmers at let’s say $15,000; that $15000 may be lower than minimum wage in US, but to this young Indian, it is 30 times what his dad makes. How hard do you think he/she would work to get hired. And of course you have at least 200 million of such young Indians willing to even sell his organ to learn to code. but $15000 is the low end; I’m sure American companies pay some at least $40,000 a year when they bring them here as H1-B visa.

          That “30 times his dad scenario” is analogous to someone offering us 3-4 millions dollars a year; how hard you and I would work if someone promised us 3-4 million dollars a year?

          And of course Indian movies become more popular; you have a huge population of Indian workers in US. Just step in any software company in Bay area, and you feel like a tourist in a Mumbai market. I really feel like a tourist in India when I work in any big company in Bay area.

        • BradK says:

          “Once you get an Indian manager, you will only get Indian underlings. “


  17. Francis says:

    25,000 jobs? Just saying that evokes images of work from another generation. But what kind of job and for how long?

    I’ve been hearing for over ten years that most IBM jobs are temp contract positions. It is the Mcdonalds of consulting, richly staffed by abused foreign workers.

    But it would be clever if they hired 25,000 workers on 1 month consulting contracts then fired them after 30 days.

  18. Chicken says:

    It’s easy to import intellectual property, cheaper to develop it offshore.

    Buffet has a big position in IBM, most likely he’s into it for the AI?

    • akiddy111 says:

      Buffet built his position in the 2nd half of 2011. He’s probably enjoying a total nominal return of about 1% a year.

  19. L33W says:

    Reap/ sow Galatians 6:7

    IBM is reaping from it’s sowing with Hitler…

    If the company is fixable, I know how it could be…otherwise

    certain doom!

  20. lizardbrain says:

    My brother and sister both work for IBM. They have been using the term ‘downward spiral’ to describe their employer for the past year or so.

  21. Bob says:

    IBM needs to ask Watson how to fix IBM.

  22. Chris Wagner says:

    I’ve worked for them at the turn of the millenium and found them really good back then. But it was in their UK operations.

    There is another trend. Fire older employees. A friend’s friend can program satellites and yet he was laid off. Near 60, he hasn’t found another job yet. Many older technicians would work for a youngster’s salary. They need jobs and are reliable. Not all turn bad like stale beer.

    ACTION counts. Announcements are cheap. Yeah, one day I will plant a tree / take up working out / meditate / eat less or stop eating when I’m full bla bla.

  23. Ex-IBMer due to the many RAs that exist. says:

    How does the reporting world and business world not know about Watching IBM on Facebook. The real one that is (note a fake account that plays with the alliancemember name does exist.

    IBM employees submit updates about layoffs (Resource Actions/RAs) and internal news anonymously all the time. Track the layoffs there, and you will see Ginny is full of lies.

  24. Steve-o says:

    IBM won’t be happy till they move their home offices to India

  25. rejected by target says:

    I applied for a design job with IBM back in October. I had a telephone “interview” with some HR twat who sounded half asleep during the call. One aspect of the job was that it required traveling 75% of the time, so I tried to sell the fact that I’m single with no kids (and at age 49 that will never change) so I can easily perform that aspect of the job. She said she’d pass along my info to the hiring managers and I should hear something in about a month. After seeing the job reappear on their website (but with a different job number) I logged in to my profile to see that under my application I was “no longer under consideration.” This infuriated me, as the little twat couldn’t be bothered to send me a simple rejection email — but even more infuriating, how about some feedback as to why I didn’t qualify for a real interview with the hiring mgrs? In what area did I fall short? (Yeah, I’m a dinosaur, I remember the day when that’s what HR would do, give you the feedback from the hiring mgrs and tell you what where you messed up or what you lacked in skill.) I have nearly 20 years of design experience and met every tick mark. I send a nasty letter to the CEO accusing them of age discrimination, which resulted in me getting a condescending email from another twat in “talent acquisition” (which brings up the point that I didn’t write to talent acquisition, I wrote to the CEO — sad that this CEO doesn’t think it’s her job to care about what’s going on in her own company). She gave a half-assed apology for the “lack of communication,” along with the standard “we are an EEO employer” nonsense, and then went on to whine about how each job they advertise receives “large numbers of qualified candidates applying. As a result, many qualified candidates are turned away.” Well, gee, if that job for which I applied received sooooo many applicants, why the need to re-advertise the same job going on three months now? And, just what criteria are they using to disqualify so many candidates? I concluded either it was my age, or the job is just completely fake as most jobs advertised are these days, posted to make them look like they’re growing and boost their stock price.

    • BradK says:

      This is straight out of the “How to game H-1B” playbook. You have a position or positions to fill but you are adamant about not hiring any over-priced Americans. What do you do?

      1. Advertise the position(s) in the local paper of record. Describe the requirements in such arcane and wholly unrealistic terms in which no human being could possibly meet the criteria.

      2. Maybe interview a few patsys just to keep up appearances.

      3. After a couple of months with the advertised position still unfilled, you have a legitimate “resource problem”. Dagnabit! there are just no qualified Americans to fill the position. You are now free to look abroad.

      4. Miracle of miracles, you have an application from an H-1B candidate which matches the job requirements to a T. Not only will the candidate work for 1/2 or 1/3 of an American, they are indentured to your company and cannot leave.

      5. Profit!

      The reality of course is that the actual process occurs in reverse. You have a skills need so you contact WiPro or Infosys and identify a candidate. You go through the motions of attempting to hire locally, only to hire the H-1B as initially intended.

      But no, the system isn’t broken.

      • rejected by target says:

        A part of me suspected that scenario as well, the only thing I don’t get is that I’m not seeing my field (graphic design) being saturated with people from India compared to IT/programming, plus it’s a severely saturated field, each job I see posted that gives the # of applicants stat (LinkedIn, Indeed) routinely shows 100+ applicants. I’ve seen salaries for designers tumble since the great recession, saw one the other day that paid $15/hr (what I made 25 years ago as a secretary), so not sure how much money the companies are saving unless it’s just saving on benefits…? So I’m more inclined to believe it’s just a ruse, if they fill the job then they can’t say they’re hiring anymore. I see these fake jobs so often I’ve begun posting a “fake job alert” on my blog. Here’s one that’s been advertised for one full year now, — they keep changing the “date posted” but note the comments dated last January. I applied for this job when they posted it on LinkedIn, — note they received 102 applicants. I don’t believe for a second there wasn’t a single qualified applicant in that pool (I was more than qualified). Who knows what game they’re playing here…

    • Petunia says:

      I don’t know what they asked you, but I hear the H1B employers interview job seekers to canvas the skills pool. They use this as research to exclude US workers, then they add obscure skill sets to the H1B visa requests. After which they tailor the foreign CVs to those obscure skill sets.

      • Emanon says:

        One recent trick is to include a language requirement such as Hindi or Mandarin in order to disqualify 99% of the native-born American engineers, even for jobs located in the USA.

        This saves the HR people from the bother of sifting through resumes or doing perfunctory phone interviews, such as the one described above. Just add a foreign language that’s hard to learn and rarely taught in the USA, and bingo, you can take long coffee breaks with your fellow HR ladies instead of interviewing middle-aged white guys who have no chance in hell of getting a job designated for a H1B visa holder earning $10/hr.

        It’s rather telling that speaking English as your native language is now a liability for many tech jobs that are listed at locations here in the USA.

        Our smartest kids are starting to avoid studying tech subjects, because they realize that if they don’t make a quick killing and become millionaires by age 30, they are then going to face age and racial and even linguistic discrimination.

        The fiasco in health care also plays into this, because the expenses for employees aged under 30 are much, much less than over-30s. If you simply fire all of the middle-aged and near-elderly employees, you not only save on health care for the employees but also jettison the costs of their spouses and kids.

        If you can hire a 22 year old H1B visa holder, work her at $10/hr for seven years, and fire her at age 29, then you just about guarantee that you won’t have to pay for much health care, as she is likely to be healthy in her 20s and is unlikely to start a family until she gets permanent residency.

        It’s a cruel game to maximize profits in the short term, and then jettison productive employees just when they start to enjoy the fruits of their labors and can afford to start families.

        The long-term consequences of wiping out future generations of our smartest citizens and residents, by gutting the present generation financially just when they are starting families, don’t show up in any profit and loss statements, but they sure ain’t gonna be good.

        Dysgenics for the win … or is it really a loss?

        • BradK says:

          In an already depressing thread, this thought really stands out.

          Thanks. Thanks a lot. :)

        • d says:

          That trick is not going to last much longer.

          If America is lucky.

          Various other country’s are already clamping down on it, as it’s discrimination.When the language required is not a major national language and the job is onshore.

          Try advertising a job where you must speak Sioux with out very good reason and see what happens.

          The south african’s were trying that here with Afrikaans, they soon got bounced on it.

        • Petunia says:

          Those HR ladies are on their way to getting outsourced as well, from what I’ve read. Many companies already do their HR in India. Now they’ll get to feel some of the pain they help cause.

    • P Walker says:

      I had an older friend from my last true employer who worked in the HR field of a large transnational. As he got older, he claims he was basically “put out to pasture” until he retired in 2014.

      He let it slip once that a number of job postings they advertise for don’t actually exist and essentially used to send a message to white collar employers that they are replaceable. The postings were sent internally and to recruitment websites simultaneously, which was actually against established company policy as postings are to go internal first.

      I actually suspect its more collusion with government statistics bodies to create the illusion that things are better than they actually are, but I could just be too conspiratorial.

  26. Chicken says:

    Seems like most stocks mentioned in a negative light here jump considerably higher shortly after being splayed out for execution.

  27. Johnathan says:

    This astonishingly raw and vivid ‘Open Letter to IBMs Board of Directors’ taken from an IBM Facebook consortium called “Watching IBM” provides compelling insight to what’s really going on inside IBM. The commentary to it, is equally revealing.

    It may be found here:

    January 12, 2017 at 7:16am ·

    An Open Letter to IBMs Board of Directors

    Ours was the love affair of a lifetime, an attraction like no other…

    You caught me, mid-way through an accelerated career and promised me the moon. Starry eyed and awe inspired, I jumped on your ship and, with sleeves rolled high, set my sights on achieving great things with you. My love, loyalty and devotion to you filled me with pride; I was proud to be of a part of something (I thought) was bigger than myself.

    Like many relationships ours started with eagerness, constant devotion and an excitement that was difficult to put down at the end of a day. Time spent together was energizing and made me feel good about myself. I was honored to be on your arm and thought foolishly you felt the same about me.

    Bolstered daily by an endless barrage of internal emails and blogs on how “great” you were, over time I would come to regret falling for that inflated perception of collective worth, artifice as it was.

    As time passed, the excitement faded into a false sense of security. Although I didn’t know it at the time… you had a plan for me all along that included submission and fear.

    As budget cuts and corporate pressure slaughtered my teams whose jobs were continually outsourced to cheaper labor markets; I shifted with the rising tides from one internal job to another. Not once did you extend a hand to enhance my professional development or invest in me; instead you brutalized me with unjustified performance evaluations making me believe over time ‘I’ was at fault, that ‘I’ was a troubled narrative, despite client awards and accolades depicting the contrary.

    Relentlessly you continued to rape my self-esteem and erode my self-worth by not providing a raise in years… Instead, you made me believe, year after year, I was “lucky to have a job.”

    As I watched endless years of resource actions destroy the lives of loyal colleagues; my labor turned for you no longer out of the love and the pride I once held- but fear. Fear that year after year- quarter after quarter; I would be on the Resource Action list… For years, I choked on a silence which reinforced a cadre of executives who built their careers claiming the innovations of others…

    With surgical precision, you took meticulous care to ‘engineer’ a fear based work ethic supported by a corporate mantra of “what have you done for me lately?”

    I worked tirelessly, sacrificing my family and eventually allowed that engineered fear to erode the value I held for myself. The love I once had for you faded like an expansive sunset over a quiet horizon – that nobody saw…

    My respect for you long abated when I watched you withhold the last paycheck of a colleague who gave you 18 dedicated years of his life because he failed to complete his last petty assignment after being told his job was moving to India. I watched his world shatter… and you… you… stood over him waiving the means to feed his family or pay his mortgage with a flagrant and careless disregard that reverberated my soul….

    That day something in me changed, and the fear you methodically took years to hone within me, was replaced by an overwhelming sense of empathy, love, generosity and kindness… Not for you, but for something else I thought was still resident in the world….. A world divorced of you.

    That day I realized the road you once made me believe was paved in gold, is abounding with an immorality that fills me with derision for you. And so…

    I am writing to tell you our love affair is over. I have found the courage to shatter my own dreams and leave you…

    Your years of strategic malevolence and blatant abuse have driven me into the arms of a formidable competitor.

    While I come to that entity a little less of myself because of you… I still come to this entity with a better sense of myself that I would not have acquired if it wasn’t for you.

    For that… I am grateful,


    • Cyrus says:

      Loving and respecting a company in this day and age? Are you kidding me? In all my career, there was one small company that I worked for that had any respect for the employees. The moment they don’t need you, or can get someone cheaper, they kick you out in a big hurry to make sure they won’t god forbid pay you an extra $20 dollar.

      So, expecting loyalty, and respect in this day and age, and in this country, from a company is a pipe dream.

      In the same vein, I have no respect for companies. I keep learning, and the moment that I know another company pays me more, I’ll leave; cause I know the moment they didn’t need me, they would have kicked me out with no mercy. So, why bother to have mercy on them?

    • Mike P says:

      A job is a business transaction…. you provide a service to the company and they pay you for it. Period. The equation depends upon them paying you less than you increase their bottom line…else, there are no incremental profits… and no reason for your employment.

      1) Given the above: It is imperative that you provide a valuable service to your employee (hence remain employable)… and the better you are than your peers… the better you will be paid.

  28. Ishkabibble says:

    (The below, except for immigration number, also applies to the US.)

    Imagine that every human being outside of Canadian borders ceases to exist.

    Also assume that the present system in which the vast majority of wealth and large-scale capital equipment is owned by a microscopic percentage of population is still in place.

    Also assume that both “labor” and “management” can organize, as they supposedly can in our present “democracy”, but now the owners of capital can no longer move their capital equipment to other nations where there are desperately poor people who are “willing” to work for food, water and a place on the floor to sleep.

    How are Canadians going to “go it alone” when, supposedly, Canada’s economy desperately needs 300,000 immigrants (of a certain “economic” type) every year from now to eternity?

    WHO is going to buy all of the natural resources, oil, etc. that Canada can no longer export and, therefore, no longer needs to produce?

    To have available the relatively small amount of warm-weather items that Canada, by itself, now imports, Canadians can venture forth to those places and produce and send those products “back home”. Naturally, those workers will be paid an amount that also applies to the rest of the Canadian “labor market” and, of course, the Canadian regulatory framework will also apply to those workers and facilities and places of production, as well as Canada’s social benefits.

    All of the work that is now done in Canada by “temporary foreign workers” (TFW) and other temporary workers, “tourist workers”, etc., who harvest crops, put roofs on houses, cook food in restaurants, take care of the elderly in nursing homes, etc. will have to be done by Canadians and paid for by Canadians.

    Automobiles, trucks, etc. will have to be produced by Canadians for Canadians.

    Any thing and any service that Canadians “want” will have to be produced by Canadians and, naturally, other Canadians will have to pay them to do that, with the workers making enough “profit” to “save” enough money to be able to “retire” when they become physically decrepit.

    How much is the above arrangement going to cost Canadians?

    When I recently asked my brother in law why Canada finds it necessary to import vehicles, TVs, etc. from other countries, his reply was that if they were produced by Canadians in Canada, “they would be too expensive”. (This coming from a man who hired a TFW to give additional care to his elderly mother who was ALREADY living in a nursing home).

    So, could Canadians afford what they need and want by “going it alone” (in an only-Canada world) under the present economic system in which the vast majority of wealth and large-scale capital equipment is owned/controlled by a microscopic percentage of population for their own benefit?

    No, “they can not afford it” under the present economic system. And this is why under the present economic system essentially desperate slave labor is needed to provide what Canadians need. This is why “trade agreements” such as NAFTA between international corporations are needed to seek out and exploit the most desperate people on the planet.

    What is needed by Canada is an economic system in which the populace owns/controls large capital equipment collectively, and collectively provides the LABOR to run it, as well as provide all Canadians with what they need to enjoy a good life from birth to death.

  29. Sears … Caterpillar … Continental Energy … swap the company names and the story is the same = Less.

    Trump will command the tides but the tides won’t pay any attention.

    • rejected by target says:

      I’d like to add Fidelity Investments. *Horrible* company. I worked there twice as a contractor (if you’re not a VP you’re probably a contractor), the 2nd time I spent six months at their “campus” in Smithfield, RI. I remember twenty years ago when it was announced that they were opening that location, the state of RI went berserk over it with “it’s the start of a whole new beginning for us!” and “this is gonna bring so many jobs and growth and blablabla.” Of course, the state dished out tons of tax breaks to Fidelity for the honor of letting them open business here. What did I see during my six month contract last year? Half that campus is empty; where I sat I was surrounded by empty cubicles, expecting tumbleweeds to fly by me. Of the people working there, half were Indian. Fidelity had moved it’s entire IT support dept to India some years ago and I remember there was an “initiative” during my first stint there in 2008 to move everything to India. I wonder how little Rhody feels about the deal they got all these years later (they just did it again, fawning over GE announcing they’re opening a location here…lather, rinse, repeat).

    • Thorny Rose says:

      Well said Steve from VA!!!

      Corporate America has time on its side. Trump and his useless bluster is a speed bump and much smaller than you can imagine. If you voted for Trump you wont be seeing much hope or change with him either….LOL

  30. > “IBM is in trouble. Revenues in the fourth quarter fell to $21.8 billion, the 19th quarter in a row of year-over-year declines.”

    The false assumption in this statement is that revenue decline means trouble. Trouble for whom? I agree that many stockholders expect IBM to grow. Not me. As a shareholder, I expect IBM to make great products that make lots of money and share the profits with me through quarterly dividends.

  31. Happy 2 B Gone says:

    I was part of the once hallowed IBM. I got RA’d and moved on to my retirement last year after over 30 years of top performance. It was a great company to work for, for about the first 25 years. The last 6 or 7 were the complete opposite.

    What I don’t miss … The dizzying and constant reorganization and re-prioritization of the business over the past 6-7 years, including; the gutting out and sale of former accomplished product lines (network, storage, PCs, printers, retail/POS, servers, manufacturing, service centers, etc.), the “globalization” and off-shoring debacles, the continuum of workforce re-balancing and employee resource actions, the cuts in benefits, pensions, severance programs …. all while expecting the same or more from its devoted employees … was/is a grind for all employees and most customers.

    Each gyration seemed somewhat logical at the time, but alas it was folly. More like a dying bureaucracy, with ongoing structural and financial re-engineering of itself to the benefit of Executive bonus pay and supposed shareholder returns. Even many of the shareholders have been disenfranchised over the past few years, ultimately recognizing the financial engineering gimmicks that are analogous to putting lipstick on a pig.

    It is difficult to understand the latest IBM “strategic imperatives”, regardless of whether you are an employee, or a customer, or a shareholder. The ongoing “transformation” is reminiscent of a journey on the Titanic, a great ride – until it ended in disaster. The captain that chartered the downward journey was Sam Palmisano, until he took his many $millions in bonuses and left the ship. He handed over to Ginni, and while much energy is expended re-arranging the deck chairs, she will likely go down as the one that oversaw it sink.

    An excellent article:
    IBM Q4: Make Believe And Illusion –

  32. Kelly says:

    Interesting quote below from an article that was posted on (see link below). Concerns why US companies differ from foreign companies in hiring after a slowdown.

    ” When bad times hit, American companies try to replace people with machines, while foreign companies hire back workers. Why this difference exists is a mystery. Unions might have something to do with it. I suspect that differences in financial systems might play a role — U.S. companies tend to be funded by markets, while European and Asian firms usually depend on banks. ”

    I found it interesting that most foreign companies are funded by banks? Can anyone vouch for the veracity of this statement? Seems that many Japanese and Chinese companies are funded by the markets!

    It places the USA as an outlier in the way corporations do business globally.

    • d says:

      “I found it interesting that most foreign companies are funded by banks? Can anyone vouch for the veracity of this statement? Seems that many Japanese and Chinese companies are funded by the markets!”

      The corporate “Bond” markett is an American thing china has veraciously adopted and japan to a certain extent has copied.

      The American Corporate bond market is a tool of fraudsters always has been.

      Many US Entity’s that can not get money from bank’s, can lie to, and get money from, the bond market.

      How many times have you seen dodgy US corporates. Refinance their bank debt, by issuing bond’s, and then obtaining much less in a roll over from their bank’s, who are in front of, bond and shareholders, in the claim tree, than they had before?????

      How many times in US M and A activity, have bonds been issued. To pay huge dividend’s to absorbing entity’s that B ank’s would never finance?????? as Bank’s can see there is no real forward cash flow to service that HUGE debt.

      Legal Corporate fraud is an art form in America.

      Much of that Bond and M and A activity, in Europe, and other places, is simply ILLEGAL.

      Further Bond issuance is much more expensive and scrutinized much more closely in Europe. Which is why many Euro trash entity’s, issue bond’s, in London. Or club-med.

      But these day’s, nobody with half a brain, is buying club-med issued bond’s.

  33. Chauncey says:

    My company calls us Human Capital. Like cows are Animal Capital. Young people at least try to start your own business.

    • night-train says:

      Some of these young folks may be an investment opportunity too. I’m considering buying into a young family friend’s contracting business. I believe he is a better risk than giving my money to the Wall Street criminals.

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        Good idea!

        My son has done well renovating decrepit housing and renting it to students at a local college.

        Almost 40 years ago he got started on his way, helping our family build our house when he was a teenager.

        As he branched out, the local banker wouldn’t lend to him, so I cosigned his notes until he was established.

        He never needed (nor did either of us desire) I should invest family funds in his enterprise.

  34. roddy6667 says:

    So IBM used weasel words to make it sound like they are creating 25,000 jobs. In effect, they were talking lousy, high-turnover jobs that already exist. The 25,000 number refers to the unfortunates who will work that lousy job for a short while then quit or get fired.

  35. Gregg Armstrong says:

    IBM is no longer an American CONporation and its imported products should have appropriate tariffs levied and it should be taxes as a foreign CONporation.

    • Thorny Rose says:

      Ok Gregg. Sure. That applies to just about any major Corporation in the USA. Good luck with that. Trump is a small minnow compared to them. If you want hope and change you will need a new Congress to legislate that for you… dont spend too much time waiting ….mmmk???

  36. BigBluez says:

    This article is spot-on and well done.
    Nothing like shining a bright light and revealing the ugly truth.

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