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I, Cringely - The Survival of the Nerdiest with Robert X. Cringely
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The Pulpit
Pulpit Comments
May 04, 2007 -- Lean and Mean
Status: [CLOSED]

The assault on the middle class in America continues unabated. When IBM gets away with this, which they will, it will open the flood-gates. Financial institutions will be next. Maybe it will even happen to Wall Street. Why pay high wages for traders and analysts here?
The best hope for everyone is that we wake up and realize that the CEO can be outsourced as well.

Bryan S. | May 04, 2007 | 11:15AM

This is just fear mongering from the IBM old fogies. You have a bloated company with engineers obviously not as smart as Google, Paypal, Youtube, etc. What do you do? Blame the hard working H1Bs.

The dead wood should be allowed to rot. The smart people have already left for companies with better prospects.

boris | May 04, 2007 | 11:29AM

Ah, Capitalism - the economic system that defies gravity (money flows UPHILL only). Not to worry - there will always be plenty of work in America, as long as people can still drive to McDonalds. Oops.

Barry in Portland | May 04, 2007 | 11:38AM

If IBM lays off 150,000 workers the market will drop like a rock. If IBM cuts off customers there business is done. The old saying goes no one gets fired for choosing IBM, if that adage loeses its value the company is done for.

The market doesn't particularly reward companies for layoffs, and a round this big would likely hurt a companies stock not help it.

matt | May 04, 2007 | 12:04PM

Unfortunately this is a continuing trend in all corporate america. Whether it be airlines outsourcing maintenance to off shore airlines (as my company does), or moving call centers to India (as my wife's company is doing), the only bottom line IS the bottom line.

IBM is a far cry from Thomas Watson's IBM, where employee contribution was appreciated and rewarded. Now the company (like most of corporate america) is focused on Wall Street and investors.

scott grillo | May 04, 2007 | 12:07PM

At least we can still make money selling real estate to each other.

dude | May 04, 2007 | 12:09PM

Seem's the US has caught up with big business in the UK. BT has been doing these sorts of moves for the last decade, the biggest in the mid 90's.

Ultimately it hurt BT when they sacked almost half their technicians over a two year period and they're only just recovering from it now. This will only hurt IBM as Bob points out - unfortunately it seems to be the trend on both sides of the Atlantic at the moment.

Sam Clark | May 04, 2007 | 12:19PM

Not a surprise. IBM has been battling a war in the transformation of business fueled by new technologies, and moving such an elephant is not a piece of cake. Of course Sam will not end up bad (some things do not change in corporate america) and the company will take a step that, will, unfortunately, set the trend in the industry before it is forced to completely take a new look inside to simply survive. If it can.

angelaweb2 | May 04, 2007 | 12:20PM

First they outsourced off the call centre workers and I did not speak up because I was not a call centre worker.

Then they outsourced the testers and I did not speak up because I was not a tester.

... and then they outsourced me.

Ben Grimer | May 04, 2007 | 12:20PM

What is that IBM does?
What is their product, or service?
Who are their customers?

Jim | May 04, 2007 | 12:22PM

Last month IBM told all its employees that no-one (except its 'top performers') will get a pay rise until their pay falls below the market rate for their job. And who determines the market rate? Why, IBM, of course!

Axel | May 04, 2007 | 12:23PM

I work for GBS and have had a number of interesting experiences working with my off shore colleagues in India, turn over issues being the least of the problems. If we drop 100K employees that could / will create a vacuum in the US to service those organizations that were supported by the folks who were just canned.
Some how this seems to me like we are eating our own children. The risk is that this continues and these skills evaporate in the numbers required and we become a 2nd world county like the UK. Which is fast turning into a service industry of Starfu*ks, BHS, and creators of annoying advertisements for hair product featuring people with crap/crass accents.

MookMan | May 04, 2007 | 12:25PM

Typical liberal feel-good bloviating about outsourcing.

"And it is just plain mean."

Grow up. As Denis Leary once said, "Life's tough get a f@#$ing helmet."

I'm sure the people you spoke to are just bitter that their hackneyed ideas weren't given more credit before being summarily ignored. If those people are so smart, they will prevail.

I am see this as part of a bigger trend in global business altogether. Companies that do well as startups end up crushed by their own success. The smaller, more agile companies like Google, Apple, Paypal, Digg, etc. can do things quicker and cheaper than the larger monolithic companies like Dell, IBM, etc. The larger a company gets, the stronger the pressure to reduce margins, grow organically, invest less, the exact opposite of what those companies did to succeed. The effect of this is being unable to meet customer demands as quickly as before, if at all. This kills organic growth as the customers you have, can't get the level of service they are used to, and only buy what is necessary to stay alive. That will only work for so long, until the customers leave in droves for the quick, agile up-and-comer.

I used to enjoy your puplits, but they are becoming more and more shrill as you lean farther and farther to the left. How disappointing.

DJFelix | May 04, 2007 | 12:27PM

I'll ignore for the moment your pejorative use of the term "liberal" and cut to the substance of your remarks -- that this column is based on the whining of people who either have or are about to lose their jobs. It isn't. I spoke to many people from IBM in the last week, but none of those referred to in this column have lost their jobs or are even in danger of losing their jobs. I try to speak to the people best qualified to comment and those are in this case teh ones generally charged with making the new system work. IBM isn't stupid. The company will make an effort to do this in a way that causes as little collateral damage as possible, which means relying even more on its strongest contributors. And these very able, if harried, folks have a fair chance of saving the day. But they aren't whining to me, they are annoyed. They are tired of having to save the day. They are people all of us can admire and most of us would be better for emulating. And that makes their reluctantantly-held positions all the more eloquent.

YOU are calling names, not me. I don't write this stuff for fun. If you are tired of thoughtful prose, by all means read something else.

Bob Cringely | May 04, 2007 | 12:27PM

Bob, you might call this sonnet to Sam Palisano's attention.



Ozymandias

By Percy Bysshe Shelley


I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said--"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desart....Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

dmwilson | May 04, 2007 | 12:32PM

Corporate honesty? CORPORATE honesty? Talk about an oxymoron!

IBM is just another company that is apparently filled with managers and officers who have forgotten -- or who never understood -- the difference between cost and value.

Other than that, there's no news here. Another fading corporate icon that'll end up on the ash heap of corporate history, soon to be joined by GM and Ford.

Buh-bye.

randy | May 04, 2007 | 12:35PM

America's turn as a world power, indeed as the unipolar power, is shortlived.


We were founded n the concept of interclass mobility and intelligent and/or strong immigrants flooded in to fill the land to the far coast. They came to stay. Even the poor families among them motivated their children to achieve a more bountiful, better life.


"Them days are gone forever." Labor and Capital are only commodities. Products exist to create financial wealth. The true boards of directors are the private equity firms, the pension funds and the insurance companies.


For the longest time "Value Added By Manufacture" sustained the economy abetted by the velocity of money. Productivity gains induced by capital offset the price of labor and we could use the nearby raw materials.


Capital can now freely move and build identical plants in low labor cost countries. The labor price differential can more than offset the cost of transportation.


We thought that we could replace the manufacturing base by a new construct "Value Created by Ideas." Ideas are ever more portable, and the service industries reliant upon education have found two things. First, the failure of the American public school system has created low performing graduates. Second, these can be replaced at lower cost by higher performing persons in a variety of Asian countries at a much lower cost.


Our comparative advantage is leaking away.


With the household sector, the corporate sector and the governmen sector awash in debt, America finds itself unable to compete on the world stage.


The PRC has trillions of dollars to invest in raw materials ventures throughout the Middle East, South Asia, South America and Africa. In addition, it can barter (much as we did after World War II) military goods for raw materials and throw in consumer goods as well, continuing the march of dollars into PRC hands.


We are in a power struggle which resembles the oriental game of "Go." Our checkers players defeated the chess players of the former USSR, but they too are coming back with new gambits.


"Go" involves the surrounding and thus disarming the opponent. America is being surrounded by the PRC, unable to take decisive action in the arena of international economics and politics. Our people are being played out by the energies of self interest and parties who appear to believe that "Politics is the implementation of war by other means."

The deconstruction of IBM will enrich its owners and senior executives in the short run. In its own way it will likely go unnoticed by the American public. An icon will have died. If only the Icahns of the world were as concerned with the company's employees as the much earlier Henry Ford is reputed to have been.


Truthful James | May 04, 2007 | 12:47PM

Bob, I imagine you emailed a copy of this article to Lou Dobbs.

TruthfulD | May 04, 2007 | 12:53PM

Well, it *is* "International" Business Machines after all. I think a good case can be made that if the company wants to do more business in India, Russia, Brazil, etc., that it would be a good idea for it to hire more people in these countries.

As far as US Business is concerned, suppose a potential customer of IBM wants to dabble with its own offshoring effort, but with a familiar vendor who has already worked out the logistics?

Unless you are a plumber, dentist, or someone else who's physical presence at the jobsite is required, you are probably overpriced in the world market. This imbalance will get resolved eventually, though probably not in most of our lifetimes. About time we got over being shocked about it.

macbeach | May 04, 2007 | 12:54PM

Good advice about asking their supervisor about their job's status. If they deny either knowing, or deny they're slated for layoff, and they later are, that could become the basis for legal action against the company.

In addition there are laws concerning notification of layoffs both to the concerned states, since they're on the hook for unemployment benefits, and it directly threatens their tax base, and to workers as well since the advance notice gives them the opportunity to start searching for work.

If what's being reported to you is true though, and I have no reason to doubt it, then were I working for that division I would be focusing less on my job with IBM and more on finding a new job.

The H1B visas have been problematic for some time now. Lou Dobbs of CNN fame has been keeping the nation abreast of corporate abuses of them.

I think I'll forward a link to your article to his producers if you don't mind. It's exactly the type of story he covers so well.

Nice reporting Bob.

digitalones | May 04, 2007 | 12:55PM

I have been with IBM Global Services for over 15 years, and I fear my "value" will come to an end not for any lack of skill or contribution on my part, but solely due to the myopic drive by the executives to make Wall Street happy, thereby maximizing their own net worth due to the enormous number of shares they all own.

One internal rumor regarding LEAN was that the external consultancy hired to actually perform the analysis was discharged after their principal finding was that IBM is far too top heavy in the executive and management ranks. Not having heard the answer they thought they were paying for, the executives subsequently took ownership of LEAN to pursue the path they had already planned.

Once again, those guilty of plundering and wrecking a formerly great company will retire to a continued life of wealth and ease just about the time the remaining shell implodes.

Anonymous IGS Employee | May 04, 2007 | 12:58PM

Given this move, we should expect to hear IBM whining, like many other large companies that they cannot "find" IT workers within US borders and demand an increase in H2-B visas.
Small wonder that Computer Science is doing so poorly as a major in college. Better they become doctors or lawyers instead.

Bill Morita | May 04, 2007 | 1:17PM

Bob,

What if those experienced, known by their customers, 150K engineers banded to create their own, non-top heavy, competitor to IBM GBS? They know the systems, they know the market, they know their customers, they should know that non-compete agreements are very hard to enforce. Cut out the management and the insane compensation of said management, and you can likely be competitive on bids, while presenting a much more acceptable face to your customers. Call you company XIBM.

And when IBM does fall, you'll have the market to yourselves.

I, too, remember when IBM was the company everyone in computers wanted to work for. Obviously, not that company any longer.

david | May 04, 2007 | 1:27PM

The point that the author is making is that IBM is fundamentally suffering from really bad management, which is not something that can be fixed by LEAN, reducing costs, layoffs, etc... As a former IBMer, I saw the quality and rationality of management fall off the cliff after 2002. By the time I left, there seemed to be no vision, or even rational planning about where the business was going. Important work was devalued, nonsense work was deemed "important", plans changed monthly, projects canceled, restarted, canceled again. There are still plenty of great people and products there, but they are being systematically managed into the ground. Management appeared to live in their own world, completely disconnected from either business or technical reality. Perhaps some jobs do need to be done by cheaper labor pools, but that will not fix the basic problem. Unless they fix their management problems and soon, their days are numbered.

T. | May 04, 2007 | 1:32PM

The long term problem at IBM has been management that is TOTALLY out of touch with reality. They are short-sighted, with no care about the future of the company. I know many stock-holders, myself included, who have cashed out of IBM stock because we see the writing on the wall. It seems that over the past years, IBM has made nothing but mistakes. They go through the motions that they care by internal initiatives, but when your manager calls, and starts their canned speech about a resource action, this cancels out everything. Employees that I personally know are spending at least 5% of their time looking for other employment. The good talent has started leaving IBM, and over the next year or so, more and more will leave. IBM and their shareholders deserve to get what will remain..... a weak, anaemic company, with no customer base.

Use to IBMers well extremely loyal to the IBM, but not so today. IBM has screwed them over one too many times.

Sam | May 04, 2007 | 1:48PM

Thank you Bob for raising the alarm here... I hope this becomes an issue in the next presidential campaign. I would recommend we do not allow companies who offshore to receive R&D tax credits - it is wrong to let them double dip. There is no comparison between the value of a full-time job to our economy and the meager corporate income taxes they pay. In my opinion, and for the same reason, the same policy should apply for government contracts - no offshoring because the value of the job far outweighs any minor cost savings.




Of course, this does not get to the root cause of this situation - which I would say is in large part due to folks like Nicholas Carr with their implicit endorsement of low-quality (aka "good enough") software. Professional Licensing of Software Engineers, just as other engineers are licensed, should be mandatory in every state. I am amazed that the software industry has not been held liable for shoddy worksmanship. A few liability lawsuits would change CEO's minds quickly on whether to offshore mission critical code.

Michael Daconta | May 04, 2007 | 1:50PM

I was once proud to wear an IBM badge. I was part of the best technology company around the globe. Since then we have lost our top talent. Our remaining employees come up with reasons they cannot do something versus justing completing work. They are scared to put themselves out their since they are just 1 layoff away from unemployment.

Sam needs to go are we need new blood to restore old pride.

IBM Employee | May 04, 2007 | 1:55PM

Uh, your article would be a whole lot more credible if it had any basis in reality. IBM has 350,000 employees WORLD-WIDE. And only about 120,000 of those are in the US. Not sure how you lay off 150,000 from that bunch....

Jimbo | May 04, 2007 | 2:03PM

Oh, and that's IBM in toto. Global Services is perhaps 1/2 that #.

Jimbo | May 04, 2007 | 2:07PM

This is not just global services. It is happening in a lot of other places in IBM. In Rational, they have openly admitted to the employees that everyone who leaves will be replaced in China.

Jay | May 04, 2007 | 2:10PM

So Jimbo,
you're saying IBM management does not have a grasp on reality... you are right. That number probably includes Europe and Canada.

IBMER | May 04, 2007 | 2:15PM

Keep in mind that IBM executives only get rich off their stock options if that stock is worth money. Who buys the stock? Pension plans, 401K plans, mutual funds and other things used by the middle class.

If you have shares in a fund that includes IBM, you can write to your manager and ask that they transfer your funds to something that does not involve IBM, a company that will surely not perform for you in the future.

Anca | May 04, 2007 | 2:28PM

Any way you look at it, 150,000 is a big number.

PENIX | May 04, 2007 | 2:29PM

Good read.

Chris Dallar | May 04, 2007 | 2:31PM

I too have been in the past proud to wear my IBM badge. I remember taking my job with IBM right out of college. The prevailing thought was that once you have IBM on your resume, you will never have trouble finding work!

Those times are long gone. In my CUSTOMER-FACING position, I'm continually embarrassed by our ever-diminishing capabilities and excuses for not `just getting the job done`. I feel bad for our customers who are getting screwed for the most part... But not half as bad as I feel for myself, who will surely be out of work if Bob's article is the truth.

Customer satisfaction is out the window. This IBM Project LEAN initiative is supposed to be about eliminating duplicate processes and streamlining. Everyone knows that firing a bunch of wage-slaves is much easier than comparing duplicate processes and choosing the most efficient one to retain.

I'm very sad about this news. But I cannot escape IBM quickly enough!

IBM Employee X | May 04, 2007 | 2:35PM

To the person who made the statement "these can be replaced at lower cost by higher performing persons in a variety of Asian countries at a much lower cost".

You have no clue whatsoever. I AM on the inside, I deal with this DAILY. US workers are not being replaced by higher performing. They are being replaced by cheaper, period. That is all that matters to the company. I could tell you horror stories about the quality of work done overseas that the US people spend hours and hours of unpaid overtime correcting, only to see the official company line talk about how wonderful the outsourcing is working.

It is all about $$$$, and nothing else.

I know. You don't.

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 2:36PM

When I joined IBM in '87, it was a company that was truly a leader in the way employees should be treated. It was a company where families (fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandchildren) came to work. Now, IBM is just another run of the mill fortune 50 company.

For this year's variable pay (bonus) payout, most of the business units were shown as "needs much improvement" in the calculation of payout to employees. This comes after seeing stock go up by $25/share and from all other indications a decent year in 2006. If I as employee get this "needs improvement" rating and am told quarter after quarter after quarter that I'm not getting the job done, I would have been shown the door. However, Sam and the Sr. VPs keep chugging.

I've given up on this company turning around as long as the current leadership is in place. They've sold their collective souls on LEAN and offshoring and despite the fact that the turnover in the booming India ecomony is huge compared to those of us who have sweat blood for IBM, they don't see how detrimental this is in the long term to the health of IBM's intellectual capital or to the customer base that we are supposedly trying to please.

As to the current round of layoffs, I've managed to not get hit this round, but I cynically believe that IBM senior management WANTS us to fail in the US so that they can justify the LEAN and global resourcing strategies once and for all.

It may take several years, but this lack of management vision and leadership will bite IBM in the end. But for Sam and the other senior execs, they are just lining their golden parachutes and getting ready to leave the mess behind for some other poor sap to try to resolve when the real crap hits the fan.

Lastly, I think IBM is banking on the I/T market in the US staying flat or going down. If the I/T market does pick up, a huge amount of talent will walk out the door. It will take guys like me longer to make that switch due to the years I've invested, but eventually if a resource action doesn't force me out then the frustration will.

Tim IBMER | May 04, 2007 | 2:37PM

And what is really incredible is that the management team just goes along with the idiotic plan....let's all get on the Big Blue Bus to Abilene, no questions asked.

formeribmer | May 04, 2007 | 2:38PM

IBM managment's problem starts with the fact that even at the lowest level, managers understand *nothing* (technically) about the projects they "manage". They usually have either completely non-technical backgrounds or backgrounds which while technical are in completely different fields. They are unable to understand if/why something is easy/hard, short/long to do, why it is important or not, what technical relationship it has to other products, what the implications of a certain decision are at a real (technical) level. And this is at the 1st-level manager rank. It gets rapidly worse in the higher ranks as managers become less technical. This has been somewhat true for a long time, but in 2002-3 it seemed to rapidly accelerate. Managers also have no contact with their people to speak of. They are completely disconnected from the day-to-day work of their people or the people themselves (they are often remote or sit in a different building), rarely seeing their people. Managers are just paper-pushers who implement the (often bad and short-sighted) policies that come down from above. Despite this, the company is *full* of extemely talented and knowledgeable workers (for the most part). So all hope is not lost, but their salvation would have to start with a radical change in management at all levels. And who would have to decide this? ... management.

T. | May 04, 2007 | 2:39PM

Well, I guess that Big Blue is turning into "Black and Blue" at least for the employees. Hmm, wonder how much "bonus" the CEO will get for reigning in costs. Probably will be covered by most of the cuts.. Profit at all costs.. the corporate mantra..

Oh!, lets not even think about ethics

Paul | May 04, 2007 | 2:44PM

IBM and corporate America are using the same scare tactics as terrorism. People are too afraid to say something if fear that they will be the next target. I am not against offshoring, I am against the corruption of Corporations and the officers making a big buck giving themselves benefits and pensions at the expense of not raises to a large percentage of the employees, and benefit and job cuts. We have an Osama Palmisano or corporate America.

Jake | May 04, 2007 | 2:45PM

There are two classes of employees at IBM - the executive class whose members regardless of their performance (usually poor) get raises, bonuses, promotions, stock grants and other perks and the worker class whose members regardless of their performance if they're lucky get no raises, minimal bonuses, benefit cuts, no promotions, stock options and if they're unlucky get a pink slip.

In short, the executive class gets all the gold, while the worker class gets only the shaft - after they've mined the gold for the exclusive benefit of the executives.

These layoffs are not about the performance of the workers or the lack of work - it's all about an incessant, anorexic (insane) drive to cut costs to make the short-term results look good.

Everything ill with the company is a result of the arrogant, unethical, uncaring, self-serving, clueless, short-term focused executive leadership.

The solution is "regime change" - take out the top four layers of executives starting with Sam, then hire a true leader such as Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic for 5 years to fix Sam's and Lou's disaster.

FrankReality | May 04, 2007 | 2:49PM

Yes, and Whitacre from AT&T/SBC, who has outsourced a ton of work to IBM, retires with $158 million package. Good thing all us "underperforming" people managed to help him with that....

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 2:49PM

I wonder if Scott Adams is watching all this. It is a Dilbert moment to be sure. God the short-sightedness of it all. And the gall they have to not inform customers? Everyone, quick find another services company like EDS and start up a new contract TODAY. Drop IBM like a hot potato. They are not loyal to you, so why should you be loyal to them? I mean it's business, and they are leaving their customers in the dark, so they won't know they will be getting worse service in the very near future.

Eric Likness | May 04, 2007 | 2:50PM

IBM would not layoff 100k+ people between now and year end. First of all that is counter to driving the stock up, which there seems to be a renewed focus on. The expense of such a layoff of that magnitude would drive stock down, not up. The US population is about 1/3 of the WW population. So already 2/3's of the company is located outside of US. So, slow and steady wins the race. IBM will continue to slowly reduce population in US/NA while growing outside of US/NA. Already salary/benefits and pension of all US employees has effectively been capped. The US has the largest share of long time (older) employees. Attrition over the next 5-10 years as people leave or retire will drive US population to very low levels on its own. The question is really, how will IBM deal with this huge drain in experienced talent. The key to IBM's long term survival and growth is technology. If IBM can differentiate itself with technology, hardware and software, odds for success are higher. If not, there are hosts of companies out there who can effectively pull together technology to support solutions. The idea of Sam needing to do something outlandish to bolster his and his staff pockets is silly. They've accomplished that off the back of their employees already. Don't worry about Sam and his team, they aren't going to starve anytime soon.
Finally, IBM's strength has always been its size and scope. IBM is supplier to enterprise companies. It's failed miserable at every attempt to support individual/small/medium customers. They've effectively given that up and acknowledged it.

Quarterguy | May 04, 2007 | 2:50PM

IBM is not a consumer base company anymore so they don't give a shit about their employees, they sell their crappy products to other corporate pigs that do the same slime crap as IBM.

IBM should do what Haliburton is doing, get the F**k out of the US and move their heaqdquarters and the entire stinky company to India. IBM loves India so much is sickening.

joe D | May 04, 2007 | 2:50PM

The number probably includes all high cost countries.... the issue is that it is not being done with proper thought and understanding.... it is being done to please the wall street and like always fill some pockets.... what have we come to... the elphant will now dance on its trunk...picture that..

aryan | May 04, 2007 | 2:59PM

I am currently an employee at IBM. The rumors are true and IBM is laying off a ton of people. They are also telling us to not notify our customers and to continue taking on work. I am not sure how long we all can put up with this. I am wondering why someone doesn't step in, namely our government, to prevent offshoring exploits of this type. It is destroying our society and putting many people on the street to look for a job in which there is a glut of those already seeking employment. I have been notified of another huge cut coming in a month that will be much larger than the previous one and I will most likely be part of that. Wonder why there is a huge upswing in foreclosures? This is one reason. Lives are being destroyed here. Come on politicians, step up and help those that put you in office, or soon they will come to remove you.

IBM in Boulder CO | May 04, 2007 | 3:12PM

I've been an IGS employee for almost 11 years. When they called on me to innovate, I innovated. When they called on me to listen harder to customers, I listened. When they called on me to improve my processes, I improved them, as far as my management - none of whom have ever done my job - would let me. When they called on me to broaden my skills, I broadened them. When they called on me to think outside the box, I thought outside the box.

I have taken bullets for this company, its shifting corporate priorities and its thick strata of obscenely overpaid senior management for years. The stock price is up. We had a solid '06, and a good Q1 '07. My division made money last year.

I missed the axe this time - some longtime and fastastically gifted and hard working colleagues did not. But most of us knew this was just the beginning.

I just bought a new truck. And now I'll be losing my job. At just about 50, my prospects for matching my current income, fairly modest by IBM standards, are dim. I could lose my house.

I hope the Darwinian capitalists out there are happy. Enjoy while you can - you're probably next.

Another IBM Employee | May 04, 2007 | 3:14PM

ibm

Mel | May 04, 2007 | 3:22PM

Can anyone tell me why there are 9 levels of management from my 1st line all the way up to SAM? What is wrong with that picture?

JC | May 04, 2007 | 3:22PM

Blame it all on Gerstner. He decided many years ago to keep IBM a single company when it was headed toward breaking up. A company of 300+ worldwide employees with multiple layers of VP's and directors building their own kingdoms of subject matter experts, competency commitees and and powerpoint experts cannot opperate efficiently and to think you can transform it now is ridiculous. The operating units need to break up and become their own profit centers. If it means going offshore, then go off shore and deal with the consequences. Stockholders, Wall Street and the employees all want the same thing, a healthy company that is making money and not invloved in this continual re-shaping, LEAN, 6 Sigma, or whatebver the new term is these days. Is Ruppert Murdoch interested in foregoing his bid for the Wall Street Journal and the NYSE and buying IBM? Maybe Carl Icahn is interested in turning Big Blue around. Anyone have his phone number?

GG | May 04, 2007 | 3:26PM

Tsis is all so the big boys up top can line their pockets. It just like the fiasco with the pension lawsuits...Lou and Sam were told by counsel they were going to get sued if they changed the plan like they wanted, but did it anyways to make their numbers for the bonuses. When is America going to wake up and stop letting these companies ruin our economy. Soon there will be no more middle class as all the white and blue coller jobs are offshored. We will be a nation of MsDonalds employees. Who do you think sees all this savings from offshoring...not the share holders or customers. Most of it goes to upper management and the board. Contrary to what people think...the offshore talent pool is no where near what we have in the states. I have dealt with plenty of these offshore teams within IBM, and they are poor replacements. The internal help desk is a joke, as are many of the call centers. Poor knowledge base, and impossible to understand. I have seen accounts turned over to offshore teams with admins who just completed a 2 week IT course !! That was thier whoel training...2 weeks. Upper management keeps on crowing about how great the offshore teams are...but those in the trenches know its all BS. We US/IBM employees end up fixing their work so the customer does not notice. IBM management KNOWS they is too much work for the people left and many SLAs are not going to get met for the customers...but they dont care. I was proud to be hired by IBM 15 years ago, and had the silly thought I could retire from the company. It used to be that when you hired IBM to do the job...you got the best...not anymore. Dr Watson is rolling over in his grave right now !!

disgusted | May 04, 2007 | 3:27PM

I hope your wrong about this. I wonder does this type of thing even go on elsewhere, or is this blogger just bashing IBM because it is a big company. What is the motivator for this blogger? Does he or she trying to make a name for themself?

Elvin DeDonis | May 04, 2007 | 3:29PM

I hope your wrong about this. I wonder does this type of thing even go on elsewhere, or is this blogger just bashing IBM because it is a big company. What is the motivator for this blogger? Does he or she trying to make a name for themself?

Elvin DeDonis | May 04, 2007 | 3:29PM

Tsis is all so the big boys up top can line their pockets. It just like the fiasco with the pension lawsuits...Lou and Sam were told by counsel they were going to get sued if they changed the plan like they wanted, but did it anyways to make their numbers for the bonuses. When is America going to wake up and stop letting these companies ruin our economy. Soon there will be no more middle class as all the white and blue coller jobs are offshored. We will be a nation of MsDonalds employees. Who do you think sees all this savings from offshoring...not the share holders or customers. Most of it goes to upper management and the board. Contrary to what people think...the offshore talent pool is no where near what we have in the states. I have dealt with plenty of these offshore teams within IBM, and they are poor replacements. The internal help desk is a joke, as are many of the call centers. Poor knowledge base, and impossible to understand. I have seen accounts turned over to offshore teams with admins who just completed a 2 week IT course !! That was theer whole training...a 2 week class. Upper management keeps on crowing about how great the offshore teams are...but those in the trenches know its all BS. We US/IBM employees end up fixing their work so the customer does not notice. The cutomer pays for expert service on their servers, but they are not getting it anymore. IBM management KNOWS they is too much work for the people left and many SLAs are not going to get met for the customers...but they dont care. I was proud to be hired by IBM 15 years ago, and had the silly thought I could retire from the company. It used to be that when you hired IBM to do the job...you got the best...you paid more because they were the best...but not anymore. Dr Watson is rolling over in his grave right now !!

disgusted | May 04, 2007 | 3:30PM

I have been w/IBM for 10 years started as ISSI they were making so much money IBM decided to them under the IBM logo. They "Global Services" if you believe some of the meetings contribute about 40% of the total revenue. The rest has been said in other comments. Ask yourself this question, with all this off shoring does it seem odd that the big money executive job/s aren't moved as well, for what these folks are making you could higher a thousand people in thier place ( each ) and actually get something done correctly. The real issue is poor management and that gets dumped on the employes back's.

tired of lies | May 04, 2007 | 3:31PM

Just a typical IBM Mgmt diet by cutting the meat and bone out and leaving all the fat. Customers are already 'pulling out' of LEAN, and long-term profitable customers are talking about leaving. Mgmt misses the point that THEY are the fat.

dejavu all over again | May 04, 2007 | 3:35PM

IBM - Idiots Become Managers

The IBM mantra: If 1 woman can have a baby in 9 months, then 9 cheaper women can have a baby in 1 month.

Or, to put it another way, 1 person with 15 years experience can be replaced by 15 cheaper people with no experience.

Doens't work that way....

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 3:42PM

Well, for the techs, all the folks doing the menial monkey work get cut first. Then the more talented subject matter experts (senior techs) need to absorb that gap, while still doing the more complex technically demanding work.

The salaried SMEs are fed up with the 70 - 100 hour weeks, and the most talented ones (not just technically, but with good communications, leadership, and customer facing skills) will either be jumping off the impending IBM train wreck to other companies, or may get cut in subsequent layoffs.

It's a joke that IBMers were told to hide LEAN from their customers. About what you would expect from clueless, IT-ignorant management that would instigate a disaster like this on the company, in concept and implementation.

on the front lines | May 04, 2007 | 3:47PM

LEAN, a plan specc's by Larry

Offshorting head-count to carry

work done so cheap

while Americans sleep

By folks who can wear a Sari

LEAN sounds good, of course, but the wrong folks are being leaned out-- the people who actually provide services to customers (internal or external). What's odd is that the bean-counters and financial types who've been so busy cutting corners aren't being LEANed. The ponderous bureaucracy that holds the company back from being agile enough to service customers is the one part of the various organizations that hasn't seen a knice directed... because they're the ones wielding the knife!

Jack C Lipton | May 04, 2007 | 3:49PM
just1waiting | May 04, 2007 | 3:51PM

As a former customer of IBM Global Services, and one that started with them back before they started underbidding everything, I have to say that I don't think IBM could do _anything_ to make IGS better. The individuals I dealt with there were mostly bright enough, they worked very hard, and they genuinely wanted to solve my problems. But they just couldn't, not once, do the job right the first time, as requested.

Disk arrays took three tries to build correctly. Implementations of their own products according to their own plans were never on time -- often by months. When the final delivery came, late, it was usually wrong. Documentation was frequently riddled with errors, and in some cases, wrong in ways such that the machines couldn't have worked if configured as documented. That was ok, though, because the documents had nothing to do with the machines anyway -- there was nothing resembling regular checking that the docs and systems looked like each other.

Most of this was due to management mistakes and big problems with the IBM culture. IGS was organized into teams that looked really good on a management chart, but that didn't work in fact. For instance, the "firewall" and "switch" teams reported to different bosses. You can imagine what troubleshooting anything was like: meetings involving 8 or 12 people, including all the managers, most of whom hadn't a clue what we were talking about. The rest of them were busy blaming the other team for the problem. And all of this was tied up in bureaucratic procedures that would have made Kafka weep. Every mistake led to outages that translated into lost business or SLA payments for me.

I don't see how shipping all the jobs offshore could make any difference: this is a group that just can't do its job at the price agreed to in the contracts, if my experience is any indication at all. It seems to me that, if IBM has decided to milk a few more years of contract payments out of their customers, paying less in salary and pensions is a perfectly sensible thing to do. As Bob pointed out in the previous set of articles on IGS, the customer started getting the shaft long ago. My guess is that very few will still be around once the current contracts all expire.

Acowymous Nonherd | May 04, 2007 | 3:56PM

IBM has been in the business of saving money for years. IBM needs to be in the business of making money. The execs are touting double digit growth for the last ten quarters, and that 2006 was a banner year, breaking records for the company in many areas, and yet virtually every division is missing their targets? Fascinating.

The morons who set the targets need to be LEANed. Sam and his cronies need to be LEANed. Management teams who are blindly following this nonsense need to be LEANed. They've cut the front line troops for years, LEAN is taking out the final pillars in the foundations of the company, the final weight bearing structures that are holding the company from collapse.

Little Blue Mushroom | May 04, 2007 | 3:56PM

May.04.2007:15:45 ET
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http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070504_002027.html
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I am a current IBMer who did not receive the axe (yet). Seeing that the IBM U.S. is being killed off I am planning on how to thrive now and for the long term (hopefully). I am not at the point of taking any employment offer. I have not been offered anything yet. I am planning so that I may make better decisions in the near future.
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My questions are directed to those out there who have been recently cut, are getting cut, or are just fed up and planning on their own, whether they are IBM heritage or not.
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> 1 of 4>
A lot of folks go into consulting, either on their own or with another company. What is the best way to enter this arena? And, what does it take to keep one's self employed as a consultant? This can be freelance or whatever is deemed consulting by today's practices.
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If consulting is not one's preference, then what about contracting in a similar profession? What signs indicate a better contracting firm over another?
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When in the employ of consulting or contracting, what is the best way to obtain health and other needed benefits?
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and lastly
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If working for a pay check is not one's choice any longer, who amongst you are on track to financial indepence and what are you doing to maintain that momentum? As posted in one of the earlier comments, a suggestion was made to form XIBM as an entity and gain business that dying IBM will lose due to bad management.
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As these postings are for the most part anonymous, I am posting my 'front' email so as to gain any type of ideas or suggestions from ones who have gone before me. If you do decide to email me please put in a reference to the subject of 'The Big Blew'. I will answer all sincere emails, although not right away. You never know, my simple post may draw huge.
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Thank you all for your time. -- anc1ent@yahoo.com

Arnie Marchetti | May 04, 2007 | 3:57PM

LEAN = lets employ another nation

just me | May 04, 2007 | 3:57PM

That's not all IBMer's are told to hide from the customer. IBMer's are routinely told to fudge and make up the metrics that "somehow" add up to show what a great thing the outsourcing is. And how the information is arrived at is NOT to be shown to the customer.
And then, they all have to take their yearly Business Ethics and Code of Conduct review. What a joke.

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 3:58PM

what IBM needs is a few more managers living in a dream world. It has been getting worse by the minute since Sam took over. It's amazing that this latest resource action is directed at older IBMers

another1bites the dust | May 04, 2007 | 3:59PM

My suggestion: Everyone that is left, get together and present your customer with your own "outsourcing" package. You already have the knowledge and skills. IBM may be paying peanuts overseas but they're still charging the customer a pretty penny. We could undercut their price and STILL make more money than we are now...

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 4:04PM

Heh. I worked at DEC in the 80's. My, my does this sound familiar. Death spiral indeed. I'm very sorry for all the employees who will be discovering their jobs are not for life. The average DECcie who was laid off had their income cut very drastically for a very long time.

And just think what this will do to the real estate market. This could be the sort of thing that actually pushes the country into a full-blown recession.

TLC | May 04, 2007 | 4:05PM

Hey,
It's Tory. I came across this today.

Karen Jefferson | May 04, 2007 | 4:06PM

IBM ==> It's Burned out Mostly

Jack Spencer | May 04, 2007 | 4:09PM

I survived this round. 150K seems high - but 70K or so is probably right. Lose 30-40% of customer base maybe? It will take a bit longer than you say I think, mid 2008 then they'll sell what left of the division off to one of their competitors who has a clue as to how to make money in this business cuz IBM sure as heck dont just as they never could with PCs and they are finally realizing it.

stillherebarely | May 04, 2007 | 4:09PM

The right people need to be LEANed. On my account, we have an over all PE(Project Executive) and then he has 4 DPEs (Deputy Project Executive) that report to him. They are there to act as liason to various parts of the customers business. Like: Security, ID Admin etc. Then they have 2 AVMs that are responsible for server uptime and driving solutions when a problem occurs, and each site has at least 1 SDM (Service Delivery Manager)they liason with customers at the more local level. So count that up and you will see that IBM GS is in upside down pyramid and it is being held upright by the guys in the trenches. Well with moves like this the guys in the treches will stop caring and let the dang thing topple over. I can not wait until it does.

anon | May 04, 2007 | 4:10PM

IBM should be banned from taking any H1B visas from the yearly nationwide allocation. Hmmm... banned for 5 years sounds about right to me.

cmh | May 04, 2007 | 4:11PM

IBM is still in business? Oh, ya - I remember the comercials. Phone call - "Tech support: My server is down. I didn't hear that - what? No speeke english?"

Dan | May 04, 2007 | 4:15PM

I have worked for IBM Global Services (IGS) for 10 years (ISSC before that). Read Jim Collins book, Good to Great. Although this book is several years old, it is still poignant. This book outlines a very detailed study of how a good company becomes a great company. IBM is actually doing everything wrong, almost exactly the opposite of what they (we) should be doing to attain greatness. I have witnessed the decline of IBM, almost like a patient with a terminal illness, dragging on for year to it's ultimate demise. Although I have been told I am "protected" (something that I really no longer believe), I have started to look for work outside IBM before a true disaster unfolds. Good bye BIG BLUE.

Diminished Blue | May 04, 2007 | 4:15PM

If there are 150K in layoffs...then there needs to be 150,012 with the top mgmt. being the first 12.

volcat | May 04, 2007 | 4:23PM

LEAN came through this week and we lost several key hard-working employees, some with 30+ years experience. They will not be replaced by Americans or Asians. Instead, the remaining employees will pick up the slack, at least until the fortunate ones, myself included, are able to find a job with someone who cares.

As a good example of IBM's complete disrepect and contempt of their customers, two weeks ago our level one help desk was outsourced to India WITHOUT THE CUSTOMER'S KNOWLEDGE! We were told not to leak the information to them "because they would be upset," as if they would somehow not notice (they have not so far, although the customer's complaint levels have risen dramatically).

A quitting IBMer | May 04, 2007 | 4:26PM

I work at IBM now and it's the most miserable place in the world to be. It's just a pit of despair right now and I'm willing to take a pay cut to get out! I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

IBMER | May 04, 2007 | 4:28PM

LEAN came through this week and we lost several key hard-working employees, some with 30+ years experience. They will not be replaced by Americans or Asians. Instead, the remaining employees will pick up the slack, at least until the fortunate ones, myself included, are able to find a job with someone who cares.

As a good example of IBM's complete disrepect and contempt of their customers, two weeks ago our level one help desk was outsourced to India WITHOUT THE CUSTOMER'S KNOWLEDGE! We were told not to leak the information to them "because they would be upset," as if they would somehow not notice (they have not so far, although the customer's complaint levels have risen dramatically).

A quitting IBMer | May 04, 2007 | 4:29PM

Don't blame IBM. Giant corporations are just dumb machines that optimize for short-term income. If laws for the public good don't restrain them, they just continue on their course.

If you don't like the direction this country is going, you need to get involved and do something. This mostly means educating those around you to vote for representatives who will work to fix the system.

dude wrote: At least we can still make money selling real estate to each other.

Health care too. Stakes are higher though. When you have no insurance, they can get very high.

John | May 04, 2007 | 4:30PM

IBM: "India, Brazil... and Management"
or: "I Browse Monster.com"
or: "Indians Beat 'Mericans"

LEAN isn't the problem, it's just an excuse.

Hopefully Nicholas Cage will play my part in "Gone in 30 Days"...

shallow blue | May 04, 2007 | 4:31PM

Let's face it. Even those of us sticking around aren't stupid. I for one am not sticking around because of fear or lack of better options or hope that I'd still be left standing after all the cuts are done. It's very simple. We don't get any unemployment benefits if we resign. If we stick around and wait and see, we might get a package which we could then turn around and use to maybe get the heck out of this industry that's no longer much fun.

anonymous | May 04, 2007 | 4:33PM

I wrote: Don't blame IBM.

Actually, I take that back. People (including people with a hand in running giant multi-national companies) should still be expected to behave in a socially acceptable way, even if it's not required by law.

But my point still holds that, if you want change, you need to start educating those around you so we can all make positive change happen.

John | May 04, 2007 | 4:37PM

It's time to unionize before it is too late!

http://www.allianceibm.org/

feeling blue | May 04, 2007 | 4:43PM

What is unstated in this H1B aspect of the story is not that technical workers are unavailable but that CHEAP technical workers are unavailable.



This is the logical fallacy behind all this "jobs Americans won't do" bulldada. Americans will do any job, provided that it pays adequately given the skills required and type of work to be done.

Otis Wildflower | May 04, 2007 | 4:44PM

I went to work for a wonderful little computer company called Scientific Data Systems in January 1969. Xerox purchased it to get into the computer market to go head to head with IBM 3 months later. We all missed the little company go-go atmosphere but working for a great company like Xerox would guarantee long, prosperous careers and good retirements. The joke was on us! Xerox milked the company and wrote off all it could for 5 years, then it dumped everyone except 600 field service people, whom they gave to Honeywell along with the installed base. Working for Honeywell was a living death. They didn't want us and did all they could to make us quit ASAP. That lesson in loyalty taught me well. Work for a company only as long as nothing better's available, then take the better deal!

Charles Aston | May 04, 2007 | 4:48PM

The axe missed me this time. It did catch some good folks, though. None of them, as far as I can see, dead-weight. None of them, as far as I can see, in the management ranks.


My customers could rely on those folks to provide support within minutes in an emergency. Now, the customer will call a 'coordinator', who will probably do his best to match the customer's problem to a name on a list. The coordinator will then leave a voice-mail for that name (in Bangalore or Sao Paulo) who won't know anything about the customer's business and will require hours of Q&A before he can hope to be helpful.


Now, the icing on the cake, is IBM's annual 'diversity exercise'. This manditory hour-long conference call and slide-show is intended to reinforce company standards in the areas of non-discrimination. This year's subject is 'generational diversity' and the weenies on the call spent an inordinate amount of time bemoaning the fact that in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand the company is facing a brain-drain as the experienced older employees are leaving.

I have a simple solution for that ---- RETRAIN THE FOLKS, DON'T LAY THEM OFF !!!

But I guess that isn't as easy as firing them and begging Sam's buddies in DC for yet more H1B visas.

old SME | May 04, 2007 | 4:48PM

Questions:
1. I understand that there are state governments that are outsourcing their IT services to IBM and is laying off state employees. These jobs may go overseas as well. Is there any way to verify this info.

2. Our job market is turning coo, what is our government doing about jobs migrating overseas?

Thanks

Henry | May 04, 2007 | 4:51PM

Government account contracts prohibit offshoring. Some contracts even forbid non U.S. citizens from working on the acounts.

Me | May 04, 2007 | 4:56PM

I work for IBM too. I lost my server and mail admin jobs to outsourcing 4 years ago. Good, engaging, interesting work that I enjoyed.

I moved to deskside services with the expectation that hands on would always be needed there and that I would be reasonably secure there. But my peers and I have watched as each new initiative reduces the perceived necessity for our services.

Customer's are not saving nearly as much money with us as they may have expected, possibly costs are actually higher now for their IT services as a result. The more specialized account knowledge and expereince that are lost the longer it takes to resolve our customer's problems. That means not only more IBM billable hours for customers paying by the hour, but worse, more lost productivity for our customers. That lost productivity is a huge hidden expense that was largely ignored, but believe me, our customers are catching on.

Living in fear of losing my job and health benefits is seriously impacting my wellbeing and job performance. With serious health issues it is hard to believe I can find a job whcih will allow me to immediately resume healthcare benefits without waiting several months to a year to earn this privilege. Last time I was on the job market the wait was 6 months before I could qualify to receive benefits. So a transition away from IBM to another job with another company looks very scary, not to mention that with so many techs still looking for technical work, it seems likelier and likelier I may have to retrain for a totally new occupation.

This might be fine when I was much younger, but seems much scarier now that I am pushing 50. I already have enough issues on my plate to cause me to feel suicidal, how many more pushes toward the edge should I tolerate?

Scared | May 04, 2007 | 4:56PM

How is this actually good reporting? I've never kept track of Cringely's reporting before, but I expect a LOT more from something with the PBS label on it.

IBM doesn't have 150K workers in the US to lay off. There are only 160K IBM employees in the *entire Western Hemisphere*. If you're going to spread FUD, at least make it credible.

Random workerBee IBMer | May 04, 2007 | 4:56PM

I dont agree with IBM's lack of communication to both thier customers and thier employees. IBM is by no means a well oiled machine and will continue to face issues with dwindling revenue unless they take a hard look at how they can improve the way they do business internally.

Dal | May 04, 2007 | 4:58PM

IBM speaks of employee retention, but what have they done in Global Services over the last 5 years to make that happen? The answer is not only nothing, but they've done everything to shove their good employees out the door.
At IBM you're simply an expendable human resource feeding the big blue economic machine, and when it's done digesting you, it will excrete in the dirt. No pay raise in 4 years, nice retention strategy big blue.

Anonymous IBM employee | May 04, 2007 | 4:58PM

Let's see, AT&T just won a huge government contract, and AT&T outsources a huge amount of their IT. Ok, so the law prohibits the DIRECT outsourcing of government contracts, as long as you have at least 1 buffer, then it's ok.....

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 4:58PM

To "Random workerBee" - I don't know about the exact numbers, but believe me pretty much everything else being said here is the absolute truth. If you want to throw the whole thing out the window because 1 number gets misrepresented, that's your right, go ahead and stick you head in the sand. Believe me, IBM routinely "fudges" WAY more than just 1 number to give to the customer to "prove" how well everything is going....

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 5:03PM

While the reality of globalization is painful, I think the discussion of H1B visa issue is off the mark. As it stands now, the jobs that companies like IBM are cutting are going to foreign workers oversees. These people are not paying US taxes; renting US apartments, purchasing US services etc. At least people on H1B visas are spending a good part of their money here and some of them are interested in becoming legal permanent residents.

Also, the stories about IBM cutting the quality of service due to offshore coordination difficulties have to be judged in the light of clients choosing Indian providers for a range of IT work (especially for lower end application development and maintenance). Surely, the quality of service may suffer when IBM relies more on its offshore staff; but, if the clients are willing to accept this sacrifice when they buy from Indian vendors, why would they not accept it when they buy from IBM as long as the price is competitive?

FacingTheFacts | May 04, 2007 | 5:11PM

"Random workerBee IBMer" -- 150K may not be correct for the U.S., but if you're really a "workerbee", you'd know what's happening on the front lines where real work gets done. Or maybe you're one of those useless paper pushing high-band folks working in a vacuum in corporate that really should be LEAN'd off. Seems like the latter to me.

Thanks for reporting this, Mr. Cringely.

a real worker bee | May 04, 2007 | 5:13PM

The comments are much more damaging to me than the article itself. I believe many are actual employees based on the details of acronyms.

More disscussion is needed on this topic. I have specifically turned my own children away from IT as I dont see a future.

My peers and I try to control costs, work alot of ovetime and believe the lack of pay will be amended as promised in the future.

I am aware management uses the lower wages of my Indian counter parts to get more out of us.

I think many of my indian team members are just out of school and lack the business experience,we who live in the US have. I know its only a matter of time before the learning curve is acheived and the economy of scale will tip me out of this career.

I was made aware of outsource by Indians now living in the US. They seem to work on skills that are not outsourced and ignore those tasks to be off shored. They are working long hours also to offset the lower wages abroad.

I have been told to document the actual savings of a project of offshore versus home. It is hard to do as after install the project closes yet defects and calcualting the downtime or lost customer good will, reduces the initial promised gain.

I do see those that promised the gain long gone and off to another area. I dont see how this business plan was ever thought sustainable long term.
I too am stuck in game theory trying to surive as I cringe while shopping at wal-mart. Knowing that I may contribute to the death spiral of my own middle class.
There are clearly winners in the offshore of jobs at this point. But I have to ask how much is enough for those that profit from this ?
I see no hope for postive change with the current politicians. I do see increased division among people as they compete in the shrinking domestic job market.
Shedding light on this subject seems quite distasteful to many in leadership positions. I will accept it as inevitable.

It took me quite awhile to understand how Lou Gerstner 'saved' IBM and the disapearance of the over funded employess pension were just coincidental. A legacy IBM-er winked and told me that was no coincidence, but it was 'legal'.

I do think it could be changed for the better. But after Enron and Haliburton it may take a while.

ibmuhoh | May 04, 2007 | 5:14PM

FUD at its worst. It doesn't even clarify whether the supposed insider contacts had access to the information or were speculating about it.

"....this is according to my many friends at Big Blue, who ***believe*** they are about to undergo the biggest restructuring of IBM..."

Denilson | May 04, 2007 | 5:15PM

I was one of the 1300 just let go in this round. Second time as a contractor that they purged me to save a few dollars.

Fortunately, this time, I had the coolest manager in Big Blue, and was given a sly heads-up, so that I could get my life affairs in order. It would have been most uncool to have been surprised like the slap from a dead fish.



I am indeed forced with the entirety of retraining for a new career from the ground up. The IT world is dead in my geographic region. It used to be that SysAdmin was in demand and relatively immune from this kind of pointy-haired malevolence. Not so any longer.



Into what new career can one go at 40 without losing everything to go back to school for two to five years?

I never trusted IBM after the 2002 layoffs. Good for me for saving and keeping my eyes open.

Jumped w/o Parachute | May 04, 2007 | 5:16PM

Global Services has worked their employees to death. We are just pieces of Office furniture at this point. The attitude is that if nothing breaks, then they can keep cutting. "It is not broken, guess we can cut more. Most of the people can not give their work to anyone before they leave or there is no one to give it to. We have been told that now we are required to do 14% overtime to make up for those that were let go. Contractors were let go in huge amounts. Why does no one care about any of this.. ohhh yes.. it is all about how Wall Street sees us.

IBMerwhohashadenough | May 04, 2007 | 5:18PM

I'm a IBM First Line Manager that was notified on 5/1. IBM's LEAN answer to reducing the "heavy Management" ranks is to reduce the First Line Managers. In some areas, almost 1/2 were cut. They aren't reducing the levels of Management, just the management that the employees report to, so they have less time for their employees. The reporting structure from the worker to Sam will be just as deep.

Anonymous IBM employee | May 04, 2007 | 5:22PM

It is true, there are 2 more waves of layoffs coming folks. This is from a 3rd line manager and a VP. The est. is around another 50,000 going bye bye.

IBMer who has had enough | May 04, 2007 | 5:22PM

Too bad you didn't get the facts straight, at least that would have been good journalism.

J | May 04, 2007 | 5:23PM

George W. Bush and Sam Palmisano, separated at birth?

Both inept CEOs of failing enterprises.

Organizations which were successful and optimistic before their clueless ham-handed meddling.

I need to divest from the USA and take my resources to a more business-friendly climate. Chile? Brazil?

No Surprise | May 04, 2007 | 5:31PM

Let's count the shills..

1. Random workerBee IBMer
2. Denilson
3. J

More shills to come as the managers find this article.

feeling blue | May 04, 2007 | 5:32PM

"kaizen" a Japanese word that translates as "continuous improvement"

This is what LEAN is really about. It worked for Toyota who is now kicking GM's ass. The end result of process improvement sometimes means fewer people. Don't blame LEAN for this round of layoffs.

Mike | May 04, 2007 | 5:32PM

Let's count the shills..

1. Random workerBee IBMer
2. Denilson
3. J

More shills to come as the managers find this article.

feeling blue | May 04, 2007 | 5:33PM

Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM, is rolling over in his grave right now for what Palmisano along with Gerstner did to his company. Thomas J. Watson was all about loyalty. You show loyalty to your company, your company will take care of you. What a shame some money hungry executives, who are not worth the salary they make, will break what was once - a long time ago - a good company to work for.

Regina Barcomb | May 04, 2007 | 5:34PM

The "LEAN" that IBM talks about should NOT be confused with the "lean" approach as practiced by Toyota and taught by many others, including myself. When I implement lean with organizations, we do NOT lay off people as a result of any efficiency improvement. We create new opportunities by letting
"extra" people work on continued lean efforts in other departments or we grow the business to create more work. As Jim Womack says, "Lean is about doing more with less, not doing less with lots less (people)."

It's very sad for the IBM employees. I'm sorry you have lousy management. Don't blame this on real Lean, the Toyota Production System.

Mark Graban | May 04, 2007 | 5:35PM

I once worked at UPS during 1995 and all the people I worked with were from Big Blue. They all had one thing in common: they felt betrayed. After years of dedication and hard work the Armonk facility in N.Y. ruthlessly layed off a large portion of their work force. Back then, I thought they were finished.
But now, 12 years later they are about to really finish the job.

Michael | May 04, 2007 | 5:36PM

LEAN = layoff every american now
IBM = Indian Business Machines

Rufus Bluefus | May 04, 2007 | 5:39PM

"More shills to come as the managers find this article."




Yep, this link is spreading as fast as the SameTime infrastructure can handle.

just another serial number | May 04, 2007 | 5:44PM

They definitely won't survive this, and personally, I think there will be a huge backlash, especially from their corporate clients. I for one, will absolutely, positively, never, ever, ever, endorse a single piece of hardware, software, or service offering coming from that company again, never.

IBM will not survive this | May 04, 2007 | 5:44PM

It doesn’t take a real programmer to manipulate XML and property files. A clerk from the 3rd world country can do it just fine. So what’s the answer? If you are young, then go back to school and learn the trade which is of value in this country. If not, well, ride into the sunset.

IBM employee | May 04, 2007 | 5:45PM

Lean works. Period. What IBM is doing is not lean. It is a perversion given an honorable name to make it appear more honorable. Lean is about removing waste--whether that's scrap, unnecessary motion, or wholly ineffective management.

It's a shame actually. Had IBM really wanted to implement Lean (which, interestingly, is a service they offer their customers), they could have really saved the company. Instead, they're playing taps as the ships sinks lower and lower.

Lean Afficionado | May 04, 2007 | 5:47PM

A global economy thats what you hear "we must improve the global economy its for the better of us all" I ask you this, if outsourcing is the answer to booming up the "global economy" then who is going to buy the products, services, etc produced by the Global Economy??? It won't be workers in the US because they don't have jobs to afford the luxery of such trivial products we are now a little more worried about actual survival. In the end these types of outsourcings have effects throughout the world. Sure you boost up another countries economy but hey sooner or later those companies paying for outsourced service can't afford it anymore because they have no friggen customers buying their products or services. We have to stand up and put a stop to this whole outsourcing situation period across the board! Our own Country is at extreme risk along with our children. A show I watched about Outsourcing stated that its the only way we can grow up and advance into other areas that haven't been thought of yet. Um, hello how in the heck are we supposed to truly think of innovative ideas when we are so stressed out because we can't provide for our families! I am not saying that this move IBM has decided to make is going to stop the world from turning. What I am saying is that if this actually takes place don't think other companies won't take the Leap because hey they did it, why do you think we are! If your a US based company then you know what you can only outsource a percentage of your workforce thats the rule. If you want to move your company overseas fine you deal with all the crap over there and quit reaping the benefits of actually being in the US. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

IBM who is fed up | May 04, 2007 | 5:51PM

Bob, it's called a "resource action," not a "job action." ;-)

Bob Thompson | May 04, 2007 | 5:52PM

I'm caught in this, being an IBM employee. We have been told not to let the user know. Now that this secret is out on the web, I have no idea what management will say about the "secret". The main problem I see is the language barrier. Frankly, I have a terrible time understanding the folks from India. Very polite and have a basic understanding of processing, but they are not even in the ball park on job knowledge. But, hey, as the article says, if you get a 6 month surge in profits, that's the one and only one thing that's looked at.

R Maddox | May 04, 2007 | 5:52PM

Wow. What a lot of vitriol.
I've been at IBM 14 years. Every table I sit at half the people around it have been there longer, half not as long. You don't get employee retention like that unless you are doing something right.
The whole premise of this article seems... wrong. It does not describe the company I work for. The spiteful always want to see the proud made humble. I'm proud of my company. I'm proud of it's charitable activity, it's long view on things, and how it supports its customers. I've got a great manager and see good prospects for the future.
This fear mongering is just... weird.

Jo Grant | May 04, 2007 | 5:59PM

Those of us who work with IBM's China team know how hopelessly inadequate they are. Testers test products without any real product knowledge; developers who don't speak English develop GUI's; and people who can't write a sentence and who do not know the product write the product documentation.

We know where the Big Blue Ship is heading, and we also know that we have about as much chance of surviving as the third class passengers on the Titanic.

The person who said the reason people aren't jumping ship is because we're waiting for a package is exactly right.

IBEAMER | May 04, 2007 | 6:01PM

Fear mongering eh....let's talk about Dell. Plenty of that there.

Joe | May 04, 2007 | 6:04PM

First, I was one of the people cut during the Gerstner days. Wasn't happy about it, but I understood: the company needed to move in a different direction, and I was not in a position to help. And frankly, I needed to move in a different direction too, and the layoff was a kick in the pants. Worked out OK for all concerned. Not without pain.

In terms of 'corporate memory,' IBM's GS division started well after I left (1994), and includes the purchased consulting arm of some Big Five firm (was it Price-Waterhouse?) Anyway, I'm not so sure how big an impact that really is, if all these people have been moving around to different consulting projects.

The offshoring move is questionable, and subject lots of problems. In addition to what you mention (and I agree with) there's also currency-value fluctuations. I wouldn't make long term strategic decisions that depended on a high dollar right now.

John Stoner | May 04, 2007 | 6:08PM

Shill

I've Been Manraped | May 04, 2007 | 6:12PM

I like your article a lot.

I would like to comment on H1-B Visa. IBM is not the only place that hire H1-B candidates. On the contrary H1-B are being paid by US co. much more then regulars. In some cases twice. Its just easy to get rid of them. I agree with your comments on LEAN . It was expected though but not upto this quick.Good Luck IBM

sanjay Oberai | May 04, 2007 | 6:15PM

The large semiconductor equipment manufacturer I work for now is doing the same thing though of course on a much smaller scale. Its help desk and much of the rank and file systems and network admins are being or have been let go. This means very large groups of highly skilled employees who understood this companies systems and network infrastructure very well have either left (many saw the writing on the wall) or been laid off. The data network at the company's silicon valley HQ for example lost all but 1 of its network operations people leaving the stability and maintenance of a very large data network for a global fortune 500 company down to one extremely stressed and overworked person. Apparently this is happening with their storage engineering as well.

The help desk and rank and file systems/network admin work (and who knows what else) all went to an Indian company as well.

Jim | May 04, 2007 | 6:16PM

I need to brush up on my ass-kissing skill - I have a gap there and it seems the ones who survive these things are at least a 2 (new weighting criteria). My goal is to be a 3! Now where's that PD tool link again??? How do you open favorites in the browser thingee??? Where's my assistant? Oh, yes, she was let go, darn it!

corporate climber | May 04, 2007 | 6:18PM

I think US based "customers" of IBM should stop using crappy IBM products and services all together, then they can fire the idiot executives who hatch these schemes. At the end of the day, the US based workers, and all the dependencies their salaries pump into their economy - home purchases, cars, shopping, and so on - all of these suffer for moves like these. And guess who IBM sells computers/servers and services to? These very same customers who will be heavily affected when less shoppers come in and spend money cause IBM fired them. Vicious circle.

DB | May 04, 2007 | 6:19PM

You're right, IBM employee, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to manipulate XML and property files. However, it DOES take someone with knowledge and experience on applications with millions of lines of code to keep it running and be able to improve/troubleshoot it. What planet do you live on? Have you ever actually worked on an application that had more than 1 page of code? As for the older employees "riding off into the sunset", aren't you forgetting that all those employee lost all of their 20+ years severence pay when they were "outsourced" to IBM and given no choice in the matter?
You may think it's all plain XML code, in your tiny little universe that is totally disconnected from reality, but I for one am sick and tired of getting test results back from overseas that "all cases passed, 100%" - and then when we check it ourselves, find out that not 1 single thing was done - not ONE - the app won't even run. So all of us "lower performing" people in the US get told to work whatever amount of unpaid overtime it takes to make it work, no raise, no bonus, WE get the app out the door on time and running, and overseas gets all the credit - for doing absolutely NOTHING. And, then, the headlines and internal metrics read, how wonderful the outsourcing is working, how much money its saving, etc....

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 6:19PM

The article is dead on. I still have a job, but a year from now, who knows?

My only hope is there's a mass revolt of customer who are sick of lousy service and 5,000-mile phone calls and they start bringing their workers back in to the corporate fold.

We call can't work at WelMart.

Flamethrower | May 04, 2007 | 6:21PM

Boycott IBM and send them packing out of this country for good. Revoke corporate officers citizenships. Give them a one-way ticket. We need to ethically cleanse this country anyway.

Lynne Chrzanowski | May 04, 2007 | 6:24PM

If anyone thinks LEAN is about reducing process work, they are smoking wacky weed. Process work has doubled or more in the last month. None of this helps our customers.
Real work is slowed down.

Applying Murphys laws of names, anything corporate is the opposite of its name; eg LEAN = FAT.
History is repeating the late 90s and 2001 downsizing which gutted so many IT companies to the point HP nows primarily sells printer ink, IBM produces playstation chips, and the rest don't exist, except Sun, which resisted mass sackings. Expect a resurgence there.

No comment on M$, except one word, Vista.

I fear you are right Bob, which is a pity, as IBM has many really good techs and managers, which is a rare combination.

Statorius | May 04, 2007 | 6:24PM

Boycott IBM and send them packing out of this country for good. Revoke corporate officers citizenships. Give them a one-way ticket. We need to ethically cleanse this country anyway.

Lynne Chrzanowski | May 04, 2007 | 6:24PM

The H-1B workers are being paid less than USA citizens, not more. Numerous reports have confirmed this.

JB | May 04, 2007 | 6:24PM

I am an IBM employee in Global Services. I do not have any knowledge of the LEAN program, but Cringely's other assessments ring very true. I even wonder if a current IBM employee was a ghostwriter for this column.

IBM worker | May 04, 2007 | 6:25PM

Yeah right! This article sounds like it's been researched very thoroughly: by reading conspiracy theory blogs ...

Believe U. Not | May 04, 2007 | 6:25PM

and the LEAN stuff they are implementing is so slapdash, so unthought out, so poorly resourced that it boggles my mind that this is the same IBM I work for.

Flamethrower | May 04, 2007 | 6:25PM

A few years ago, my former employer started outsourcing a lot of IT folks. At that time, I was doing so much work for them and left them before they had a chance to investigate all the things I do. Ultimately, they had to replace me with 6 people. All 150K employees should resign en masse and start a different company. IBM will probably have to hire 750K people.

john | May 04, 2007 | 6:31PM

All IBM is doing is jumping ship from one emerging country to another. As the skills and rates increase in India, they will have to more resources to the next emerging country, Vietnam for example. I have already experienced customer, internal and external dissatisfaction with our global outsourcing. Sam can not see the issues at ground level because he is sitting in the ivory tower at the top and is blind (and does not care) what happens in the trenches. Maybe we should lay off Sam and take his $18M bonus to become lean that way.

IBM employee | May 04, 2007 | 6:32PM

Believe U. Not - I don't know about the entire LEAN program, although I DO know people who have already been notified in the initial 1300 layoff.
As for what is currently happening internally, this is all pretty much true, coming from people actuall THERE - "in the trenches". So, if you think this is all a conspiracy theory, that means you are either 1 of 2:

1) Somebody who knows absolutely nothing about what is really happening, totally clueless

2) A top IBM executive who just noticed that another executives 140 foot yacht is 2 foot longer than your 138-footer, and need to lay off as many people as possible so you can get a longer yacht. Good luck with that.

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 6:32PM

or maybe this is ghost written by an IBM competitor.
If it isn't it, it is easy to follow the logic of IBM execs. Lots of people go out of a job, but what the hell, they can't see it from their front porch. And they will definitely be bonusing them selves.

froggy57 | May 04, 2007 | 6:34PM

Please not to be upsetting your cart of apples. All will well if only you come join us in our wonderful country.

peshmam_shitanti | May 04, 2007 | 6:37PM

IBM: If we don't get more H1B workers to fill the gap the economy will collapse.

US Govt: No problem we'll put legislation in place to help you. Hire away..

IBM: Oopps, sorry we made a mistake, missed a (-) it was -150,000 workers that was needed and not +150,000.

IBM CEO: Profit!!

IBM employee: WTF?

Jim Kern | May 04, 2007 | 6:39PM

Read this when you can.

PRESHIRL CARTER | May 04, 2007 | 6:47PM

Read when you can.b

ALISIA MORRIS | May 04, 2007 | 6:48PM

For Jo Grant, I hope you are as optimistic when you lose your job at IBM or you are called upon to lie to a customer to cover up for a bad decision by a manager 3 levels above you even though both of you have read and signed off on the BCG (Business Conduct Guidelines). I have worked here (at IBM) for almost a decade and when I first started I thought I was going to finish my career here. Not anymore. I am actively looking for a job elsewhere. As the saying goes, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

I have seen the "anything to please wall street" mentality before (used to work for another company in the industry that has all but disappeared and I wasn't so wise to what was happening and got laid off). I found a great job because I had strong marketable skills but it still was financially painful until I found the next great situation. This time I think I will leave on my own terms.


I have a great manager at IBM too, its too bad that she is put in a compromising situation on a regular basis as she is told by executive yes men further up the food chain to implement blatantly stupid and customer damaging decisions to help "pop" the stock each quarter. Management from Palmisano on down make short-sighted decisions to help their stock options, instead of doing the right thing for the right reasons, over the long term to help keep the company healthy and growing. The interesting part about it is I don't even work in the IGS division but I have seen these poor decisions being made all over the company and have finally come to the realization that I needed to put more effort into finding employment somewhere else.


Another sad observation is that part of the reason all of this is happening is because senior management at our customers companies are making the same "please wall street" decisions in order to make the stock pop this quarter. It all goes back to finding honest men with integrity to run our American companies. They are very hard to find. And sadly IBM hasn't been able to avoid this curse. I think I will go find a privately held company to work for, perhaps this is the only way I can avoid having to deal with "please wall street" flu, or executive "lack of integrity-itis".

used to like working at IBM | May 04, 2007 | 6:48PM

Quote:
"It is true, there are 2 more waves of layoffs coming folks. This is from a 3rd line manager and a VP. The est. is around another 50,000 going bye bye."

IBMer who has had enough | May 04, 2007 | 5:22PM
End Quote

So this so-called 3rd line manager & VP have confirmed IBM is going to let go of ONE THIRD of their US employees? 50,000 people?? I've been called a pessimist before, but this is a bold statement. The article talks about 150K people in the US - that's basically the entire IBM workforce in the States.

Whether or not the concept is true, that's one thing. But these numbers are outrageous.

JD | May 04, 2007 | 6:49PM

So when do the other IT companies follow suit?

CSC, EDS, Accenture, SystemHouse, etc...Will they panic and overreact just to appear to be cutting edge?

Or will they move in like sharks in bloody water trying to pick off juicy morsels?

Zoxesyr | May 04, 2007 | 6:53PM

I think IBM started falling a long time ago, I'm surprised they are still around! From dropping the manufacturing of their computers to this... How does this company even survive. Oh and for the record, sending jobs overseas... not a great idea when it comes to customer service. I don't want to talk w/ some guy named Bob in India who doesn't understand what I am saying, nor can I understand him!

Free Nature Photography Wallpaper | May 04, 2007 | 6:54PM

First let me state, I work IBM LEAN everyday and have for the past 9 months. We were part of the "inovators" at IBM and were on the line when the implementors out of Chicago hired by IBM for $6 million to come in and make LEAN work at our account. I lived it, breathed it so I know what I am talking about, I was there for the executive briefings with the fudged up numbers from the consultants and told what to say and when to say it, I was there when we pleaded with the consultants to give us the babsis for the numbers they were spouting, I was there when we told them it cannot work in a service organization as it is layed out, I heard the Toyota speach, I made a simple suggestion that we "don't make cars, we provide a service" and was branded the rebel. As others have stated this is not true Lean, this is a bastardized, Frankensteined version of something that works that was brought in and molded to fit the ideas and perceptions the consultants wanted the IBM heirarchy to see and hear. No substantiations or metrics to prove the numbers were ever brought out and if we asked for them we were ignored. And yet it continues because the people that signed the contract and the checks to their "friends" at the consulting firm, can never be proven wrong or made to look bad and those 2nd and 3rd line managers that did found themselves on other accounts or out the door.
As for the layoffs it is 100% true, I am in the middle of it now and have been for a month, daily calls from the bean counters, "give me 20 people we can release", "no give me 30", now it's all contractors, you provide support but do not work in a billable job you are gone, now or in the very near future. Regulars will be next on the block, 2nd line and 3rd lines already have been told they are gone, length of server, who cares, your gone, 1 performers who cares your gone, the knowledge booted out the door is just phenomenal.

JustAnotherIBMer | May 04, 2007 | 6:54PM

I've heard 40% RIF from two different sources.

Blueballs | May 04, 2007 | 6:55PM

This is a goat rodeo.

Goat | May 04, 2007 | 6:58PM

who _IS_ john galt?

Bae Lang | May 04, 2007 | 7:06PM

Within every catyclismic change, there is some pain involved. For so many of you, I think you have missed the point of LEAN(Toyota Production Systems based)-if Toyota has recently become the leader of the world over GM, and IBM is attempting to bring the same discipline and quality to their product by using those methods-why would any of us want it to fail. On a day to day basis, Toyota requires their staff to look at what they do and figure out how to do it better-can each IBMr say that they have looked at their job daily and made a change to do right for our customer by cutting out waste? It's obvious from this chain of mail that people have no idea what LEAN really is and therefore are frightened of change-but what if we could transform this company into something that Toyota has done(and done due to US based resources no less)-let's rise to the occasion and yes-some staff will need to leave but hopefully it's the right resource that goes and leaves us with a truly faster, quality oriented company that is there to serve our customers. All of you might want to read up on what LEAN really means-it's not quite what you are so afraid of but if we in the US want to stay employed with any company, we should wake up and make sure we are doing the right thing for our customers every day vs saying "this is how we have always done it and I have no way of changing it". Instead, question and challenge everything in a constructive way with innovative solutions that put us out in front of our competitors.

ibmr | May 04, 2007 | 7:16PM

I work at a colo 'serviced' by IBM. They let everyone go except for 1 person, our after hours coverage from 12AM to 7AM now has a voice mail and the 'oncall' person is located 90 minutes away, assuming he/she gets in their car the second we call with a server down issue. We found this out AFTER the layoffs only because I'm friends with one of the people let go.

They let her go at noon and 'rehired' her at 6:00PM when it was discovered no one could do her job. She is on a 30 day contract that is 'renewed' each month.

Stephen | May 04, 2007 | 7:18PM

I am also one of the lucky one to be get fired, not sure where this company is going ?

karr | May 04, 2007 | 7:24PM

There is no "us", there is only the management and the stockholders. The rest of "us" are the workers doing the day to day work that keeps this company in business. It seems that everyone except for an exhaulted few at corporate are subject to being let go at whim. Any benefits or "improvements" realized by this LEAN initiative will go either to the stockholders or in the pockets of the executives in the form of bonuses. Those of us on the front lines every day will see no benefit from this whatsoever. All we have to look forward to is "doing more with less" (25 FTEs doing the work of 100) or being asked to train our Indian replacement before we are shown the door.

Is that what we are supposed to be embracing?

black and blue | May 04, 2007 | 7:28PM

Who knows if any of this is true? But say it is. There is one fundamental issue that no one can debate - and that is the stock price is in the toilet. I work at IBM - I see incompetency in upper management, middle management and lower managment. What company doesn't have that. IBM has great products. Great people that work there. Whatever layoff they have, lets hope it is those that do not bring value to the company -I doubt some scientist that has 100 patents to his name will get canned. I am not a high level employee - but I can say this. I work in Somers NY. The parking lot is EMPTY by 5pm except for the executive parking lot. Wake up and smell the coffee guys - I/T is not a 9 to 5 job. Someone SHOULD start cracking a whip - IBM has superior products. Try working a little harder and not expecting "a job" or "job security". Take a look at google - yahoo and other parking lots - packed until 8PM at night. IBM owes you nothing - put your goods on the table and stop complaining.

lisa | May 04, 2007 | 7:30PM

You and the comments provided on the inner working of IBM are so right on the money. IBM USE to be a great place to work. Its been on a steady decline since the dot.com bust.

Morale is at the lowest point I have ever seen. The rationale for getting RA'd (fired laid off canned) is not done how ibm tells you its done. Its all done by who knows who.. if you are "connect" within the teams your on.. its not lickely you'll be hit. They are hitting folks that have pbc's of 1's and 2+'s over folks that are 3's. The whole pbc process is a joke. Management dictates down that they will be so many 1's 2's and 3's.. you as a manager have to tag someone with the 3's even if all of your team is performing at a 1 level. Job security and being an "IBM'er" is what drove the 2040 hours we pumped into IBM.. folks were lucky if they ONLY put in 50 hours a week. What was the reward for dedication ? a pink slip.. this while the execs have 100K lunches, yet cancel our holiday pizza party. I do not see the end of where this is going. As people have mentioned, if you were a client that just got screwed by this lean effort, would you renew with ibm ? The people I am starting to feel real sorry for is the poor saps that will be left holding the bag when all of the layoffs are done. Our workload, for most folks, is crazy now, just wait. It seems like its a race to the bottom with sam at the wheel. I dont see the benefit EXCEPT.. to break up the company and RAID the pension fund.. research KB toys and what happened to their pension fund..

SOMETHING FISHY IS GOING ON AT IBM..

Is there any hope left for IBM ? | May 04, 2007 | 7:35PM

IBM has been 'lean' for a long time. It's been 8 years since I've been allowed to order business cards (cost: $10). When I go see a customer, I just claim I 'forgot' my cards.
We have been working years on unpaid mandatory overtime (illegal in some states); if we take holiday time, vacation time, or are sick, we must make up that time with billable overtime hours.

Customer satisfaction is still important; we'll bend over backwards make the customer happy. But often there is no time to 'do it right'. Yes, some customers need to be let go because they demand more than what is in the contract, and thus it is not profitable.

We have been offshoring for a long, long time... but in reverse. The US workers have been doing remote work for India, Asia-Pacific and EMEA. Now this is starting to change, often with cultural difficulty.

The good techs are being burned out. There is no longer a reason to work for IBM vs. some other tech company... no longer a place for a career (i.e. lifetime employment), no longer the best benefits. Certainly not competitive pay. And if you have to replace your vacation time with overtime, why bother?

BT | May 04, 2007 | 7:40PM

The crazy thing is, when a corporation cuts way back on employment, the top-level people think they are getting rid of the fat and retaining the lean, but it always turns out just the opposite.

This is why. Most employees fall into one of two classes. The first is competetent, hard working techies. The second is political types who don't really know how to perform their job, and spend their time plotting and scheming, and tricking the higher-ups.

When a corporation sets on a course of massive layoffs, the competent techies set about trying to do their jobs better, and also looking for jobs elsewhere. On the other hand, the imcompetent political types organize together in a giant scheme to trick the higher-ups to fire the techies and keep the political types on their jobs. One way they do this by persuading them that the competent techies are actually incompetent, while they themselves are competent.

This is sort of trickery is what the political types are good at, so they succeed, and the result is the average employee competence level drops precipitiously. Believe me, I have seen this happen in one case after another.

anonymous | May 04, 2007 | 7:40PM

Retaliation can come in many forms. I urge anyone who is laid off in 2007 who has been in job codes 499A, 498Q, 498R, 498S, 498T, 498U, 594J, 4325, 5338, and/or 5343, and who signed the claim form and release for Case No. 06-0430 PJH to contact one of the class counsel members listed on page 3 of the Notice Of Proposed Settlement of Class Action Lawsuit and Fairness Hearing.

Blue River | May 04, 2007 | 7:41PM

As a current employee that will be celebrating 25 years with IBM in a few weeks I must say that it's time to leave. I have accepted an offer with another IT company.

If my work performance was the same as CEO Sam Palmisano's I would have been fired a long time ago.

No longer proud to be an IBMer.

IBM Employee | May 04, 2007 | 7:43PM
anonymous | May 04, 2007 | 7:46PM

I am also an IBM'er who was not affected by the latest round of layoffs. ibmr is wrong about lean. lean is something that cannot be implemented in a service business such as this going by rigid interpretations of the model. The only way lean can be successful is to create a hybrid with six sigma. A recent article in USA TODAY stated that 4 out of 5 customers are unhappy with the lean model. lean may work on an assembly line. A wigit breaks and you figure out a better way to replace that wigit. In personal interaction with a customer it isn't cut and dry like that. If IBM tries to fool itself into thinking that it can implement the rigidness of lean then it is in for a rude awakening.

another ibmr | May 04, 2007 | 7:47PM

ibmr you sure are drunk on the blue kool-aid. You've got to be a wide eyed newbie, or a LEAN implementer. I agree, IBM has a lot of dead weight, I work with some everyday, but when you see a talented hard worker being cut, and a brown-nosing useless corporate clown retained, it sort of lowers the expectation of what LEAN is all about. Overall though, for the talented workers being cut, this is a blessing in disguise, and just another nail in IBM's future coffin. There are many companies who will pick up the talent IBM is throwing in the dumpster.

my blue blood has thinned | May 04, 2007 | 7:47PM

How is a stock that's up 25% in the last year in the toilet?

frank | May 04, 2007 | 7:47PM

Hey.. I work at IBM and while there are challenges -- we have wonderful products and a lot of great people.

Since I am in software and not services I don't know firsthand the problems with global services but of course there needs to be a better way to manage such a global organization.

I think globalization is here to stay and will keep us in the USA on our toes to find out what makes our role unique.

Keep in mind too.. if igs outsourced and off shored everything.. our clients would freak out.. it's not in their culture to have everything sent over to china and india.

me | May 04, 2007 | 7:52PM

Well to those who doubt the accuracy of this article I say BELIEVE IT! Everything in this article is true and I've seen it coming for about two years now. Just like others here I was proud to wear the IBM badge because there was a time when this company meant something. Now the current management has run this company into the ground. They love to chase the $$$$ around the globe and it’s only the customer that will be hurt (soon IBM Haiti will be running the show). The one thing that puts a smile on my face is that I already lined up a better job and I will soon be leaving. I feel sorry for those folks I will leave behind because I know they are good people.

Soon to be X IBMer | May 04, 2007 | 7:53PM
Robert | May 04, 2007 | 7:53PM

Its not just IBM doing this crap. I worked for HP for 30 years. HP has been exporting massive numbers of jobs to India (and we got the lousy service and poor communication skills that went with it). Last year one of the HP VPs in California had a web cast that was your typical corporate blah blah. Out of the blue, he suddenly said "you know, we have too many lifers in this company, we should do something about that". A couple of months later I was talking to a coworker in another city who mentioned the people who had been let go. I had known them for years. They had 32, 29, 31 and 28 years experience. A couple of months later it was my turn and a few other long serving employees.

HP is just as bad as HP for exporting jobs. Screw globalization and the overpaid corporate psychopaths at the top (my former boss,Randy Mott AKA "the screamer" made $23 million last year, HPs boss Mark Hurd made over $40 million).

I am hoping that someone will start a class action laysuit on behalf of the long term employees who were targeted for removal.

Death to outsourcing and globalization. When you outsource you lose control. Globalization is another term for race to the bottom.

Screw that garbage company HP.

george | May 04, 2007 | 7:56PM

To IBM strategic outsourcing and services customers, DEMAND an accounting of the headcount in support of your IBM IT operations. Change your contract so that you get to pick your US and Canada IBMers based on their resumes and know their names - and keep track of those that fall-off the radar. If anything, you are entitled to a percent of savings that lay-offs and global resourcing is creating for IBM.

Mr. Cringely, you did not report the whole story. The layoffs of US & Canada IBM Global Services employees started in Dec, Jan & Feb. In almost every professional department of IGS, at least 3% of the staff were victims of "resource actions" and many jobs openings due to attrition were pulled. This probably resulted in about 2,500 Americas workers being let go and loss of another 1,000 open positions - mostly professional staff. Today, my manager announced more layoffs, probably in areas like procurement, HR and finance, were coming at the end of the month.

Then, two-months months ago, IBM Global Services made the decision to force outsourcing on its data centers and other service organization; the delivery towers - server, helpdesk, mainframe, network operations, enterprise operatoons and monitoring, etc. were affected. All positions that could be done remotely were transferred to India, Argentina, Brazil, China.

As it turns out, IBM was preparing to lay-off all of it US delivery sub-contractors, who make lower wages than IBM regulars and have less benefits. The subcontractors made up 30 - 50 % of the US services technical and support positions.

On May 1, almost all of the sub-contractors were let go. This means the loss of jobs is much greater than the reports of 1,500, probably because the IBM Alliance represents IBM regulars and does not support the views of IBM's subcontractors. I estimate the lay-off of subcontracts to be at least 10,000 jobs, maybe more. Also on May 1st, another 5% of US IGS professional staffers were notified and even some of the remaining data center full-time regulars! Based on its effect on my own organization and its matrixed departments, I estimate this resource action to affect at least 2500 regular employees.

Lean was designed to prevent customers from accessing their favorite problem solvers and technical gurus and force customers to wait in a queue for service from a mixed bag of leftovers and our overseas employees. The most skilled, experienced team leads who basically solved the majority the problems, especially those that required prompt response, subject matter expertise, and decisive action are missing in action and will probably be next in line to be let go.

In my own sphere, In Dec, I lost several business analysts; the positions were moved to China. These responsibilites included programming business applications and doing reports. Well, the overseas staff don't return emails, they take months to do a simple report, and there is no one accountable for their lack of production or missing communication. The reports are just wrong, even simple requests are missed - like "run the report for all months in 2006." There is also a big language barrier and a certain arrogance in their work habits. They will not apologize or even admit to mistakes as if they were in fear of their positions. When you show them your original instructions that they agreed to, they claim that they understood the instruction but didn't do the work right because they had never done it that way, ergo so it was wrong to do. I am not a racist - I am just relaying my honest observations - this has to do with quality and skills and integrity.

I am disabled or I would quit. Three of my co-workers quit out of protest on Wednesday and I wished I could have joined them.

IBM is doing this to their most profitable account teams! It has nothing to do with improving profit. They are preparing for a future outside of the Americas - US and Canada. They are no longer an American company.

WE NEED TO SPEAK UP! I feel the lay-offs after outsourcing is UN-AMERICAN. REAL JOBS ARE LEAVING THIS COUNTRY TO COUNTRIES THAT DON'T CONTRIBUTE TO OUR NATIONAL GROWTH. I really wonder if Sam is working for interests counter to the American way of life. He is always smiling as he stands in a pile of sh_t - maybe he is a traitorou puppet of some foreign regime... OKAY ... I'm sounding a little paranoid.

ibm_and_scared | May 04, 2007 | 7:58PM

Whatever city the layoff's in, I sure wouldnt want to be looking for a tech job there... you wont find one for 6 months to a year probably. Companies love it when they can pay overqualified ppl to do tier one and teir two jobs, when the job market is down in any given area.

Im not saying its a bad thing, but college grads will have to move to find work potentially (in that city), becuase experience is what counts in the ultimately in the endless stack of resumes. right?

Tj | May 04, 2007 | 7:58PM

To IBM strategic outsourcing and services customers, DEMAND an accounting of the headcount in support of your IBM IT operations. Change your contract so that you get to pick your US and Canada IBMers based on their resumes and know their names - and keep track of those that fall-off the radar. If anything, you are entitled to a percent of savings that lay-offs and global resourcing is creating for IBM.

Mr. Cringely, you did not report the whole story. The layoffs of US & Canada IBM Global Services employees started in Dec, Jan & Feb. In almost every professional department of IGS, at least 3% of the staff were victims of "resource actions" and many jobs openings due to attrition were pulled. This probably resulted in about 2,500 Americas workers being let go and loss of another 1,000 open positions - mostly professional staff. Today, my manager announced more layoffs, probably in areas like procurement, HR and finance, were coming at the end of the month.

Then, two-months months ago, IBM Global Services made the decision to force outsourcing on its data centers and other service organization; the delivery towers - server, helpdesk, mainframe, network operations, enterprise operatoons and monitoring, etc. were affected. All positions that could be done remotely were transferred to India, Argentina, Brazil, China.

As it turns out, IBM was preparing to lay-off all of it US delivery sub-contractors, who make lower wages than IBM regulars and have less benefits. The subcontractors made up 30 - 50 % of the US services technical and support positions.

On May 1, almost all of the sub-contractors were let go. This means the loss of jobs is much greater than the reports of 1,500, probably because the IBM Alliance represents IBM regulars and does not support the views of IBM's subcontractors. I estimate the lay-off of subcontracts to be at least 10,000 jobs, maybe more. Also on May 1st, another 5% of US IGS professional staffers were notified and even some of the remaining data center full-time regulars! Based on its effect on my own organization and its matrixed departments, I estimate this resource action to affect at least 2500 regular employees.

Lean was designed to prevent customers from accessing their favorite problem solvers and technical gurus and force customers to wait in a queue for service from a mixed bag of leftovers and our overseas employees. The most skilled, experienced team leads who basically solved the majority the problems, especially those that required prompt response, subject matter expertise, and decisive action are missing in action and will probably be next in line to be let go.

In my own sphere, In Dec, I lost several business analysts; the positions were moved to China. These responsibilites included programming business applications and doing reports. Well, the overseas staff don't return emails, they take months to do a simple report, and there is no one accountable for their lack of production or missing communication. The reports are just wrong, even simple requests are missed - like "run the report for all months in 2006." There is also a big language barrier and a certain arrogance in their work habits. They will not apologize or even admit to mistakes as if they were in fear of their positions. When you show them your original instructions that they agreed to, they claim that they understood the instruction but didn't do the work right because they had never done it that way, ergo so it was wrong to do. I am not a racist - I am just relaying my honest observations - this has to do with quality and skills and integrity.

I am disabled or I would quit. Three of my co-workers quit out of protest on Wednesday and I wished I could have joined them.

IBM is doing this to their most profitable account teams! It has nothing to do with improving profit. They are preparing for a future outside of the Americas - US and Canada. They are no longer an American company.

WE NEED TO SPEAK UP! I feel the lay-offs after outsourcing are UN-AMERICAN. REAL JOBS ARE LEAVING THIS COUNTRY TO COUNTRIES THAT DON'T CONTRIBUTE TO OUR NATIONAL GROWTH. I really wonder if Sam is working for interests counter to the American way of life. He is always smiling as he stands in a pile of sh_t - maybe he is a traitorous puppet of some foreign regime... OKAY ... I'm sounding a little paranoid but i am very angry and sad.

ibm_and_scared | May 04, 2007 | 7:59PM

To IBM strategic outsourcing and services customers, DEMAND an accounting of the headcount in support of your IBM IT operations. Change your contract so that you get to pick your US and Canada IBMers based on their resumes and know their names - and keep track of those that fall-off the radar. If anything, you are entitled to a percent of savings that lay-offs and global resourcing is creating for IBM.

Mr. Cringely, you did not report the whole story. The layoffs of US & Canada IBM Global Services employees started in Dec, Jan & Feb. In almost every professional department of IGS, at least 3% of the staff were victims of "resource actions" and many jobs openings due to attrition were pulled. This probably resulted in about 2,500 Americas workers being let go and loss of another 1,000 open positions - mostly professional staff. Today, my manager announced more layoffs, probably in areas like procurement, HR and finance, were coming at the end of the month.

Then, two-months months ago, IBM Global Services made the decision to force outsourcing on its data centers and other service organization; the delivery towers - server, helpdesk, mainframe, network operations, enterprise operatoons and monitoring, etc. were affected. All positions that could be done remotely were transferred to India, Argentina, Brazil, China.

As it turns out, IBM was preparing to lay-off all of it US delivery sub-contractors, who make lower wages than IBM regulars and have less benefits. The subcontractors made up 30 - 50 % of the US services technical and support positions.

On May 1, almost all of the sub-contractors were let go. This means the loss of jobs is much greater than the reports of 1,500, probably because the IBM Alliance represents IBM regulars and does not support the views of IBM's subcontractors. I estimate the lay-off of subcontracts to be at least 10,000 jobs, maybe more. Also on May 1st, another 5% of US IGS professional staffers were notified and even some of the remaining data center full-time regulars! Based on its effect on my own organization and its matrixed departments, I estimate this resource action to affect at least 2500 regular employees.

Lean was designed to prevent customers from accessing their favorite problem solvers and technical gurus and force customers to wait in a queue for service from a mixed bag of leftovers and our overseas employees. The most skilled, experienced team leads who basically solved the majority the problems, especially those that required prompt response, subject matter expertise, and decisive action are missing in action and will probably be next in line to be let go.

In my own sphere, In Dec, I lost several business analysts; the positions were moved to China. These responsibilites included programming business applications and doing reports. Well, the overseas staff don't return emails, they take months to do a simple report, and there is no one accountable for their lack of production or missing communication. The reports are just wrong, even simple requests are missed - like "run the report for all months in 2006." There is also a big language barrier and a certain arrogance in their work habits. They will not apologize or even admit to mistakes as if they were in fear of their positions. When you show them your original instructions that they agreed to, they claim that they understood the instruction but didn't do the work right because they had never done it that way, ergo so it was wrong to do. I am not a racist - I am just relaying my honest observations - this has to do with quality and skills and integrity.

I am disabled or I would quit. Three of my co-workers quit out of protest on Wednesday and I wished I could have joined them.

IBM is doing this to their most profitable account teams! It has nothing to do with improving profit. They are preparing for a future outside of the Americas - US and Canada. They are no longer an American company.

WE NEED TO SPEAK UP! I feel the lay-offs after outsourcing are UN-AMERICAN. REAL JOBS ARE LEAVING THIS COUNTRY TO COUNTRIES THAT DON'T CONTRIBUTE TO OUR NATIONAL GROWTH. I really wonder if Sam is working for interests counter to the American way of life. He is always smiling as he stands in a pile of sh_t - maybe he is a traitorous puppet of some foreign regime... OKAY ... I'm sounding a little paranoid but i am very angry and sad.

ibm_and_scared | May 04, 2007 | 7:59PM

aLl yOuR IbM aRe BeLonG to uS ! rAwR !!

1337 tEsT teAm | May 04, 2007 | 8:00PM

There's a way to solve this problem, it is called revolution. We had one back in 1776, it is time for another one.

eliminate all H1B visas, eliminate all ceo bonuses, eliminate the "free trade" garbage, eliminate all offshoring, make companies bring back every job to america that they have sent overseas since ronald ruin the country reagan took office, and cut ceo compensation by a minimum of 90%.


Robert | May 04, 2007 | 8:05PM

Controlled by the Globalist Elite, just like all of "Corporate America". Selling out American jobs & workers to advance the Globalist agenda. It's all by design...eliminate the American middle class, bring in the North American Union (www.stopspp.com) and setup a 2-class dystopia (Ruling Elite (90%) & "Peasant" class (10%)). All of these big Corporate companies have zero National alligance any more...with good reason. Americans had better turn off the Sheeplevision, put down the iPods & video games and learn what's going on and stand up to defend American jobs & U.S. sovereignty. Educate yourselves on the betrayal, before it's too late!

http://www.jbs.org/freedom

WakeUpAmerica! | May 04, 2007 | 8:06PM

Robert - If you worked for IBM and knew what was going on, you'd believe this article.

IBM for now... | May 04, 2007 | 8:07PM

Great. An ad hominem attack. Boy, that surely proves that Cringely is incorrect, that IBM is doing everything right and that Big Blue going to be around for years!

Ya right.

Cliff | May 04, 2007 | 8:09PM

When will American's wake up?!?!?!

Your job and your future are the most important things to consider in the coming elections. This doesn't just affect tech. It is going.

TransWorldCoding | May 04, 2007 | 8:12PM

And too think universities and "leaders" keep telling us that we need more computer science and engineering grads?

HELLO! Would you tell your son or daughter to major in CS or EE when all the major players are cutting American jobs and sending them overseas?

Your_job_is_in_India | May 04, 2007 | 8:16PM

I've seen this happen several times before. Every few years, its the same story with IBM. They layoff a few thousand, employees complain, they lose jobs and executives get richer. Unless all you guys do something this will never change! You will lose your jobs, some of you will be in financial difficulty and your families will suffer!

eric | May 04, 2007 | 8:19PM

I want my kids to be successful, so they will major in business administration, will have operations to remove their hearts and disable their sense of smell (makes kissing butt less offensive), and send them on their way to screw over their peon little workers doing real work on the front lines.

realist | May 04, 2007 | 8:21PM

No way! I'd never tell my kids to follow in my foot steps (BS CS, MS CS, and getting sold out).

I tell them about how our government and corporations beat into our heads when we were children that we needed to become scientists and engineers. We needed to become innovators. Where did that get us? We WERE the future for that generation. We WERE the "great hope". And guess what. We were sold out. PERIOD.

No I tell my kids the truth. Take some science or engineering classes if you are interested. Maybe minor in them, but don't major. Why? The country is run by MBA's and JD's. Those are the two degrees I push. Even MD's today are told what to do by MBA's and JD's.

Real World Engineer | May 04, 2007 | 8:23PM

Last monght I just wrote up a logical extrapolation of flaws I've seen in IBM and IBM business partner project strategies that I've run across in the past three years. I'm shocked that I was closer than I thought -


"Now let's examine IBM and IBM's Businss Partner strategies. IBM Tool Certifications play a *major* role in IBM's project assignments to Business Partners. In other words, the strategy is moving in the opposite direction from what needs to happen if we want higher success rates for increasingly complex projects.

A larger slice of that finite worker domain knowledge is focused on vocational abilities, not on business knowledge. And it appears that IBM has shifted their own internal strategies towards increasingly specialized workers, so that more workers are involved on a given project, but for less time and work.

That's just can't work right over an increasing scale of complexity and project size, since it multiplies communcation costs at an exponential rate."

Broward Horne | May 04, 2007 | 8:24PM

For years now when ever someone brings up unionizing someone always pops off about how white collar professionals shouldn't unionize because it is just not "professional" or that "if you were smart enough you'd still have a job".

Guess what folks those excuses are getting old. I don't think dumping 150,000 professionals has anything to do with not being smart enough.

There was a time when Americans would fight for jobs. Today they sit at home sucking down beer and watch American Idol as their lives and pride spiral down.

Unionize or live life as a serf | May 04, 2007 | 8:29PM

As a recent ex-IBMer, now doing their work as an outside contractor, I can testify that this analysis is all too correct. The current heads of IBM have no interest in IBM itself, or in any of the businesses the company has so long been in existence to support. They care ONLY about their own pay, and intend to sacrifice everything including the company itself to secure them.
In particular, I know first hand that they have directly mismanaged all aspects of Customer Service delivery, thereby causing Service income to decline, which they then say proves they should outsource or sell-off more of the company.
Small example: in response to rising parts costs on PC service, instead of investigating the cause, they simply restricted their own technical support's access to parts. The result (as anyone with a brain could predict) was huge service delays for customers, repeated failed repair visits(alot of money spent for nothing), and finally a huge INCREASE in the cost of getting parts (because the service people were forced to order them at premium prices to deal with the legions of angry customers). Unless the (also probably corrupt/inept) board of directors steps in and replaces the entire executive portion of the company, I fear my retirement pay will have been destroyed by them before I can collect any of it (after 29 years service).

memunson | May 04, 2007 | 8:32PM

The managerial dysfunction is nowhere more apparent than with the evaluation ("PBC") process. Since the managers almost invariably have no technical expertise, nor any contact with their people, how do they evaluate people? Through a very "subjective" process as a former manager of my termed it. It is exclusively a political process, a measure of the rapport you have with your manager and the "buzz" you managed to create around yourself and your project. The "successful" people are those who send out 20 emails to 5 levels of management every time they have a thought. As a result, the "top" people are more often than not clueless/useless. The technically competent people either toil in obscurity with no raises, promotions, bonuses, or get laid off, or catch on and become "players", or quit. This is life at IBM. It did not used to be like that as recently at 2000. It is not the people (workers and low-level managers) who at fault (intentionally evil), it is the system that derives from upper management which institutes these HR policies.

T, | May 04, 2007 | 8:34PM

As a current IBM employee, I'm working on a very large, very visible SO and GBS contract. My team has already been effected by this initiative as 5 of the contractors were let go this week. Unfortunately for me, these contractors are pivotal to the success/failure of the current project I'm managing. Simply stated, we're at a critical phase where they are responsible for the bulk of the work. This won't do!

Project Lean is an initiative that is meant to take fewer resources and spread their work across multiple projects by streamlining the processes it takes to support live environments. At a high level where the Execs. live and work daily, stated this way makes the decision plausible and even sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately however, I've already begun to see the negative fallout from this and its only been a week!

The impact has been immediate and harsh. The team members I'm losing are absolute professionals and technically sound. Throughout the previous phases of work they have been stellar. So, on a contract that is already short resources (fixed price), and just a few short weeks from going live, I've lost 5 people. 1)It is a total morale killer. 2)I'm already building the case for telling the customer that I must move the go-live date. 3)The workload on the existing resources has basically increased by 30% per. This is a team that when fully staffed is probably 4-6 people short noted by the extra 160hrs above the 40hrs my team members are working (allowed to claim) already. As an MBA in the trenches, I see this thing really hurting IBM in the long run whether or not it turns into 150k people. I'm skeptical of this # but what do I know. This is obviously driven by cost and IBM's ability to competitively bid projects. What most people don't know however is there is a huge amount of overhead in IBM services Org. About 32cents of every dollar generated through billable hours gets sucked up by the corporation. If IBM were to spin off its Global Svs. Organization this overhead would go away thus immediately making IBM more competitive w/o cutting as many people. In fact, IBM would have the $$ to hire top notch consultants instead of hiring lower skilled, younger, and/or H1B status employees willing to work 70hrs a week for much less money that the people who really know how to do the job. I read in other postings, that many people believe this will cause the stock to go up or down based on whatever belief they may have. One thing I do know, is that Wall Street is fickle. Of course large revenues usually (Not Always) leads to higher stock prices. However, smart analysts know to also look at the overall health of the company including its customer base and even so far as to say customer satisfaction. I believe Project Lean in maybe not all, but certainly on many contracts will be looked at as a disadvantage...especially with higher profile customers who's environments are extremely complex. In fact, on my project now each new person works with a shadow for the first 2mon before ever touching the production system solely due to its complexity. Only time will tell, But I'll say this. I ain't sticking around long enough to find out.

Blue is fading | May 04, 2007 | 8:35PM

If true -- and there seems to be little reason to doubt it -- this is exactly why I couldn't wait to get out the door at the first sniff of the first of the "Gerstner" round of sackings (let's not mince matters here), because the writing was on the wall even then, more than 15 years ago. Nor, worldwide, could anyone else in IBM with a bit of initiative leave fast enough, many of them quite regretfully and with lengthy service behind them -- and thus began the exodus of the very "A team" talent that the company needed most to keep.

So now they're sending even more work off to somewhere where the costs can only INcrease, at an increasing rate over time, as living standards improve ... It's not so much the current employees that I feel sorry for (who according to reports these days voluntarily line up to sign up to be screwed, anyway) as it is the customers, but I'm comforted by the thought that many of the heaviest hitters among them learned long ago to complain without suffering, ie, to keep their legal counsel on their toes, and on the offensive where suppliers might be tempted to try to weasel out of unprofitable (but nevertheless still binding) (and in the customer's eyes, very astute) contracts.

And I may be wrong, but I think that I'll be vindicated before too long in having decided a few years back to divest myself of my handful of residual shares in IBM while they still had some value.

out from well and truly down under | May 04, 2007 | 8:36PM

Sometimes when you want to make something go your way you have to trump a reason.

Similar to lying about WMDs or the Golf of Tonkin, executives sometimes cause problems to occur just so they can reorganize things to their liking.

If you wanted to have an excuse to offshore you could mismanage a division or two until you could make the argument that "something needs to be done".

The New IBM | May 04, 2007 | 8:40PM

I call BS and hyperbole. There is a substantial spread between billing rates in the US and those of offshore resources. The profit/hr for US resources are accordingly higher. Consulting demand continues to drive forward right now. So predicting layoffs of this size is no small matter.

Secondly, many things simply cannot be offshored -- SME work, UAT work, requirements gathering, etc. So even if every single development position was offshored, I dont see the 150,000 number being reached.

Granted, if the economy were to tank this is possible, but consulting demand continues to be high.

SRA | May 04, 2007 | 8:40PM

Actually the number of face-to-face types you need to have in the US offices is a very small fraction of the engineers, programmers, IT, tech, help desk, support engineers, field engineers, etc. that are employed.

You could easily leave a skeleton crew of front facing personnel and ax 150,000 people.

I get the feeling you have never worked at one of these large monolithic global corporations before and for certain never at IBM.

Xander | May 04, 2007 | 8:46PM

I'm currently an IBM employee. My impression of LEAN is that it was forced through quickly without much planning. After only two weeks, the effort is collapsing. Word is that they're retrenching, and going to try to do it without flying people in to a central location, as was initially done.

I think LEAN is a good idea, but the implementation is pretty hard to swallow.

Bill | May 04, 2007 | 8:47PM

I'll personally be glad to see IBM go. The weeks on end I have spent reading through their opaque software installation manuals made me hate them. Adding insult to injury, the software didn't work after the umpteenth time running through the hundred of pages it took to install the crap. Not to mention, they are outdated, ancient, and need to go.
Good riddance, IBM.

J Johnson | May 04, 2007 | 8:56PM

For those who are IBM'ers..

Can ANYONE refute the fact that morale is at a all time low ?

Can anyone refute the fact that the PBC rating system is who kisses as the best ?

Can anyone name some who isnt thinking about moving on ?

Can anyone not relate to working in an environment that is based on fear ?

I know for a fact that your pbc rating doesnt have ANY bearing on wether you will be RAd or not

Folks.. if the infrastructure can be managed remotelyin the USA.. They WILL force it to be managed off shore

Loyalty is not there anymore.. busting a$$ and thinking you have a life time career is no longer a viable dream.. IBM is now offering you resume tips.. thats a clue in itself

The lives and families that are being destroyed so the execs can line their pockets is a disgrace

Dont forget the "Manage out the 2's ppt from Randy Mcdonald" for those that remain.. the pressure will increase as the force attrition.

We have all seen tremendous talent leave due to lack of raises or a bad pbc being forced onto an employee because "there is so many 1's 2' and 3's " that have to be placed on you by upper management. The rating system is a joke

I would volunteer for a package as well..

IBM and its perceived value is dieing

Joanne Swallows | May 04, 2007 | 8:59PM

LEAN - Let's eliminate all north americans

IBM G.S in Canada are cutting jobs big time too...my buddy works there as a techie..they've lost 8 people in their department out of 20..none replaced..everyone doubles up in work...no paid overtime..pager pay has been halved..Contractors given ultimatums to take pay cuts or get lost....what a great company...forget about outsourcing my company's IT work to these cheap arsed amateurs.

Dirk | May 04, 2007 | 9:00PM

LEAN within IBM means - layoff every american now! SICKENING isnt it?

former igs employee | May 04, 2007 | 9:05PM

To "lisa" - the parking lot is empty because all the IT employees are working from home till midnight, and weekends. Getting called at 3:00am on a Sunday morning to fix yet another thing overseas screwed up. Since we are "told" to put in 20% unpaid overtime, it's easier to not waste the hours commuting.... wake up and smell the coffee, you too are clueless. Get in the trenches where the "real" work is done, instead of hanging out with all the executives at their martini lunches & yacht parties, and you'd see the light.

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 9:09PM

LEAN is alive and well. This is only the beginning. My manager (a mid-level manger that I have known as also a friend for years) told a number of us in secret to start looking. People at his level were told about things maybe two weeks ago, but then all of a sudden things became really hush hush and they are operating behind a curtain of invisibility.

Supposedly they went through the stacking drill weeks ago organizing people according to value, but then HR is also stacking people according to cost (salary, benefits -- how much do you cost them in medical insurance, etc). Someone somewhere plugs the results into a cost-benefit formula and a "normalized" stack comes out the other end.

So even if you are the most productive person in your group if you cost them too much you could be out.

Basically at this point no one at mid level has an idea of the final outcome until the morning they cut people.

Mr. X | May 04, 2007 | 9:09PM

When ever I read an article it makes me cringe. You see I work with several higher ups that are extremely concerned with the lack of US Citizens seeking higher level technical degrees (Masters and above) and the general apathy in the US youth towards pursuing a degrees of technical nature (ie in engineering, computer security, etc). Is it any wonder? If you're a kid and you see your parent (who holds a technical degree or has a technical background) get thrown away like a piece of garbage for cheap offshore labor by someone with a background in business or law so that he can boost quarterly profits.... who are you going to want to be?


This may be a shock to you (or maybe not) but you'd be hard pressed to find a technical Masters program in the US with a constituency of more then 40% US Citizens. Guess what? Those Masters Candidates will be tomorrows technical leadership and most of them scoff at the idea of staying in the US... they just want the education and then they're leaving. You reap what you sew and it seems like the US has a higher priority on on snake oil con-artists....

ConcernedCitizen | May 04, 2007 | 9:12PM

The IBM pension plan freeze for YE 2007 was announced back in Jan 2006 - see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/05/AR2006010502329.html

exibm | May 04, 2007 | 9:17PM

While earning my advanced degrees (yes two MS degrees. One in CS and one in EE.) I would say largest number of US citizens we ever had in one class was maybe 30%.

US Engineers I know are now opting to go after MBAs. They see the writing on the wall. With an MBA you have more upward mobility AND you can more easily jump ship and move to an entirely different industry.

I also know of two that are in evening JD programs.

Even as it is for 99% of the positions out there you don't really even need a MS. It is just that the corporations ask for them as a filter. In my case my two master's degrees are overkill, but I have been told numerous times that they helped me land my job, got me a better position, or got me promoted.

The Mail Man | May 04, 2007 | 9:22PM

Bob: You made a comment to someone that "IBM isn't stupid." I beg to differ on that point. Having been inside and attached to several of Sam P's game-changing initiatives, I'm here to tell you that IBM is, indeed, stupid if that's the man they are pinning their hopes to. He hasn't had a strategic idea since he got the job. His motives are always about a quick stock bump and nothing else. Why the Board of Directors allow him to keep his job is beyond me. The only answer I've ever come up with is that they are just plain stupid.

living well as an ex-IBMer | May 04, 2007 | 9:23PM

Darn hit submit too soon. I also wanted to say...

But today I'm seeing more and more American let go. Even the advanced degrees don't seem to be helping Americans. It is almost like we took the advice/bait and got those advanced degrees and now they don't know what to do with us.

Any how, I too wouldn't push my kids in to CS or EE.

The Mail Man | May 04, 2007 | 9:25PM

I work for IGS and don't get me wrong, the management are some of the most egotistical arrogant bastards I've ever had the displeasure of knowing.
However, IBM Global Services isn't the real problem. It's the whiney "I want it right now and pay next to nothing for it" American consumer.
Well guess what American consumers? We are now reaping the rewards of your greed and stupidity.
I hope you're all proud of yourselves when America wakes up one day and realizes that it has become a third world country. I also wish you luck when you're standing in front on your maker explaining to Him how you caused thousands and perhaps millions of people to become poor because you had to get more money for YOU.

"Bob" | May 04, 2007 | 9:26PM

As a stock holder I want to see innovations that insure LONG TERM growth NOT this quarter by quarter turn and burn garbage.

Do they really think they are going to find innovation in China or India? What you find is your intellectual property gets stolen.

TheDeclineOfAmerica | May 04, 2007 | 9:31PM

If you think IBM employees are in a bind, you should see the warm and friendly send-off all the contractors they are letting go are getting with 1-day notice before having their contracts terminated. Or how about their customers that managers are instructed to go about "business as usual" and commit to projects that they know they will not have any resources to complete.

My advice to anyone IBMer, employee or contractor...? Get out as quick as you can.

Anonymous IBM contractor | May 04, 2007 | 9:39PM

I think what the author is trying to say is "WALL STREET" and nothing else matters anymore or ever will. Only those big fat investors are required to be made happy and everyone else and fall into a deep ditch of uncertainty of life in general. COmpanies are loyal only to their share holders and I mean the ones who have really big chunks of money invested in them, common people like you and me dont matter. It might years before these lovely offshore destinations might soon be a burden as the wage gap decreases and then those jobs would move to even cheaper location.

I dont have a solution to the problem but unless people come out and fight this and I mean on ground and not keep writing these stupid blogs that we write and 1000's who digg them and few hours later are forgotten. All people should have a big march like the illegal immigrants rallied for their rights.

Citibank announced 17,000 lay offs because their big investor wants them he wants his egg to grow bigger and the futures of all the people who work there to go to hell. Same goes for all other investors. May be you can argue that those are the people who poured in money and gave you the job but there is no humanitarian aspect left at all, its all just Capitalist mintnig money at the expense of middle class people. No ones job is safe not even mine, its only a time bomb waiting to explode.

Again No One matters but Wall Street, everyone else is expendable.

Cheap Techie at offshore location | May 04, 2007 | 9:39PM

The sad thing is even though there is a large number of engineers out there the majority of them are too timid to speak out. Management knows this and will do as they please.

The real world is just like high school. You either stand up for yourself or you get picked on. You might have thought you could escape the bullies by going into tech, but the bullies went on to get MBAs and suits.

Stand up for your self or shut up!

Run for the hills | May 04, 2007 | 9:40PM

The Mail Man:

True you don't need a MS to land a technical job but you do need it to truly be considered a professional (where as several years ago a BS was all you needed). In fact it is encouraged to have multiple Masters in technical areas that overlap (such as your MSCS and MSEE) so that you have enough breadth and depth to "play dangerous" when it comes to serious work.

Most of our technical leaders today (at least in the community I work in) have multiple technical Masters or PHDs and huge amount of practical experience as well. The thing that worries everyone is that in 7 to 10 years tops the technical workforce we possess now with this level of education and expertise will be going out the door (the baby boomers). Who is going to replace them?

ConcernedCitizen | May 04, 2007 | 9:44PM

That was the most depressing post I have ever seen. 100k more people looking for jobs? Great lets just sellout more american jobs.

ransom | May 04, 2007 | 9:52PM

ConcernedCitizen,

I have both a MSCS and a MSEE. That originally seemed to help me, but I see more and more people with advanced degrees having a hard time or having to take less pay.

As for the question of the future and where we are going to get people with the education and experience. The answer is quite simple. Where we found them in the last generation. Companies like GE, IBM, AT&T, Intel, etc. used to pay for employees to go to grad school. Today these companies are won't foot the full bill (usually some dollar cap) and they refuse to cultivate American engineers and scientists via offshoring and the over use of work visas.

This in turn has caused the current reaction of people choosing not to even get bachelor's degrees in CS, EE, etc.

It comes down to supply and demand. And these corporations are NOT acting like the demand is there. You don't slash jobs, you don't lower tuition reimbursement, you don't try to push down salaries, etc for positions that you think are critical.

The future leaders are there. It is up to the corporations to build them the old fashion way. The way the used to work. The way that brought us engineers, managers, and CEO's that drove innovation.

Today that is dead and the fault lies in the hands of our current corporate leadership. Period.

The Mail Man | May 04, 2007 | 9:57PM

Management always likes to show to investors that something new is happening that will improve the stock price. IBM's best decision would be not to do layoffs, and hardly change anything managerially, but improve on things they already do.

Piotr | May 04, 2007 | 10:05PM

I would hope that if this is perceived as an age discrimation move, the affected people will go seek some legal advice. You might not be able to stop this stupid action, but you can certainly make them pay for it.

When are companies going to quit kowtowing to Wall St. and start running the business for the benefit of the business and its shareholders. Looking and planning only for the next quarter is NOT good for shareholders no matter what those shareholders may think.

Grey Beard | May 04, 2007 | 10:06PM

While this will absolutely suck for the workers who get laid off, it will suck more for IBMs customers, who have a huge investment in hardware and software that will now be served by someone working the graveyard shift half-way around the world.

However, once the shock of losing a "job for life" wears off, they'll get up, dust themselves off and go find a job they like. Maybe technology, maybe carpentry, maybe cooking.

Change is generally painful, and also generally beneficial.

Terry

Terry Carmen | May 04, 2007 | 10:09PM

wow, that's a bad news for those 100k people. should we boycott IBM products & services? or should we restructure our salaries in order to not get laid-off or fired?

shian@nothing.net | May 04, 2007 | 10:09PM

You tell him Mail Man!

I've been around the block. I have a BS EE/CS, MS Comp Engr and a MBA. I have almost 20 years of "in the trenches" engineering and management experience.

I was lucky to get maybe 50% of my advanced education paid for by my employers. Today employees have to pay even a higher percentage of their tuition, along with getting fewer benefits, and salaries that -- after you adjust for inflation -- are significantly less than they used to be (yes their are studies that show this, and no I don't have them on me).

It is ridiculous to blame the employee or Americans in general on this issue. No one buys the moronic excuse any more that it is the employee that is lazy. It just aint so.

In The Trenches | May 04, 2007 | 10:11PM

There are a goodly number of tech workers, especially in the contract area, who work without so much as a B.S. or professional certification in a relevant field. I chose to earn experience and certifications in the IT field as a career path, over getting a barely-related degree from a four year institution. Which is, I suppose, the reason it is so hard for me to find legitimate work.




Corporations who need cheaper technical labor in the U.S. can hire me. There are hundreds of thousands of techies without college degrees, who can be hired at a lower salary, with few or no benefits, just because we would be happy to get out of the contractor/odd job/temp grind.




H.R. departments (and since when did Human Resources become a real college degree, anyway?) won't hire people like myself. I can have a dozen relevant professional certifications, satisfied customers, a future boss and coworkers who would be happy to have me; H.R. throws my resume out because I don't have a college degree.




The last time this happened, I referred the H.R. department to a friend of mine who had just earned his masters in Music Education. He got the job; he is now a senior systems administrator of a very complex, mission critical, network, for a major alarm systems company.




I graduated H.S. at the end of the dot com boom. I was told the following by prospective employers, late night television ads, the mainstream media, and by a college adviser: the way to get a good job in IT was to get a few basic certifications, work as a PC repair Tech or at a helpdesk, work your way up to being an admin, and then have your employer help you get your college degree.




I watched as everyone just a few years ahead of me lived that dream. Now I'm caught on the bottom rung, trying to underbid large corporations, like IBM (who are delivering services below cost), for the most menial of IT and software development contracts. I earn less than a construction worker who speaks no English, less than a waitress at a truck stop.




Now IBM is going to simultaneously dump a bunch of folks with more credentials than me into the same market I'm attempting to compete in? Sounds like its time to quit, or maybe move out of the country where the jobs are going.




Or maybe I'll go qualify for some student loans and quit the industry for something more lucrative, like fine arts or an education major. Or maybe I'll get a degree in Human Resources, and take my frustration out on Generation Y.

SteevR | May 04, 2007 | 10:15PM

Good point. If these companies are so desperate for engineers/techs/etc. they sure don't act like it.

IBM is a case in point.

Why should a kid study CS, MIS, EE, or other?

GettNReal | May 04, 2007 | 10:17PM

Acompany falls and another replaces it. Companies outsourcing their Customer Service will not succeed over the long term. Look what it's done for Dell. Greed is generally at the core of most companies going down. IBM is destined to repeat a proven destruction course. Let it be. Others will thrive! But it is sad to see. There will be people that profit from it rise and others from it's fall. So be it. Greed KILLs.

David K | May 04, 2007 | 10:24PM

SteevR,

I would STRONGLY consider going to college. Maybe for something other than tech.

As it is so many fields have gone "professional". That means they want to see a minimum of a BS/BA.

I know it may seem like a game -- and it is -- but that is the game we are ALL stuck with today.

While I wouldn't have my kids follow me down the BSCS, MSCS, PhD CS route I would suggest at least a bachelors in business followed with an MBA or JD.

That's just my $0.02.

$0.02 | May 04, 2007 | 10:24PM

To those few on this board making comments about lazy underperforming US workers that deserve to be let go, or just aren't working hard enough, I say this to help you out, to save you from looking like such a clueless idiot. It is obvious you cannot read and chew gum at the same time, so I will take a small pause here while you remove your gum.

Ok, ready? Here is how IBM operates:

1) When they get a contract with a company, they take the top 10-20% of the existing employees (who are given no choice usually to take the IBM job). No disrespect to the people who are let go, many of them are EXTREMELY competent and hard-working, knowledgable people, but the have to draw the line somewhere, so they only keep the consistently top performers in terms of knowledge and productivity.

2) Now, IBM has a group of people who are consistently highly rated and basically the cream of the crop. Then they tell that group that no matter how hard they work, no matter how many hours they put in, no matter how productive they are, only 5 or 10% of them can be rated a 1 and get a raise. Company policy dictates that most of them will be rated 2's and 3's, no raise. Oh, and by the way, everyone loses whatever severence pay you had built up with your 20+ years at your former company, even though you are sitting at the same desk, doing the same work.

3) Demand extra unpaid hours to make up for overseas shortcomings, while holding overseas blameless and responsible for nothing that they screw up - put all blame on the US people, regardless of the truth. Give all credit to overseas, regardless.

Then, after awhile of this, circulate questions asking why morale is so low.

Care to tell me again that IBM isn't stupid?

Well, maybe they really AREN'T that stupid. First, they've been getting away with it. Second, they obviously have managed to pull the wool over a few people's eyes, like a few posting on this board.

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 10:25PM

Take it from an insider at IBM Global Services who has been through the LEAN process. When LEAN started, we were sternly told "DO NOT TELL THE CUSTOMER" Most of us knew what was going on. Cutting more of the workforce. They don't care how much it affects the customer. It is like they want to lose the contract. I believe they have already gotten rid of 40% of the people on this contract. The workload is now to the point that I'm looking for a job elsewhere. I'm sure next will come the shipping of more of the jobs to India. Many from this contract have already gone there. It's amazing how IBM is putting national security, from the account I'm on, in the hands of folks in another country.

ontheinside | May 04, 2007 | 10:31PM

Complaints about shortages of technical workers are garbage. There's never been a IT labor shortage in America. It's all about cheap labor at 10% of the prices they'd have to pay here. SteevR, unless you're willing to live in a cardboard box and starve, you can't work cheap enough. Here's a prediction for you: In 20 years, most American jobs will either be automated or offshored - we will have 200 million people chasing 50 million jobs, and that's exactly how Wall Street wants it. Desperate people can be forced to vote to abolish minimum wage, and then be paid pennies per hour.

Eric | May 04, 2007 | 10:32PM

Good points all, but it ignores a critical truth about the tech industry. I used to work for a small VAR that resold Tivoli, Checkpoint Firewalls, and Remedy helpdesks. We also developed software for Tivoli and Remedy, as well as custom work as needed for customers large and small.

We were chopping in the tall cotton while the help desk and firewall markets were brand new, and then when the markets leveled off the OEMs started cannibalizing their channel partners. I saw it three times in three different product lines, so I know it's not a fluke.

What we're seeing now is the commoditization of programming and IT work. Back in the 1980's and 1990's you had to do a lot of hands-on fiddling to get anything to work right, so people would pay big bucks and put up with odd personalities and difficult behavior to get things done.

The money people are in the driver's seat again, especially with China and India subsidizing their IT sectors like there's no tomorrow. Why is it so much cheaper to hire someone in China or India than it is to hire someone in the US? Benefits, for one - if IBM outsources to TaTa consulting, IBM doesn't have to take care of the insurance or the vacation days or any of that other stuff. More money to IBM's bottom line = higher stock price. It's very shortsighted, but like you said the CEOs and their management team will retire rich so why should they care?

It's a Business Roundtable way of thinking, and it emphasizes quarterly profits at the expense of long-term survival.

On the other hand, IBM Global Services is one of the most ineffective organizations I have ever seen. But the market seems to have changed as well. Keane Consulting is much better at this kind of thing than IBM, and even *they* have trouble landing multiyear gigs.

Chris W | May 04, 2007 | 10:32PM

To all IBMers,

My only advice is to hit first before they hit you.
If you do it all together its going to be a strong hit. Remember: United we stand, divided we fall.

steve | May 04, 2007 | 10:35PM

Having worked for 2 IBM competitors and 2 IBM customers, I have to say that I am enjoying the faint taste of sweet revenge in this news. It is not only upper management at IBM that believes in its own superiority, merely by the chance of employment. Also, as this plays out, there will be several pundits who have been pounding the 'IBM is a dying company' drum over the years who will start their 'I told you so' dance.

That said, I agree wholeheartely that there are many excellent minds at work in IBM, worldwide. But all that you have reported, Robert, is the 'what'. There are a few other important issues that this news brings up.

Regarding H1B visas, as several others here have pointed out, these are for foreign workers in the US. Many of them are paid less than US workers, but some of that is because they are young. Also, many of them are not familiar with US wages (I have been happy to provide information on this subject to the H1B workers I have met ;-). But none of them have come here to 'take our jobs'--most of them would like to become US citizens. And there are not that many H1B visas available each year, anyhow.

So the real issue is off-shoring, and what will this do to the US economy? If the 100,000 layoffs are spread over 30 to 40 cities, then those locations will feel the effect of 2,000 to 5,000 well-paid workers having to find other employment. But will it be long-lasting? And is this enough of a catalyst to bring it to the forefront of political campaigns?

Having been laid off a year ago by a poorly managed, small company, I know what it's like trying to deal with it. I am trying to start my own business, in hopes of having a little more control (and money :-), but it is hard and frustrating. So I can sympathize with those facing the disruption in their lives. I also have high hopes that I can have an impact on the software industry by using Free/Open Source software.

I wonder how the FOSS community will react to the situation. IBM is at least talking the Open Source talk, and if they SCO case finally ends in a big win for IBM, there will be a big celebration. But if a significant number of ex-IBMers put their skills to use at startups focused on FOSS applications, will IBM start pushing back?

Finally, is this really the beginning of the end for IBM? There is, after all, a huge hardware and software business still there. Services is a tricky business because it often means reinventing the wheel for each customer. Hardware and software are more linear. And I refer you to those pundits who have been forecasting IBM's death for over a decade.

So while this is big news, I think that it's more that it's close to home. I doubt that ex-GM'ers are all that bothered by it.

JJS | May 04, 2007 | 10:43PM

Why does IBM think they can provide Indian labor at less cost than Wipro or any other Indian provider? The are training their competition to take their business..

none | May 04, 2007 | 10:45PM

IBM is traitorous scum.

AmericaFirst | May 04, 2007 | 10:57PM

To Lisa -
I work at IBM and your problem is you work in Somers.
In IBM GS (the folks getting cut the most), I have folks down in the trenches supporting the customer, some working from 15%-40% OT. Some do it because they are so dedicated, some because we are so busy and short handed and others becuase IBM expects 15% OT. But you won't see their cars. Most work from home and you can only tell because you see them on SameTime all hours of the night and day.....

In the past, when management (I'm Management) made cuts, our great folks would buckle down and somehow make the customer happy. Working harder, longer and smarter....sometimes not doing some things we should be doing.... Now things are "breaking" like never before and that may start to "wake up" folks.

We are well past taking out folks that are poor performers. IBM takes the top skills from customers they outsource. Then they still rate them on a scale that gives no more that 5-10% "1" ratings. Then there are a few "2+" and the rest "2" (and some '3's). During CTO's, the 2's and 3's are cut (with this round, 2+'s are being cut). Yet their is still a distributation of 1, 2+, 2 and 3......just the bar has now been raised.

IBM has GREAT Folks doing the work... Great Traditions... and a management that is trying to change THAT.

Anonymous IBM employee | May 04, 2007 | 11:03PM

It's a MYTH that it's cheaper to offshore our jobs. A MYTH MYTH MYTH. It's a short-sighted, temporary solution made by idiotic tunnel visioned beancounters and CEOs who want fatter pockets.

Americans should refuse to train those in other countries taking their jobs.

Come on, people. Look around and see what's happening in this country. Globalization is taking from YOU and giving it to others. Taking what our ancestors have worked so hard to build for us.

Get MAD and stand up. It's time.

AmericaFirst | May 04, 2007 | 11:08PM

This is the norm as far as executive compensation goes. No point in a fat cat putting their socks on in the morning without yet another hypocritical self-granted bonus of stock and options. (remember, options are BAD, but don't get caught asking why your company still grants from to the exec class)

I work for ENTU on the Nasdaq. You want to see what terrible management can do to a mini-IBM? Study ENTU for a short while. The cliches are all there, and it starts with our portly $1.7 million a year lump of greed, adorned with nothing but the best life has to offer. I would have given back every sad, sad "bonus" the company dribbled out if once, JUST ONCE, BC would have shown some executive class and leadership (the kind of leadership that says, "hey, I'm sincerely trying to make this company work here! join me on a this wonderful voyage") by forgoing HIS bonus. But no, on 2 separate occasions he had a tough time answering investor and reporter questions on not only his fat salary but how much of our near 2006 3rd quarter loss was due to "executive compensation". I guess the unfortunate problem there was the timing of the "loss".

I can only take solace in the dream that when the rapture comes and the dead walk the earth, that bankers, executives and lawyers will be the first to have their brains sucked out. ;-)

entu4life | May 04, 2007 | 11:11PM

This is the norm as far as executive compensation goes. No point in a fat cat putting their socks on in the morning without yet another hypocritical self-granted bonus of stock and options. (remember, options are BAD, but don't get caught asking why your company still grants from to the exec class)

I work for ENTU on the Nasdaq. You want to see what terrible management can do to a mini-IBM? Study ENTU for a short while. The cliches are all there, and it starts with our portly $1.7 million a year lump of greed, adorned with nothing but the best life has to offer. I would have given back every sad, sad "bonus" the company dribbled out if once, JUST ONCE, BC would have shown some executive class and leadership (the kind of leadership that says, "hey, I'm sincerely trying to make this company work here! join me on a this wonderful voyage") by forgoing HIS bonus. But no, on 2 separate occasions he had a tough time answering investor and reporter questions on not only his fat salary but how much of our near 2006 3rd quarter loss was due to "executive compensation". I guess the unfortunate problem there was the timing of the "loss".

I can only take solace in the dream that when the rapture comes and the dead walk the earth, that bankers, executives and lawyers will be the first to have their brains sucked out. ;-)

entu4life | May 04, 2007 | 11:12PM

"The future leaders are there. It is up to the corporations to build them the old fashion way. The way the used to work. The way that brought us engineers, managers, and CEO's that drove innovation."

Oh I don't disagree with you on that. That's why articles like this make me cringe. The business model a great deal of American companies run off of has no place for long term research or fostering higher education (at least in the US) which is terminal stupidity and is dealing our nation a horrendous blow (it seems like a great deal of R&D is moving off shores and with it the knowledge base). It is all about short term profit. Even if you do get a CEO that wants to change the long term research prospectus that a cooperation has if he/she tries to implement the plan he/she is immediately punished by the board of investors who could give a rats ass about long term research. What they want is immediate PROFIT.

And this is why rising powers are going to come back and dominate us in 20 or 30 years down the road (if even that long). They wont even have to go to war with us as they'll dominate us both economically and have information superiority over us.

"It is ridiculous to blame the employee or Americans in general on this issue. No one buys the moronic excuse any more that it is the employee that is lazy. It just aint so."

While corp American does need an adjustment it also has a large part to do with the indolence and apathy of our youth towards education. Right now as it stands money is being THROWN at US Citizens to obtain higher degrees in technical areas and very few of our youth actually seize the opportunity (it requires elbow grease). I had the privilege of knowing a teacher that had emigrated to the US from his native Singapore and became a naturalized citizen. He was absolutely appalled at the lack of enthusiasm for higher education in our culture despite the fact that there are so many free rides to obtain it for American Citizens.

Do you think your foreign competition was compensated any better then you?

Anyways this is my last post so you can beat up on be all you want ;-) Night.

ConcernedCitizen | May 04, 2007 | 11:21PM

Me thinks some of IBM's customers should be directed to this website so they can see where their $$$ are going, and see how the numbers reported to them are fudged.... then in a short time, when their systems start having cascading failures, and they discover everyone who knew anything about them have been let go, they won't be so surprised....

intheknow | May 04, 2007 | 11:22PM

I got my package the other day, management was pretty cold about it. Anyway, there was a document along with it, must be a federal thing or a mistake, who knows. Anyway, it listed job name/# of people/ age. I skipped the 1st page as it had some text on it, page 2, I counted 620 jobs/people. There were 43 pages, so I did 43 * 600 and it looks to me like the plan is to dump 28,500 jobs. It was dated 5/1/07. I dunno, but I no longer have to worry if I'm next.

1 of the doomed | May 04, 2007 | 11:36PM

relocating staffing offshore is beneficial to any MNC in that it offers the leverage for these companies to serve it's customers around the clock.

moreover, with the rise of india and china, together with the rest of asia, isn't it better policy to hire people that are local-culture aware, rather than to assign americans to work as expatriates in asia?

AnonymousCoward | May 04, 2007 | 11:44PM

Hey, this could be great, we all take our packages, form XIBM.com, get things all together for the next year (while we can't go after IBM customers) and nail IBM customers, especially the SMB segment with lower prices, English speaking support and dedication to the customer 24x7. Should be enough talent out there to make this a kick butt venture. THINK.... Man, that would sure be fun.

hmmmm | May 04, 2007 | 11:56PM

IBM = Indian Business Machines
LEAN = Layoff All Americans Now

Iva Harden | May 05, 2007 | 12:03AM

sorry, Layoff Every American Now

Iva Harden | May 05, 2007 | 12:04AM

I got the same package, and the same management coldness. Must be part of the marching orders they got at the LEAN meeting. I hope the customer (my previous employer) finally has enough of this, and does something about the contract. I know this LEAN stuff has really rubbed them raw with the "do more with less". It may be good for a car assembly line, but it does not work in IT when working with stuff you can't see.

Jones | May 05, 2007 | 12:05AM

I used to work for a fortune 500 company who offshored and let go a lot of people. I left and partnered with 6 of my ex co-workers. I'm now making twice as much as I did.

mark | May 05, 2007 | 12:06AM

I'm an employee in STG and from my informal survey of my cohort (0-5 years in) it seems a huge number of the really bright folks are leaving voluntarily for better opportunities. I think the big problem is there's very little incentive to work at IBM... awards are gone, bonus's and raises are almost gone too... having initiative at IBM is like having "sucker" pasted on your forhead. no one works hard, because hard-work is rewarded only with more work.

the projects are understaffed and way behind... and basically every layer of project management is lying a little to the layer above it... we had a 5th line tell us when he thought the mainframe product was going to ship, the audience (low level engineers) litterally burst out in laughter.

its unfortunate, but I think there's a widespread loss of confidence in the management team... ideally this is when the board is supposed to step in and mop things up, but I'm not soo naive to believe it will work that way.

STGer | May 05, 2007 | 12:35AM

XIBM.com - that's a great name! As for the "year" that we can't go after the IBM customers, well, seems to me if IBM gets their way that will be a serious breach of contract anyway, and we all know IBM's word isn't worth the paper its printed on. Why wait? Get together, and float a proposal to take over the work to your customer now! You can always show them how IBM has been fudging the numbers to them if they start getting huffy about the "year"....

intheknow | May 05, 2007 | 12:37AM

I am a current employee (was grandfathered in from another company) and since the transition (5+ years ago) have been in a constant flux of never knowing what new (idiotic) things have changed over the weekend or never knowing if your access badge will work (referring to the constant release of staffing over the years). Recently, I had been faced with one of the "lay offs” or as termed “being redeployed”, where you have a chance to locate a job within a certain amount of time and if not found, was informed there will be no release package (at least not for us workers or so we are being informed), and out you go. I was able to locate another position to retain employment only to find that LEAN is going to be implemented in the department I just moved to. I guess you could say I am slowly being moved out the door.

Once this began (the lay off’s), I decided that when I am forced out of IBM (which may be soon), I will never go back or endorse their product/services, which I find is tough to do today. We (the employee’s or our children) are the future company owners of America; IBM might want to think a little about that before burning all bridges.

Maybe IBM should stand for “I Been Mismanaged” or these actions could be deemed as getting the “Big Blue Boot”.

Aside from Big Blue, I for one am looking forward to talking to someone from another country (customer service) when checking on my unemployment check.

As a younger man I was conditioned to believe that we take care of our own, you get a GOOD job, do well and retire, or at least that was the original plan.

Good luck to all those affected by the Global transition.

Employed? | May 05, 2007 | 12:58AM

If you're an IBM/Lenovo laptop or desktop customer, get ready to bend over and say, "Thank you Maam, may I please have another?"

Lenovo is about to roll out Lenovo Experts Live, a new USA-based (we hope) call center to handle all your "out of scope" tech support requests, that being anything over and above a broken part.

It was supposed to open May 1 2007, now tentatively at the end of May. What does it mean for you, the IBM/Lenovo consumer?

On a positive note, it means that all those "out of scope" questions about networking, configuration, Vista and your email will have a friendly, sympathetic voice to help you get past your dilemma. If you just demand to be shown how to use a mouse or a spreadsheet, you too are in luck.

And what's the catch? You'll pay up $125 for the privilege of actually talking to an "expert", or $99 to do "live chat". Your warranty doesn't apply here. If your system is over 30 days old, either reimage, Google for a computer class or pay the piper.

I suppose that in the software world, it's become normal that one has to pay for support. God only knows that Microsoft won't support you for free. Hah! Might as well call the X-files.

However I suspect that the persons who shelled out $3K for a laptop expecting some modicum of support as a shiny accessory may be disappointed. $125 to configure the OEM software that we sold you, that the software vendor won't touch with a ten-meter pole? Thank you, Maam, may I please have another?

Oh, but you have IBM ThinkVantage software that came with your machine. That has to be covered, right? After all, your shiny new ThinkPad is only a month old.

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/landing_pages/programs/2007/2007_04_techbuddy

Thanks for Calling IBM | May 05, 2007 | 1:11AM

America is going the way of all empires...
Babylon... Rome... the barbarians aren't
at the gate... the Barbarians R US !

Helena | May 05, 2007 | 1:17AM

It will be interesting to see hwo this plays out in public and internal circles over the next week. I think alot of newly acquired employees will use this as their reference point for how the company deals with major pr problems. IBM's communication channels suck so bad...5 people give 5 different wrong answers consistently :)

me again | May 05, 2007 | 1:18AM

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in public and internal circles over the next week. I think alot of newly acquired employees will use this as their reference point for how the company deals with major pr problems. IBM's communication channels suk so bad...5 people give 5 different wrong answers consistently :)

me again | May 05, 2007 | 1:18AM

Hey Boris -- go f* yourself.

Monolith | May 05, 2007 | 1:23AM

What a sh!tty company

Blue Velvet | May 05, 2007 | 1:29AM

Wow... sounds like the dot.com bust + outsourcing issue all over again. And we know that didn't work well for U.S. tech industry. I'm not a US citizen, and I don't live in the U.S. (I am a tech worker though), but everyone knows outsourcing has been a HUGE failure for the U.S. tech industry, and they've sadly lost their innovative lead for the sake of short term gains.

I only hope this story isn't true, or at least if the plan "does exist" IBM changes their tune and doesn't implement the plan. It would only lead to the demise the oldest tech company in the world and the further erosion of the tech industry world-wide as a whole.

On the flip-side, if IBM faulters, there won't be much of a name change... IBM would still be IBM... Indian Business Machines.

Meister1867 | May 05, 2007 | 1:35AM

Inflation in India is runing around 6%. Any cost savings there will soon be wiped out.

For a snapshot of what IBM Executive Management is really thinking, go here:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=IBM

Isn't it obvious...sales, option exercising, dispositions....they KNOW they're on a sinking ship.

pinkslipsoon | May 05, 2007 | 1:45AM

I have worked with these clowns for so long I'm ready to scream!!!! there is more clowns than 1000 circus shows. Go for IBM you'll find out the just as you always. They may work for 20,000, but it takes 1o people just to get to work, much less understand anything technical.
duh! listen to the conference calls you will see who the dumb ass people are.

menotknow | May 05, 2007 | 1:56AM

I've been working at IBM STG for over 20 years now and, unfortunately, the sentiments in these comments reflect the current mood at IBM very well.

Sure, outsourcing is happening (I find the number of 150k a bit hard to believe though), but that is not the main problem around here.

The main problem is, to be blunt, the general incompetence of IBM employees. And yes, that includes those here in the US. Managers are completely disconnected from their employees or what is actually happening in their departments on a technical level.

Our manager is remote and we have a weekly department call with him on the phone. While he rambles on with trivialities we have the phone on mute and are joking loudly about his incompetence. Sometimes it makes me sit back, look at it and feel sad for what this place has become.

I personally will try to hang on until retirement. Wish me luck!

IBM Developer | May 05, 2007 | 2:06AM

This type of massive layoffs in US will not bode well for the US economy. If all start offshoring and outsourcing then US won't be having any jobs left there. More importantly US share in IT outsourcing from India is more than 70%. You can not bet on other economies. If people in US itself don't have money to spend then Indian companies will also feel the heat. This is just not good. Outsourcing should be a balanced act.

jayaram | May 05, 2007 | 2:09AM

IBM has terminated people as of 05/01/2007, they have accepted volunteers for the next round of layoffs, this will take place on 06/01/2007. Finally, on 08/01/2007, all staff members not trained on LEAN will be let go. The IBM way is to terminate based on numbers, if you are a "cannot be replaced" person, you will be let go, no matter how important you are and no matter what you know (compared to what the others don't know), you will be terminated. Many people are in class at the present time, if you are not in a LEAN related class at the present time, chances are you are on the list of people to be terminated. Get out or be thrown to the wolves!! Take your vacation because it will not see your bank account as a buyout. Sell your stocks, they are doomed. This is good advice from someone already out the door, heed it or regret it later on.

bigmistake | May 05, 2007 | 3:00AM

Worst part about these cuts is it seems to be almost random but it probably isn't, This week I have seen very skilled people let go from one team while some known incompetent employees on the same team remain, when you boil it all down it's about numbers.
In addition these people that have been 'packaged out' just seem to disappear without any communication to even thier co-workers, that they have been sacked.

This is not right IMO

Sad but true | May 05, 2007 | 3:17AM

Why just blame IBM (not that I am supporting what they are doing)? What is happening at Microsoft, Oracle, CSC, Accenture etc. Every one is on the same boat. They don't care about People in the US or impact on our economy. Rather why should they care? Our own representatives (politicians) don't care. They are always busy with Iraq War, Terrorism etc. They might be important but not beyond threat our basic survival. We, the Citizens, also don't care much about long term impact to people and country. We are a divided lot on party lines based on some ideology (not sure what it is). We always support a party, even if they mismanage every thing.
No govt in India can afford to send such a large number of jobs to off-shore (say to other poor countries). That govt will fall next day, if that happens. That is the power of people (even though we brand them as under developed or developing or third world).
What is happening here. Ours is the most educated and advanced country. Why don't we think better than those? Inspite of the fact that many of us either lost job or under-paid or have difficulty to survive, we are ready to throw billions of Dollars to other countries, in the name of democracy or war or terrorism or just to tell them that we are no.1. Why can't that level of money goes into our country for the improvement of our standard of living or even for fight to survive.
At the end, the only solution to this is that we should tell loud and clear to our leaders that unless they take care of our interest, they will lose every where. Govt should stop or limit outsourcing (probably a maximum of 25% or less).
Hope some one will use their good senses and save us.

Mahesh | May 05, 2007 | 3:19AM

This should be broadcasted on Sametime to everyone!!! This company will meltdown join the ranks of Enron pretty soon.

My Name | May 05, 2007 | 3:28AM

To the person commenting on Lenovo Service. I just went to the page.. What a F*n joke!!! Why don't they just put indians there, since the support will be done by them and not the American models in the images...

me | May 05, 2007 | 3:30AM

This week was unique, I rec'd a email from our location exec. praising a colleague for doing a little extra work to promote IBM as a workplace on the Intranet, on the same day this email was sent out the employee had been 'leaned' along with a few of his coworkers showcased in the video.

Ironically the video was titled 'This is where I work'

Just shows how much management has lost touch with reality.

I'm tempted to create a video myself, I think 'Where have all the good ones gone' would be a great title.

Opening shot the rows of empty cubicles, Cut to IBM executives rubbing thier palms together in anticipation of the short term SP rally, and then fast forward to the day IBM shares are trading on the pink sheets.

CorpSlave | May 05, 2007 | 3:36AM

If you are not able to make a difference between the total number of employees of the whole company and the size of one of its US divisions -- which probably is one order of magnitude smaller -- then I won't trust any of your rumors and speculations. The only fact in this article is the (public) announcement to lay off 1,300 U.S. workers. From 1,300 to 150,000 is just speculation. I wonder how much time you actually spent cooking up such a monstrous number ... 150,000 ... makes me laugh. That's probably more then they have employees in the US.

Catalin Hritcu | May 05, 2007 | 4:58AM

If anyone thinks this stops at 1300 you are lost just like mgmt. it will be 1300 every 9 weeks from what i have heard, IBM internally has outsourced its network and notes admin to Brazil and they are for the most part retarded. IBM even trimming local deskside support to 1 person per 1k users, just wait until retarded execs can't boot up, what will habib do in India, I'm so sorry but that Is not on my script.

CorpSlave | May 05, 2007 | 5:17AM

Lean are they callin' me fat?, only fatass i can see is sammy with his goofy '80s goggles, you should be ashamed dorkmiester.

fatboy | May 05, 2007 | 5:27AM

I'm hoping the iSeries folks see this as an oportunity to form their own company.

John | May 05, 2007 | 5:50AM

It's all true Guys! And yes, it's Age & $$ Tech Discrimination - a great loss of Wisdom and CUSTOMER#1 Support/Service. Thomas Watson Sr. is stamping mad in Heaven! Our Sr. Mgmt has lost faith in Leading the Corporate Crowd behind and doing the 'UnTHINKable'. Give Billion$ to the Retirement Fund instead of $tealing it from those who've paid for it with designs/ patents/ service/ long hours-exempt abuses. Just THINK, you would get the cream of the crop knocking to get in at a fare wage. Who profits, only LARGE $hareholders when they $ell High! On what unethical Corp GOLFing buddies behavior prevails, forget the RANKS & FILE who make this company. Make them work till they Drop. Stay healthy kids so you 2 can work till 70-75; because don't plan 4 Social Security or IBM to help you out. Where's their Business Conduct Guidelines on $upporting the Employee's THEY serve. I Work Here! I THINK! God Help me I like the 'Good Will' of IBM and so do alot of people. That is exactly what Enron employee's said too. THINK TRUST instead of Lean Thinking.

I WORK HERE, I THINK! | May 05, 2007 | 6:31AM

It is really a shame that you haveno idea what you are talking about when it comes to lean. You should try doing some research on Lean Transformations prior to spouting off about it. Toyota has been doing it very successfully for 50 years and has gone from #4 in the Japanense car market to almost #1 in the WORLD. That sounds like a formula worth emulating. I can't "be more funny" when the original bully pulpit person is full of it!

Steve Rohrssen | May 05, 2007 | 7:08AM

People on the ground - excellent.

Management?

WHAT MANAGEMENT? These pin-heads have no clue what they are doing. It is a matrixed mess of mental midgets in my group - many of which were from PWC.

No one is responsible for anything - everyone is responsible for everything. They treat hard working, intelligent people like their slaves.

The layoffs wont even need to happen - I see people looking for jobs unrelated to this article - and good for them.

Good Quotes I heard when I started :

"Don't EVER expect IBM to do the right thing"

"IBM people do great things after they leave IBM"

IBMER | May 05, 2007 | 7:33AM

About age, $$ and tech discrimination, IBM certainly is not alone. I ended up in this peon job for IBM because I put in 10 hard years for HP, who then decided to spin off all the real HP businesses into Agilent in 1999. I went with them. Then Agilent decided to sell my division to Philips of the Netherlands. I went with them. After 15 hard, loyal years, all of us ex-HP people with experience were let go, replaced by kids with no pensions and no experience. I ended up with no job, no insurance, and a 50-yo looking at starting all over in life. Corporations can be so cold.

Thanks for Calling IBM | May 05, 2007 | 7:47AM

I recently worked out that last year Palmisano earned over 300x what I earned. His reported earnings for 2003 were just under $8m. For 2006 that had jumped to over $24m. For what? Internal surveys show a diminishing level of faith in management.

I joined in 2001 and the internal messages from Gerstner and his team were that "the people of IBM are our greatest asset". The recent communication about payrises stated "people are IBM's biggest expense". That sums it up nicely I think.

Anyone want a UK-based z/OS developer?

UK SWG IBMer | May 05, 2007 | 7:53AM

I recently worked out that last year Palmisano earned over 300x what I earned. His reported earnings for 2003 were just under $8m. For 2006 that had jumped to over $24m. For what? Internal surveys show a diminishing level of faith in management.

I joined in 2001 and the internal messages from Gerstner and his team were that "the people of IBM are our greatest asset". The recent communication about payrises stated "people are IBM's biggest expense". That sums it up nicely I think.

Anyone want a UK-based z/OS developer?

UK SWG IBMer | May 05, 2007 | 7:54AM

Why on earth would anybody encourage their kids to do engineering anymore in the Western world. Long hours, work weekends, salary that does not reflect over time. And the mythical career positions you assumed come to those who do overtime for the "team" are clinically culled just before you get there. Only the inexperienced would encourage their children today?

vladoshi | May 05, 2007 | 8:05AM

Remember the IBM ER program? The IBM version of the Hitler Youth Corp? They are now steering the ship.... into the rocks!
But they still photograph well don't they?
Oh, my, I have to protect my options so lets get rid of at least a third of the workers and look how much we save. We can get offshore workers very cheap.

bill | May 05, 2007 | 8:21AM

I'm a 22 yr. IBM employee who is getting sqeezed out his year. I don't really mind though. My job is a deadend, high stress, and poorly compensated one. The workload is horrendous and only getting worse. I will not miss working 12 hr days, weekends, holidays, etc. The company seems to favor young, low level, poorly paid folks who are so hard up for a job, they would do anything asked of them. I wish IBM lots of luck.

supertech | May 05, 2007 | 8:36AM

Steve Rohrssen - What you don't know, is that today's IBM can take the best process or idea and screw it up worse than anyone. The current rollout of Rational Portfolio Manager is one example. And the possibility of pushing Linux desktops to the non-tech useless mgt and admin type people who can hardly use Windows. Try procurement through Buy On Demand.... the list is endless. Add LEAN to the list. The company is bloated, slow, stupid, greedy, and shortsighted. Only reason I stick around is because of the good people at the bottom of the food chain, doing what they can to keep the company going, despite the cancerous brains of leadership.

yet another IBMer | May 05, 2007 | 9:03AM

One of the early comments in this thread was, "The old saying goes no one gets fired for choosing IBM, if that adage loeses its value the company is done for."

Ask Ron Ponder, ex-CIO of Wellpoint (NYSE-WLP). Supposed to have been one of the top ten CIOs in the country. He was canned for chosing IBM.

Watching | May 05, 2007 | 9:03AM

i worked some years for IBM (outside US) until about 8 years ago. already then, the IBM we knew was pushing out all the techies and went on to become an almost pure marketing organization, in the process getting rid of 2/3 of the buildings.

i remember IBM for the surreal feeling of entering another world as soon as i entered the lobby, for the total paranoia on all levels (often i wouldn't know what people next office did), and how IBM used their "influence" ($$$) with authorities to systematically push local competitors out of the market - in the process undermining a local market for skills and services, last but not least i remember IBM for their unique talent to kill good products and ideas.

from where i stand, i see these horrifying news with some schadenfreude: as IBM is obviously beyond repair, if they shoot themselves in the foot once too many this time, i can only say

GOOD RIDDANCE IBM.

nuff | May 05, 2007 | 9:04AM

I've never worked for IBM, but have worked for others Companies that underwent huge changes like IBM is apparently doing now. So when I was 50 I took work with a small time outfit for peanuts, and I mean peanuts. (23,000 a year) I did this so I could learn how to operate a small enterprise, so that I would no longer have to work in a corporate environment where the underlying stock dictated my job and how my job should be performed to gain maximum benefit for the stockholder. Now after 6 years in bussiness for myself, I'm laughing all the way to the bank every day of the week. I realize what you people are undergoing is a tough thing, but take advantage of the doors that may now open to you and let no one ever do this to you again.

G. Z. | May 05, 2007 | 9:04AM

The current account I'm on makes IBM seem like a meat market contract shop. People come and go like the wind, with no tribal knowledge retained. The customer and IBM project managers can't even keep track of who is supporting them for the day (when they raise sev 1 tickets in Managenow and try to escalate). We are already experiencing the future, where we randomly pull resources out of a pool to work an account and environment they've never logged into before.

IBM has terminal cancer -- retarded non-technical leadership, leading a technical organization.

IBM'r in the trenches | May 05, 2007 | 9:19AM

This all rings so true it's scary. I've been at IBM for 8 years in a technical (application development) position for external clients. I have NO FEWER that 4-5 people a day, whose main responsibility it is to track projects via an Excel spreadsheet, pinging me to see the status of this or that problem/issue. These are the people that should be axed, and yet somehow it seems it's the people in the trenches that are losign their jobs. It's mind-numbing how clueless these managers are. Another pet peeve of mine: receiving several notes on a Monday morning congratulating the technical team on another project successfully completed, from MANAGERS I'VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF AND HAVE NO IDEA WHO I AM OR WHAT I DO. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

ibmtekkie | May 05, 2007 | 9:25AM

IBM may be getting the spotlight over this practice because of the timeframe and sheer volume of affected jobs, but most other fortune 500 companies have been, and will continue to follow the same practice of cutting U.S. jobs and outsourcing IT. This has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with price. As an IT consultant at one of IBM competitor's, I have seen this trend evolve and it is getting worse. Surprisingly, the U.S. is now issuing more H1Bs than ever. We are training the next generation of outsourcers here in the U.S. so they can go back to their own countries and take U.S. jobs with them. And we are doing this for the very short term goal of satisfying Wall Street for a week. I wonder if these execs are planning on retiring to India or China.

David | May 05, 2007 | 9:27AM

"ibmtekkie:: Another pet peeve of mine: receiving several notes on a Monday morning congratulating the technical team on another project successfully completed, from MANAGERS I'VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF AND HAVE NO IDEA WHO I AM OR WHAT I DO. Does this sound familiar to anyone?"

It's more like management congratulating the project manager and cc: the people who do the real work (if the manager was smart enough and replied to all).

another IBM tech | May 05, 2007 | 9:34AM

If you look at the strategy that IBM is employing, and has employed over the years (since 1993) its nothing new. At the top the view looks very different;

H/W market has become commoditized so IBM is quietly withdrawing from the market into just an OEM supplier;

S/W IBM had never been competitive, stemming from the fact that they still --even with armies of programmers-- doen't consider programming a profession. Mills has been shrinking his way to success dropping out of market after market becuase he know he can't invest long enough to make it a real growth business. He's just not as smart as Google or Microsoft, except for his own pocket.

Services. Ahh here we come to IBM's eventual end state --in more ways than one. IGS is composed of Project Managers and Individual Contributors. ICs though necessary to really doing the project are seen as a commodity. As such PMs, HR Bench Mgrs and Recruiters have become the hot skill. Can you find the resource you need JIT for the project and then cut then loose when needed. Sounds like a Temp Agency to me...

In fact IBM has established a partner program to get and rent (ICs) ex-IBMers and IBM align business partners to their mainline customers because they don't want to retain these skills on the books.

The end result is IBM fast becoming the largest temp agency in the world. The only flaws in this model is that
1) eventually customers catch on and go to temp agencies that have better T&Cs and prices.
2) the once useful term IBM added value now only becomes a shallow slogan, meaning if they screw it up --which I know they will since they have to find people off the street or somewhere else-- I can threaten to sue or make a sink in the press to get my money back or significant reduction in price to something reasonable. So IBM customers for now play the game until they don't see the profit or are hung out to dry.

What this means eventually is like GM, the IBM dinosaur is dead, the body just doesn't know it yet. While this will scare the hell out of Wall Street types and middle to upper management in IBM the writing was on the wall in 2005.

SamP just isn't up to the task --he's using 1993 tactics in a 2007 world. Management there high fived themselves for not blowing it with the Internet bubble, convicing themselves they were brilliant business men. The truth is they were so slow that they missed it and the bubble burst before they could really enter. After the big pop they rewrote corporate history to show Wall Street they were smart about the whole thing. The trouble is that they drank there own Kool Aid.

The unfortunate thing is that some of these IBM Execs are going to other corporations to infect them with management by spreadsheet.

But then again there is a renaissance in Small to Medium business, something IBM just doesn't know how to compete for that will provide a light for the IC commuity. They may never get the lofty salaries they once had at IBM --but that was an illusion anyway-- when you calculated out all the costs of maintaining a job at IBM you were still in the middle of middle class; your accoutant neighbor who was making 20% to 30% was on the same economic level hmmm.

I know more than a few ex-IBMers that left in '93 resource action that started their own businesses. They are now doing fairly well smiling away because they are no longer in the muck. With regard to non-complete, it will cost IBM more money and bad PR than it can afford to go after ex-IBMers contracting with old customers. If anythng IBM will try to co-op them into their temp-force staff. Just look at the IBM Partners staffing site --its filled with temp work, to overflowing. One wonders if they are having to have a resource action to get ride of people; why are they adversting for these same skills? Doublespeak or rathe maybe the new term should be IBMSpeak. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Hollow Suites are back from the woodwork, flipcharts are making a comeback.

BrianS | May 05, 2007 | 9:53AM

Welcome to the global economy. Leave your whining and entitlement at the door.

Read about the Circuit City layoffs, which were only domestic:

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070328/circuit_city_layoffs.html

Economics, accounting, and good old capitalism are at work.

If you think that you are entitled to your job and that your corporate employer won't replace you in a heartbeat for someone that costs a fraction of your salary and expensive benefits, you have a rough road ahead.

These moves are not "bad" or "evil" or "wrong". They are simply the indifference of economics and capitalism.

Naturally, the arguments of a tarnished reputation in the market, disgruntled former employees, and unhappy customers probably have some merit, but (according to the column) it seems that this problem exists with current workforce, so what have they got to lose?

If the plan does exist and does go through, they'll probably be able to offer their customers a lower price, which many companies will accept simply because they believe it will save them so much money. Just as you shop at the big box stores to save money yourself, indifferent to the mom & pop store that goes out of business.

Don't fight the current. Accept that all forms of service jobs are going the way of manufacturing jobs and work to make yourself more valuable in the domestic marketplace through new skills and a new offer that can't easily be sent to a distant land.

SP | May 05, 2007 | 10:08AM

hey, Sam found the link !

lol | May 05, 2007 | 10:14AM

Here's the problem with all this free market stuff you're spouting. If I don't have a job and can't afford the latest silly bling consumer item, even the madcap boys with the MBA's in the executive suites will be out of a job. How will they get revenue? Selling coffee cups and old 741 op-amp chips at CES? The computer industry has become a joke. I worked in it for 25 years. If we're all hirelings on contract, the rates need to be $ 50.00 an hour and up, not $ 20.00 per hour so I can pay for the benefits I need that they won't give me. I started my career at 9.37 an hour in 1976, so let's see, according to the inflation calculator, I should be paid around $ 34.00 per hour today to start. We have CEO's in name only today. They care not a wit about people. They are not interested in building anything for anyone, except themselves. It's like the old musical chairs game, except the CEO group has a separate ring of 8 chairs on the outside for 8 people. They always get a chair when the music stops! They continue to pull chairs away from us in the inner circle. Result: Job Blow worker has to leave the game. The CEO ring? They will get to go to jail for mismanagement and stock option thievery. So go ahead, send all the jobs to India. When the depression hits, you'll be in a cell with big daddy. He'll keep you warm at night!

JDoe | May 05, 2007 | 10:55AM

Companies, like people exist in a survival-of-the-fittest world. I T (real or self-designated) folks need to stop whinning and get over it! They've had their snoot in the trough long enough, and frankly, most didn't (don't) deserve 25% of their pay! Yea IBM/IGS!!!

jake the snake | May 05, 2007 | 11:02AM

in my point of view, time arrived to boycott HP services, hardware and utilities.

that's below any red line!

roni | May 05, 2007 | 11:06AM

You have to laugh at how stupid this is. "Uh, yeah, let's outsource our outsourcing?!?!". How many degrees of seperation are we from can outsourcing all the worlds jobs to prisoners? FREE LABOR!!!!!

XYZ | May 05, 2007 | 11:17AM

How will they get revenue?


Increasingly it's not about the long-term revenue. It's clearly about short-term strategy that impacts financial statements sufficiently to generate outcomes necessary for executive bonus compensation. Look at the worst-case scenarios in the U.S. (e.g. Delta, GM, Ford) and the excessive, irrational in the long-term executive compensation levels.


Also, take a look at the leveraged buyouts. KKR acquired First Data through the assistance of a formerly retired CEO. Having been brought back from retirement, the CEO did nothing but slash critical operations, spin off Western Union, neglect any long-term strategy and dump the company into KKR's hands. For him, the perk was several hundred million in additional compensation. For KKR, this gets them around Sarbanes Oxley oversight once the acquisition is complete.


The parasites clearly have control of U.S. corporations. They're using every tactic available to find additional cash they can liberate from the firm and have no consideration for what is left 10 years from now.

redherkey | May 05, 2007 | 11:19AM

One additional comment... if Congress is truly concerned about the death of functional domestic operations (e.g. having an economy that is more than holding companies for foreign production), it would enact parity regulations that requires the same overhead expense, regulatory environment, safety environment, healthcare and retirement savings and other expenses it mandates for U.S. workers on all foreign workers used by domestic corporations.


If IBM had to bear the same expense for the benefits and protection of an outsourced worker in India or Malaysia as it did in the U.S., current trends in the weakening dollar and the expense, lag, communication impairment and productivity loss associated with the outsourced option would be close to financial parity. At this point, soft benefits of domestic employment would likely be a more significant consideration.


Already, some employers are seeing the downside of outsourcing. ConAgra Foods has recently brought back some IT function it outsourced to India due to the discovery that while the labor rates were less, it took nearly three times the project man-hours due to translational and cultural factors. American executives fail to realize that most foreign technical labor resources do not lend to 60-70 hour death-march projects as do their domestic employees.


As part of another large domestic firm undergoing a LBO transition, our technical environment has sustained 60-hour work weeks at our data centers for nearly three years. Now that we're in an LBO, we're pushing that another 10-hours. The firm is receiving twice the FTEs at no additional cost, and compare that to foreign labor we work with that is effective for about 20-25 hours a week, and add efficiency factor of about 35% due to communication factors and lower intensity in their educated workforce, and the U.S. worker is outperforming with a productivity factor of 4x or greater.


At those levels, it's difficult to justify the outsourcing risk (especially again factoring exchange risk). On top of that, some firms are discovering that once the outsourced competency is lost, they no longer have leverage in the negotiation of their contracts. Once the expertise is gone, you'll pay whatever the current owner of your competency seeks.


If you're frustrated with this short-term executive compensation seeking behavior, redirect your personal and retirement investments from these firms. It does have an effect on placing even greater pressure on a softening stock price and tends to stress these underqualified wealth seekers beyond their ability to manage.

redherkey | May 05, 2007 | 11:34AM

I find it very disturbing and sad that there are so many people leaving comments praising IBM for laying off so many US workers. Don't you realize some people are relying on their jobs to support their families? What has Corporate America ever done for you that makes you take their side so unconditionally and would you feel the same way if your job was on the line?

TM | May 05, 2007 | 11:36AM

Robber Barron's are plundering all the capital from U.S. firms. In order to usher in a "One-World-Government"; meaning a UN type charter of rights will supersede the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States within the United States, the back bone of the U.S. will have to be broken.

That's what happening right now. As we move into the next phase of NAFTA you will see much of the power of the Congress, Senate and State Legislatures moved into “Administrative Function” of a governing body outside the jurisdiction of the Congress, Senate and State Legislatures. Just like in Canada when NAFTA was challenged and taken to the Supreme Court of Canada which ruled they had no jurisdiction over what had happened, NAFTA fell outside of “Canada”. You will see this again and again.

The rats are leaving the sinking ship and taking as much cheese with them as they can, a ship the rats sunk on purpose; why? To set the stage for the next phase of NAFTA and a move towards a North American Union very similar to the E.U.

Look at all the issues the E.U. is having, it’s become a nightmare for the citizens of Europe. Europe has become a coffin.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/
http://www.canadianactionparty.ca/home.html

Read John Perkins, “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” or watch his lectures on www.youtube.com for some in site on how Multi National Corporations really work.

lobster | May 05, 2007 | 11:39AM

Jake,
"Companies, like people exist in a survival-of-the-fittest world."
You got got to read up on evolution and math. What you call survival of of the fittest is nothing more than random selection in a chaotic system. Welcome to the 21th century we have actually learned some things since the 18th century.

ronald | May 05, 2007 | 11:40AM

IBM's problems are not basic capitalistic forces, it is not an inadequate, expensive or lazy workforce, their problem is *ONLY* really, really, really bad management (people and policies). Management is completely non-technical and clueless, trying to manage a technical business. Managers have *NO* meaningful contact with their people. This starts at the first level and gets worse as you go up. Upper management is also clueless and doesn't understand the business. They have no idea what to do to make things better, so they come out with a series of stupid moves and policies to try to "Fix" things, and invariably make things worse. The evaluation process (PBC) is a perfect synopsis of this dysfunction, but there are so many others, including "LEAN" (as implemented).

If one were charitably inclined, one could say that it isn't management's fault, they are just completely untrained for the job they are supposed to do.
Managers MUST be able to understand the technical details of the projects they manage. S/W managers must be programmers, H/W managers must be designers. Managers must see their people and talk to them everyday, work on problems with their poeple, be involved with the work. The managers above them must also understand the technical aspects of the business, even if it at a more abstract level (how one piece interacts with another). If you fix this, and stop these recurring pointless layoffs (mandatory attrition), dictated top-down PBC ratings, everything will fix itself. This death-spiral is new (post 2002), we've all seen it start, and it started because of deliberate changes in management people and policies. It can be stopped, but it will have to start at the top.

T. | May 05, 2007 | 11:41AM

SP, problems may exist today, but the strategy of GRs and RAs is making things far worse. Many of us recall fondly how well things worked just a few short years ago, and the pace of decline is rapidly increasing.

Palmisano and his gang of idiots are absolutely clueless. They have not produced one single creative idea during his entire tenure. They've been selling the farm, barn by barn, for some time now. It began with the printer division, then network, storage, PCD, etc. Each business unit, thru mismanagement, became less and less profitable. Rather than fix the problems and turn the unit around, they just sell it off for a quick shot in the 'short term profit' arm. Now, as they start to realize there isn't much more they can sell off, now it's time to dump the staff. Again, it will provide a positive, short term effect on Wall Street, but in the end, IBM will be nothing but a burnt out hulk of itself. Palmisano and co., will retire to their yachts and leave IBM to the poor, abused few who remain.

Dont blame Lean; Lean is a concept that can work if executed correctly. In the case of IBM, however, Lean is just another excuse to fire people. I guess they figured firing everyone under the CTO (Cost Take Out) banner would be politically incorrect, so they use Lean and claim they are doing this to improve the company. Its typical IBM right to left planning. Fire people first, and then try to figure out how to keep things working.

Global Services has a gross profit margin of 27% in 2006. For a services company that is pretty damn good. But if it wasnt good enough for Palmisano, he could have used Lean the way it was meant to be used to gradually improve things. But Palmisano isnt about doing things correctly that would take intelligence, creativity and patience. He knows he cant stay on as CEO forever, so he takes the easy way out.. sell off or fire the staff.

I have 30 years with IBM. For most of those years the experience has been nothing short of amazing. But these past 10 or so years has seen incompetence at the highest levels destroy what was once a great company. I can only cry for the loss. IBM is gone forever and that is very sad.

Mad as Hell | May 05, 2007 | 11:43AM

Globalization! Ever heard of it?
Your church will be on TV.
Every one will have to buy cheap disposable furniture and clothing because real quality merchandise is no longer manufactured ,All the great stores we grew up with are now owned by one group called a federation .They keep the name of the original stores to lure you in for their BIG Sales.We have been inundated by a flood of GREED and I don' think we can stop it.

BE Horan | May 05, 2007 | 11:48AM

It is sad that American workers have to endure this.

Is it possible to organize a mass IBM employee strike?

Only when there is a large group that will make this brave move will corporate America "wake up" and begin to give workers due respect.

DV | May 05, 2007 | 11:51AM

I started my career at IBM way back in the late 70's when it was a wonderful company and I considered myself very lucky to work there. I only stayed for 3 years but my husband has been with the company for 25 years and although he survived this week's actions I fear he won't make it through 2007.

I used to be so proud to be an American and work for a great American company (and I've worked for several - IBM, Xerox, Apple) but now I am so ashamed of businesses in this country.

Whenever possible I refuse to buy cheap products made overseas (almost impossible, I know!). I will no longer do business with Circuit City since they laid off long term workers and offered them jobs again at cheaper wages. Neither my husband nor I have IBM computer equipment (I know, it's now Lenovo!).

I vote at the ballot box and with my pocketbook. I suggest everyone do the same.

In the meantime, live below your means and plan for the worst. My husband and I do!

Sad and ashamed | May 05, 2007 | 12:03PM

I was a professional hire at IBM about 10 years ago. I was hired for my expertise in quality improvement. After 10 years of showing amazing results, giving briefings to countless managers and exec's, and a lot of hard work -- IBM has done nothing with my work. Its been like pounding my head on a wall.

In economic terms productivity improvement means getting more for less. This is a necessary part of a businesses evolution. IBM has never improved its internal productivity in Global Services and over the past 5 years we have started paying the price for it.

IBM's business model has been based on billable hours. When there are problems the answer is to throw more people at it. If IBM had been serious about productivity the company would have never ramped up to 300,000 workers, or less. If IBM had mastered quality improvement, we would be operating at about 150,000 workers. We would have lots of happy customers and more lining up. IBM could be charging a premium for its service -- as the quality of service and market demand would allow it. We would not be fearing the loss of 50,000 or more of our friends and coworkers.

Change is an important part of the life of a business. The laws of economics require change. It is not an option. IBM refused to change and the economic seismic forces started to build. The earthquake is about to hit and thousands of people will be hurt by the inaction of IBM's exec's.

Yes the quality of Global Services is getting pretty bad. Yes many people are probably being paid too much for lousy service. Please do not judge the workers at the bottom. They are not in a position to make decisions and their suggestions for improvements have been ignored for years. They, more than anyone else KNOW IBM has been screwing up and not they will be the ones that will pay for it. Put the blame where it belongs and if you are in a position to help a few soon to be unemployed IBM'ers, please do so.

Now some important advice... First, understand the people who caused IBM's problems will still be in power next year. EVERYONE: Sell your IBM stock. It is presently at a good high price. If you are a major investor of IBM, look at what has been happening over the last 5 years. IBM's exec's and board of directors should be feeling your displeasure. If you outsource your IT services, think seriously about insourcing. Let me tell you a secret -- a well run, well managed IT department can always provide its own services for less than IBM or one of its competitors. Good management is the key. Is IT important to your business? If there is a problem do you want it fixed fast? Do you think sending your support work overseas achieves either of these goals? If you work for IBM, think about your future. If you work in services, think seriously about getting out. There is no future for you. Sorry, but its the truth.

10years@IBM | May 05, 2007 | 12:09PM

ALL Ur IBM R bELoNG TO INDIA, CHINA, SOUTH AMERICA, !! THANX sAmMy 8^D !!

sammy fan | May 05, 2007 | 12:31PM

http://www.dauten.com/quotes.html
Why are CEO's who slash jobs so proud of themselves? Instead of bragging about "cutting fat," they ought to be getting up before their employees and saying, "We did such a lousy job of planning and hiring that we have more people than work. And we are so broke and so dim-witted that we can't come up with any way to get more work. So our only solution is to send a lot of good people home. I am ashamed and I am sorry."

Howard | May 05, 2007 | 12:57PM

Adding to what "10years@IBM" said, an IBM with 200,000 employees instead of 350,000 (but the same number of managers) will not be any better managed or more profitable than it is now. The problem is the high cost structure and poor execution which is a direct result of bad management and the bad systems they put in place (and an institutional inability to hear/implement requests for change). Everything else is a detail.

Fire the execs | May 05, 2007 | 1:03PM

Bear in mind that whenever a company says that the cost of the American worker is too high - this immediately gets translated into "people are paid to much".



The cost of a worker is the sum of many things - in the US this will include huge costs that are not seen in many other jurisdictions. The astronomical legal costs incurred through lawsuits or having to operate in a market with a completely failed patent system (just compare the ratio of engineers to lawyers in US based offices), government bureaucracy, compliance with onerous legislation, extreme reporting requirements and a number of similar factors drive up the cost / worker to levels not sustainable in a competitive marketplace.



I am currently working a job that was outsourced (I live abroad and work with - ironically enough - IBM products). My *total* cost (the total cost the company has to bear as a result of hiring me) is currently 18000 USD / month (all inclusive - including HR overhead, legal costs etc etc.)



The difference is that I get 75% of this in my pocket after all taxes have been paid (on both the employers and employee side).



I pay approx 80 USD / month for full medical coverage. This includes any medicines, hospital checkups or similar (in addition - the insurance also partially covers (80%) preventive measures. I get massage for free twice/year, discount on gym membership and a number of other benefits. An example: I just had an MRI and regular Xray done and it cost me 0$.



Why are you letting your US politicians make it so expensive to hire US based staff ? This is whats costing you your jobs!



Another intresting sidenote; 2 years ago - I was offered a regular java developer position in Bangalore. They were willing to pay me 25 USD / hour NET. This is pretty nice in a low cost country. Its enough to have a cook, driver, cleaner and a nice house. How many US based programmers would be able to take a regular (not senior) position and have this lifestyle as a result?



I'm guessing: not many.



You (as voting citizens) created this situation. If you dont fix it - be prepared to starve.



Oh - and I completely agree with Cringely on this one: this will be a disaster in 2-3 years time.
What they should have done is to focus on trying to get american engineers to move with the company. This way, at least they are given a choice (and reduces the problems associated with relocating business from the US while maintaining or improving the ability to serve the US marketplace). Even though US citizens appears to be regarded by the US government as "US Property" (since they have to keep paying tax to the US even after they emigrate), they would most likely improve their standard of living as a result of moving to other jurisdictions. It happened to me and countless colleagues.

x | May 05, 2007 | 1:11PM

Interesting read...

Steven Burda, MBA

Steven Burda, MBA | May 05, 2007 | 1:19PM

I work for IBM Canada, and LEAN is very active and in full swing up here too. This week I discovered several friends and co-workers got axed. Gone.. without a word, even their bluepages records were hastily removed.

IBM US and IBM Canada are tightly connected, and it should be no surprise to our American colleagues that what happens in IBMUS usually has a mirror image in Canada.

I used to be very proud of working for this company, but those feelings have gone mostly down the toilet ever since Gerstner left and all this offshore outsourcing started happening. I used to get all my friends/family to purchase IBM computers, but I slowly stopped doing that after Lenovo came in. Now with this LEAN nonsense, *never* again will I refer someone to buy an IBM.

Another IBMer | May 05, 2007 | 1:30PM

I feel a case of 'blue flu'

Please join and call in sick May 25th to protest!!! If you can not call in sick do as little as possible for the day.

LeanMyAss | May 05, 2007 | 1:33PM

I remember when I was living in the Mid-Hudson Valley in the '70's, IBM was part of people's identity back then. Wow, we've really gone down hill!

John Megna | May 05, 2007 | 1:38PM

The author correctly pointed out that low cost of the H1 and other "guest" visa holders was the main driver for US companies in replacing the US born workers with the foreigners.
I also want to point out that it's docility of the aforementioned foreign workforce that US companies (especially IT) like.
I came to the US 10 years ago as a LEGAL resident and worked for two of the Big4 IT consulting companies. The abuse of my fellow Indian co-workers by their American superiors is appalling. Besides, on average, the quality of the IT workers imported to the US is LOW! Not to offend anybody, but we can find plenty of same quality IT specialists here. So it’s low cost and complete obedience rather than technical prowess makes foreign workers “better”.

ecnalab | May 05, 2007 | 1:46PM

A couple things I'm not following...

1. Where are these numbers coming from? IBM doesn't have 150,000 US based global services people to lay off.

2. According to many of the posters, if IBM sucks and the people that make it suck are US based, why wouldn't shifting that suckiness overseas for less cost improve IBM?

anon | May 05, 2007 | 1:46PM

what ar wrong wit work i do fo IBM? i test progam gooot! i ansir fone goot! i do help call sentr goooot! you amerian lazy no put down me!!
i tink i sometim no unterstant teh direxion boot i tri me best !! we kik you boot!!


IBM exec unterstant me goot an lik me goot!!!! dat why i tak IBM job form menee amerian!!! i want be IBM exec sumdae.

offshoor teeem rok you | May 05, 2007 | 1:48PM

REPOST
The author correctly pointed out that low cost of the H1 and other "guest" visa holders was the main driver for US companies in replacing the US born workers with the foreigners.
I also want to point out that it's docility of the aforementioned foreign workforce that US companies (especially IT) like.
I came to the US 10 years ago as a LEGAL resident and worked for two of the Big4 IT consulting companies. The abuse of my fellow Indian co-workers by their American superiors is appalling. Besides, on average, the quality of the IT workers imported to the US is LOW! Not to offend anybody, but we can find plenty of same quality IT specialists here. So it is low cost and complete obedience rather than technical prowess makes foreign workers (quotes) better .

ecnalab | May 05, 2007 | 1:48PM

I joined IBM as an supplemental long term employee a year ago and for the account that I worked on, I have to admit that if they have the right people to do it, only a third of the current number of people are needed. I am leaving them because I have to do others job(because they don't know how to do it) and I was paid less.

Dave | May 05, 2007 | 2:11PM

I was associated with an IBM business partner ages back, and so do not comment as a true IBMer on this board or string. But I have seen outsourcing in two horrific instances destroy information tech service and support. All for the mantra of SHAREHOLDER VALUE and, of course, CHEAPER.FASTER.BETTER.

YOU DO NOT GET CHEAPER-FASTER-BETTER. And Aon, the firm I worked for and outsourced out of in 2005, does not have any of those three conditions met.

But another firm, First Consulting Group, is a true horror. It's support of Continuum Health Partners (NYC Hospitals) has put patients LIVES at real risk. I worked for them for 8 months and saw machines stolen, machines infected by malware, porn and virus, patient data unavailable and when YOU are in the bed, wired up with monitors and out cold, you do not want your doctor looking at bad data or, worse, cannot get to YOUR DATA.

But, nobody cares. It's all share price and cheaper, faster, better.

W. Edwards Deming would be ashamed too.

Some have mentioned that IBM of Watson, a different time era. I remember one of the three laws of the place.

Go the extra mile to the do the thing right.
or spend alot of time making the customer happy.

If you do that - you have a sound business.
OUTSOURCING to Bangalore does not perform.

But, just do it CHEAPER,FASTER,BETTER, and cut those expenses, fire AMERICAN workers for H1B via types, and Bangalore techs at $6 per hour and, gee, ain't that great.

No longer proud of my career field.

Bob E. | May 05, 2007 | 2:27PM

It's not as if they will lay-off everyone on the same day. They don't do that because they would have to pay more compensation to the former employees.
IBM has been actively hiring in India for quite some time now, With regional offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Gurgaon. and smaller offices in other cities. They also have major sites in Bangalore and Pune and now have an IBM research center in Delhi. The plan is to close at least one of its US based research facilities by 2010. They would never admit that because IBM research is considered the best of the best and beyond reproach.
Look for IBM to keep up the trend of taking over established IT companies that are operating in India. There is no shortage of stories on this subject on the Web, but I must thank Mr Cringely for his insights, as usual they are right on target. Much thanks and I look forward to more on the subject. One can't help but wonder that will happen to the Economy of the United States after IBM and other companies send so many jobs overseas. I wonder what effect massive unemployment will have on the stock price... I wonder if IBM will trade on the National Stock Exchange of India or the sentimental favorite, The Bombay Stock Exchange. I guess we will just have to wait... I just wonder how long....

Fred H. | May 05, 2007 | 2:50PM

Indian Business Machines



There was a time when IBM was jokingly referred to as I've Been Moved now IBM stands for Indian Business Machines

Fred H. | May 05, 2007 | 2:58PM

This is a direct result of IBM's acquisition of Price Waterhouse Coopers in 2003. I worked in Global Services before and after PWC was brought in and I can safely say that the management styles and overall quality of work did not mesh with the environment already in place. I'm not sure if it should be 40%, but there is a lot of dead weight that needs to be cut.

Chris | May 05, 2007 | 3:01PM

Yeah, I went through that round of lay-offs back in 2002, some 15,000 in Australia where I was. Everyone knew it was happening, but no-one knew what was happening, it was all kept very quiet. You'd pick up the phone to ask a question of someone, and discover they were gone. Then the guy at the desk next to you would be called into a meeting and would never return. I swear, it felt like Soviet Russia at times.

GS was fat, very fat, and could easily be trimmed, but that's how they made money back then by over-staffing and over-billing. But the way they treated people has forever left a foul taste in my mouth. I was 1 of 5 left standing of 200 originally in my department, I was the only person left to support my particular system. I realised that I was never going to get redundancy, so I walked before the stress level killed me. It's not like I was getting the training or leave I was entitled to, it just wasn't worth it. Still, those 3 letters look good on the CV...

John.

Odysseus | May 05, 2007 | 3:15PM

Bring Back the Soup Lines...

Bessie McNulty | May 05, 2007 | 3:24PM

Here's my message to everyone who read this far (probably a lot of IBMers among you) --

I stuck through difficult years in a certain software division that went through this long ago (after the bust).

The survivors ultimately envy the dead. If you want to keep your mental health, don't stick around to pick up the slack for the other 50% that's cut. And don't drive yourself mad with twice-weekly phone calls (early morning and late evening) to keep all your resources in Asia, India and Poland synced, while clueless middle managers demand varieties of different spreadsheets from you every week). Go somewhere you'll be happy -- so that IBM can finally learn the folly of its ways.

Aaron | May 05, 2007 | 3:28PM

If you've been laid off, from IBM or anywhere else, I'm truly sorry. You're entitled to your own little pity party for awhile.

That said, however, here are your next steps. Stop whining. Suck it up. Get on with the next phase of your life. Your kids will respect you. Your significant other will find you easier to live with. And your dog won't hide when you come home. Whatever rough road you're on now can lead someplace much better.

You're not the first and won't be the last person in this position. Blaming managers, executives, foreigners, politics, or economics is a waste of time. Sharpen your skills. Press your pants. Comb your hair. Smile a little. And be smarter about your next career move.

I've been laid off myself, and four out five times things got much better, not worse, because attitude matters.

XD5 | May 05, 2007 | 3:46PM

The notion of IBM laying 150,000 employees in the US is ridiculous. Most of IBM's IGS employees are contract employees so they make money in any case. If IBM were to lay off that many employees they would be going under.

But with over 350,000 employees there is a lot of bureaucracy in IBM like many corporations. IBM is forced to shift some employees oversees to remain competitive.

Randall Shimizu | May 05, 2007 | 3:57PM

There is one truism I've come to count on when dealing with humans. That being that we are terrible at managing moderation. We always let the pendulum swing too far in either direction.

The older generation of corporate America is dealing with this fact right now. Too many employees doing menial jobs that could be easily automated.

I used to work for a seed company that was the leader in their field in the late 80's and early 90's. They made a ton of money, but got fat and lazy and are now in the process of being surpassed by a competitor that was barely a blip on their radar back in the day. In the late 80's and early 90's that competitor was in the process of investing heavily in this new technology referred to now as biotechnology.

In many ways IBM and my former employer have much in common. IBM made a ton of money in the 80s off of the PC. They rested on their laurels and didn't address their own limiting ingrained bureaucracy. In the meantime, technology marched on brining the internet, linux based server farms, linux based clusters and so on.

The other complicating and contributing factor to downsizing and outsourcing that no one wants to talk about is government. Governmental regulation, taxation and so forth is a mine field just waiting to ensnare all. Employees nowadays are just as much a liability as an asset. Ever notice how many Human Resource management service businesses there are nowadays? Employing people is a complicated and risky endeavor. Sending jobs overseas where labor is cheaper with fewer HR and liability headaches can be very attractive to a science/technology/engineer minded boss/manager.

If people really want to address the corporate layoff issue, they need to start at the governmental level. Outlaw employer provided pensions, life insurance, health insurance, etc. Force people to shop for the best deal on these and let the businesses focus on the business of making money.

drewby | May 05, 2007 | 4:01PM

After reading some of the previous comments
"Whenever possible I refuse to buy cheap products made overseas" and even being joked about the immigration problem
"(which is a bit like being deported, only you don't have to leave the country)"
I have to say that this is a very good lesson to all of you Americans.
IBM move is nothing compared to what will happen if you all refuse to wake up from reality. Globalization is not only about your product getting to me, it's me getting back to you as well. Both sides have to win.

Jean Franco | May 05, 2007 | 4:11PM

I work for IBM Canada. Our local AS branch is actually hiring. We increased our staff by 10% last Q and will increase it again this Q. Haven't seen any layoffs. No layoffs on the horizon here!

bek816 | May 05, 2007 | 4:40PM

I'm not an economist or a financial expert. I am simply the spouse of a techie who has been directly impacted by outsourcing and repeated job loss since 2002, including this most recent cut contract with IBM Global Services. We have fought to survive by making repeated moves (without kids) across the country for high paying short-term contracts. These moves have come with great emotional and physical stress but we are literally in survival mode. If we had children, we would not be able to do this.

I have no answers, just questions. How, as a nation, can we survive this new global economy if we continualy outsource just about every aspect of our lives to emerging third world countries as well as huge powerhouses like India, China and Brazil (IBM is outsourcing to Brazil now), all of which are reproducing at a higher rate than we are? Is this simply a small "blip" in world history, a minor tweaking of world economies that we have been caught in, to our financial detriment? Will there be "corrections" for the next generations to come? And what will they do for a living? I'm too terrified to consider what we are going to do as we hit our 50's and 60's.

These are the big questions that I pose to those of you who think that a job loss of 150,000 from just one single company (and I know there are many more like Citibank on the horizon) is not such a big deal.

diane | May 05, 2007 | 4:42PM

I was so fed up with IBM (after only two years there) that I quit earlier this year without having another job. I can echo almost every complaint in comments above: 12-hour workday expectations, imbeciles running 3-hour conference calls, management's deafness and indifference. And as an employee working on IBM's offshoring efforts, I can assure you that while it might cost 1/2 of onshore labor, the same work takes at least twice as long due to various reasons. Miscommunications & language differences, time zones (India's labor market is so hot that they can't hire people to work nights, at least for the projects I worked on), insufficient information, and a severe amount of workforce turnover and retraining (again, due to the fact that offshore employees can resign and have a dozen job offers that same afternoon). The result? What would be a 5-minute onshore task became a 24-to-36-hour turnaround for offshore. And that's if they both understood what you wanted and did it right. Since our offshore employees don't talk with our customers, guess who took the heat for incompetent and slow execution?

IBM had the most insular and untrained management I've ever experienced. The physical locations of the varying levels of management only made it worse: I work on the west coast, my manager worked in Canada, his manager across the country, and his manager in South America. To me, IBM's vision of a "global workplace" was a major contributing factor to its management problems. Information just doesn't move around.

I chose unemployment over IBM... and I can say without a doubt it was the best decision I could have made for my mental and physical health, not to mention my career. My life since leaving IBM has been a breath of fresh air. You have no idea the weight it puts on your back until it is gone. If you are unhappy there, or you get laid off, you might be unprepared for how much your life improves. I was.

Another Ex-IBMer | May 05, 2007 | 4:49PM

I think if we step back and look around we'll see that the US has experienced huge growth and enjoyed a really nice standard of living compared to the rest of the world. Let's face, not every home needs a 52" plasma big screen :) but of course we all want to have one. I think what we're seeing is that in many instances our innovation and output does not exceed what the rest of the world can do and we're now seeing a leveling of the playing field. The US standard of living will no longer outpace the rest of the world because the technology we made so excellent is now offered with a full tank of gas like calculators were in the 80's. How much is a PC and access to the 'net really cost. So now the rest of the world CAN participate and there are fewer barriers to entry if one wants to.

Business' run on profit and loss and with the expanding pool of skilled labor at lower prices it will continue to bring pressure to bear on US salaries until a new equilibrium is achieved.

If the US wants to be relevant in the next wave of technology it will need to be innovative and lead the way. IBM probably suffers from a large labor force that sees their paycheck as their due and are not innovating as fast.

I don't mean to be pessimistic but rather pragmatic. We (yup, I live and work in the US and am a natural born citizen) CAN be relevant but we need to keep up the ideas and help to lead the way and not rest on our laurels.

πρακτικόσ | May 05, 2007 | 5:03PM

I left IBM Global Services 5 weeks ago. I was part of the LEAN project. I wasn't losing my job. But with the lack of professional that IBM treated the employess and the customer was to much for me to take.

I just heard that 4 of my co-workers (25% of the team) were given a 30 day notice this past week. During the LEAN phase/training I was in 2 months ago, our 2nd line manager told one of the staff that she should look for a new job as it was IBM's goal to outsource 80% of our work.

I agree with all of this article except LEAN didn't start last week, inital planning started 7 months ago and phase 4 of Lean started about 3 weeks ago.
It's pretty pathetic what this country is coming to. Senior Management will do anything to justify their outrageous salaries and bonuses. Unfortunately, this just doesn't relate to IBM.

Robi | May 05, 2007 | 5:11PM

I'll repeat this gentlemen's post and just add: welcome to corporate America. This is how it's been done for generations here. I had the exact same experience working for Bank of America in 1985-1987. They ALL do it this way. Look at Microsoft and Vista for more proof.


"IBM managment's problem starts with the fact that even at the lowest level, managers understand *nothing* (technically) about the projects they "manage". They usually have either completely non-technical backgrounds or backgrounds which while technical are in completely different fields. They are unable to understand if/why something is easy/hard, short/long to do, why it is important or not, what technical relationship it has to other products, what the implications of a certain decision are at a real (technical) level. And this is at the 1st-level manager rank. It gets rapidly worse in the higher ranks as managers become less technical. This has been somewhat true for a long time, but in 2002-3 it seemed to rapidly accelerate. Managers also have no contact with their people to speak of. They are completely disconnected from the day-to-day work of their people or the people themselves (they are often remote or sit in a different building), rarely seeing their people. Managers are just paper-pushers who implement the (often bad and short-sighted) policies that come down from above. Despite this, the company is *full* of extemely talented and knowledgeable workers (for the most part). So all hope is not lost, but their salvation would have to start with a radical change in management at all levels. And who would have to decide this? ... management."

Richard Steven Hack | May 05, 2007 | 5:32PM

Richard Hack has almost hit the nail on the head. The problem is related to the fact that shareholders feel that bringing in money managers at the highest levels will ensure income growth and maintain share prices. These then make sure that their senior colleagues think the same way, slowly pushing out the people that know why the products are the way the are and that understand the need for structured innovation.

This lack of strategic innovation then leads to a paucity of profitable new products that forces the same management to cut costs in order to maintain profits, and that means getting rid of people and reducing services that after all are the main way for the market to converse with its suppliers; this reduction in two-way communication is deadly for useful innovation. To put it in a nutshell: fewer and fewer people in large corporations know why customers are actually buying their products and more and more believe it's only the price that decides!

Ken Harris | May 05, 2007 | 6:36PM

The $100,000 Luncheon - Scene 1: After the feast Sam P. steps up to the podium and makes his speech.


Sam P: ‘Glorious Lunch presentation guys……Magic, Martinis and Mario deserve a big MDQ kudos’ Sam sips on IBM’s signature martini "Big Blue Balls"

Execs: Thunderous applause….

Sam P: ‘The Lou Dobbs image in my toast was thoughtful and the JonBenet Tart was heavenly- but lets get on to some serious business. Some
people might want to view me as arrogant as we dine while IBM takes on our lean initiative- I would like to remind those folks – that if you take the words Right Time, Right Skills and Right price - and add and subtract a bunch of letters it reads Global Economy’

EXECS: Applause

Sam P:‘Let me put your minds at ease – Lean will not impact your jobs or family while you are on this earth’


EXECS: Standing ovation


Sam P:‘I would be irresponsible in my duties if I neglected to take advantage of the Third World. How many times in a mans life does he actually have a chance to be revered like a cow, rat or curry? I want the Tontos to call me Kemosabe'


Exec: Standing ovation


Sam P: 'Now if you could all look under your seats and pull out the mahogany deadwood plaques you have been awarded'


Execs: Excited murmurs throughout and a chant - Kemosabe….Kemosabe

Paul E | May 05, 2007 | 6:49PM

I think this is just really a start of massive lay-offs and outsourcing of jobs. After the 17.000 of City Bank, many more will follow. This together with the increased deficit, extreme overseas costs of the army, ... You can wonder what will the state of the US in a few years time.

Maybe of interest: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2007/05/layoff-plans-soar.html

Harry | May 05, 2007 | 6:51PM

I worked for IBM Global Services for about 5 years and I regret every minute of it. I left a few years ago because I realized that things were starting to get pretty bad. I remember part of out dept. lost their jobs (about 10 people) because someone realized that the jobs could be filled by IBM Global Services Canada for less money. Then about 4 years later those very same jobs were sent to India. For what ever reason, we seemed to think that was funny. I wonder where those 10 jobs will be filled the next time around. After India has a large skill base and the salaries go higher, some of those jobs are likely to come back to the US.

FPJ | May 05, 2007 | 6:53PM

Bring me the head of Sam Palmisano!

Margaret | May 05, 2007 | 6:56PM

In response to Richard's point. It may be that all corp's are like that to some degree and many are to a large degree.

The point is though that something changed recently (2003) at IBM to make it more dysfunctional. People are upset (i think), not only because their livelyhood is being threatened, but because a perfectly good company is being seemingly deliberately managed into the ground before our very eyes. Management is deliberately making worse choices now than they were in 2001. This is why people are *so* angry. We all understand global economic forces, but those are like the weather, we can't do anything about it (well not much, not quickly). But this relatively recent change for the worse seems calculated or due to criminal stupidity which the directors should remedy asap. If it was so easy to bring in worse managers and policies, why can't better ones be brought in almost as quickly.

My managers were local and technical (or used to be) in my field until late 2002. Then there was a big reorg and all managers in my 3-line org were replaced with technically clueless and mostly remote managers. Then came the layoffs every 6-12 months, then more really bad high-level decisions, then yearly reorgs and manager changes. These are new changes.


T, | May 05, 2007 | 7:16PM

"This is exactly the kind of story Wall Street loves to hear. "

There are plenty of studies that conclude that this is not, in fact, the case; that the price of shares does not rise more than would be expected from background events, that in fact it falls, following news of layoffs. You could, if you are a hardliner, claim that the price would have fallen even more in the absence of layoffs, but that still does not validate the statement "Wall Street *loves* to hear".

So we can conclude either that IBM management are ignorant idiots with no more knowledge of these facts than Cringely, who think they can fool the share-buying population; or alternatively we can conclude that their backs are to the wall and that they believe that, gory as these cuts may be (including lowering share price) they have no alternative.
I don't know enough about IBM today, or its general business climate to choose between these two, but I see no reason to posit the first.

A more valid line of attack than "they just want to boost the share price", IMHO, would be to present a REALISTIC alternative plan. Maybe such a plan exists, and a Lou Gerstner or a Steve Jobs could come up with an implement it.
Or maybe they are just in the same problematic place that the rest of America is going to be over the next twenty years --- born to the purple and now forced to work live everyone else.

America had a heck of a run after WW2; 4% of the world's population enjoying 25% of the world's resources, but all good things come to an end and pretending that this is all some evil conspiracy by IBM top management is not a useful way to approach the problem. If you don't think that brown-skinned Indians and yellow-skinned Chinese deserve a chance at prosperity, just say so outright rather than wasting our time with this nonsense.
"nobody at IBM I have talked to thinks..."
And you talked to whom at IBM? How many people from IBM India or China?

Maynard Handley | May 05, 2007 | 7:35PM

Here's my prediction: Unless they all get together and not take any united action, they will all lose their jobs by the middle of 2008 and their families will suffer financial trouble for years. Some Senior mgt. will leave the company in two years with lots of money. Palmisano will be replaced and will take with him millions of dollars in benefits/stocks/pension/etc. And all this will be forgotten as if it never happened. I've been there before with a couple of big companies, and I am 500% sure this will happen.

matt | May 05, 2007 | 7:41PM

Maynard should stop trying to turn this into a racial issue. Globalism is hurting brown and black skinned Americans way worse than whites. I'm third generation IT and the granddaughter of an IBM Quarter Century club member. We are being robbed of professions we created, and yes we are more entitled to do the work that pertains to our own society and economy than are opportunistic foreigners. Let them stop basing their dreams on taking work from other countries, as if they were running some sort of laundry service, and build up for their internal needs. Surely there is data to be processed in India - other than ours, I mean.

Babs | May 05, 2007 | 7:46PM

IBM's plight makes me sad and angry. It is a matter of being competitive in the world market place. My project teams at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have produced high quality software, with less than 1.0 Failures Per Line Of Code, at cost of $9.65 Per Line Of Code, for NASA and DOD systems, mainly for spacecraft in our mission orientation of exploring space. By comparison, our studies indicate that American Industry (Software and Computer Science) produces the identical software at an average of $800.00 Per Line Of Code (I'm quite aware the resentment, people in academia who deal in the theoretical realm of computer science have at counting lines of code). The above figure I'm told is a low figure.
My latest system was the Telemetry, Command, Communications, User Interface and Ground Support Equipment for the Jason 1 Spacecraft. It comprises 978,000 LOC, and the total cost for the job, including all costs (salaries, perdiem, travel, facilities, computer software tools off the shelve and other COTS, telephones, heating, and air conditioning) $9.65 per LOC with a failure rate of 0.56 FP 1000 LOC. The spacecraft systems preceding Jason, was TOPEX-Poseidon, with equal development performance.
The list goes on, and on. It is therefore not that young American software professionals cannot outperform the rest of the world.
It is a high level executive management problem, and a lack of leadership. Our American model of Leadership is seriously flawed. My staff asked me for years to write down how we as a team were able to achieve such super performance, while others can't. I did this in my book The Cognitive Dynamics of Computer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Inc.
In my 25 years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I have found that cost is affected by many factors. The factors include the fatally imortant issue of the Manager being the Architect of the System being built, as well as a great teacher to his staff. This means definitely that it includes superb systems engineering skills, the ability to organize the staff, to communicate effectively in technical English, the use of engineers as technical writers and understanding the application of software development standards like MIL-498, DOD-2167A and so on.
Our software professionals are the best in the world. However if the corporate managers want to send the work of our young and not so young Americans to other countries: then there is little we can do about it. The greatest disappointment I have is that these corporate mangers have no confidence in our work force, be it technical or blue color.
Respectfully.
Mike de Gyurky.

Szabolcs Michael de Gyurky | May 05, 2007 | 8:01PM

Babs, excellent points and well said! ^^^^^

Another IBMer | May 05, 2007 | 8:06PM

There are so many code words or phrases in abriviations of corp names, Such as, Si b.s. or I bm. ha,ha the mouth must keep feeding, selcting only most delicious morsals.

Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.

THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK | May 05, 2007 | 8:08PM

Indian Business Machines (IBM) The pension fund has something like 60 billion dollars in it and when the pension plan closes (paid off at pennies on the dollar) IBM gets the 60 billion dollars. Boy are IBM employees stupid.

Ed | May 05, 2007 | 8:33PM

Yeaa, well i think it is verry stupid for IBM to do this to all these familys. This is A LOT of people they are dealing with here. And now they all have to find new jobs and stuff.

daughter of an IBMer | May 05, 2007 | 8:53PM

If you want to run a company like Mao ran China, then this plan will work, just like the Cultural Revolution worked (30 million dead). It will be 20 years before the failure is absolutely evident. No one in management will accept responsibilty. It will be blamed upon the environment and upon the lazy workers. And IBM's Mao's will live well until their end.

surfingsite | May 05, 2007 | 9:19PM

If you want to run a company like Mao ran China, then this plan will work, just like the Cultural Revolution worked (30 million dead). It will be 20 years before the failure is absolutely evident. No one in management will accept responsibilty. It will be blamed upon the environment and upon the lazy workers. And IBM's Mao's will live well until their end.

surfingsite | May 05, 2007 | 9:20PM

FYI - I once worked for IBM prestige's z/OS Tech Support area, at least until I determined 14 to 16 hour days were REQUIRED, just to keep up with workloads, and very few complained about it. I didn't understand and/or agree with this unwritten policy, so I QUIT and found another job! That's my advice to all you (on the fringe) IBMers, before it's too late!

BTW - A close IBM z/OS System Programmer pal of mine told me one of the IBM Lean managers had a massive heart attack and passed away, the very first day of IBM's, "New Lean Initiative Training" session in Atlanta. At the end of the second week, another middle level manager, driving the "Lean Initiative", quit and walked out! Surprise, Surprise!!!

India's Business Machine | May 05, 2007 | 9:57PM

IBM simply moves from the edge to the center of the world.

Kurbla | May 05, 2007 | 10:03PM

Worked for a multi-national blue-chip firm for 16 years and eventually left completely disgusted. Experienced the in-efficiency of outsouring in terms of quality and cost both. Wondered why the hell there's so much fan-fare about out-sourcing and still they don't outsource more then they have. Understood that outsourcing is like "Inflation Index". Both, inflation index (currently at lower than 3%) and out-sourcing is nothing but a way to keep the salaries lower ( anyone knows of getting more than 5% raise like old times?)..

N J Khan | May 05, 2007 | 10:04PM

Worked for a multi-national blue-chip firm for 16 years and eventually left completely disgusted. Experienced the in-efficiency of outsouring in terms of quality and cost both. Wondered why the hell there's so much fan-fare about out-sourcing and still they don't outsource more then they have. Understood that outsourcing is like "Inflation Index". Both, inflation index (currently at lower than 3%) and out-sourcing is nothing but a way to keep the salaries lower ( anyone knows of getting more than 5% raise like old times?)..

N J Khan | May 05, 2007 | 10:05PM

Yes, Center of the THIRD WORLD from the edge of the crumbling FIRST WORLD! Serves us ALL right, huh!?!? 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (plus UNTOUCHABLES?) ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 05, 2007 | 10:06PM

Apart from making themselves more competitive when bidding for work, another goal of offshoring is to improve their margin. Does IBM (and all the other companies out there doing this) think that existing customers are so stupid that at contract renewal time, they wont bargain even harder than before? Any CEO or CFO of an IBM customer who allows IBM to make 30% margin or greater (this is a stated IBM goal) is not worth the paper his or her MBA is printed on.

David (Melbourne, Australia)

David | May 05, 2007 | 10:19PM

IBM's CUSTOMERS need to stand up for acceptable service. Many of the "moves" to offshore locations are for BASIC service and spotty at best. If IBM's customer will apply presure for qualtiy service then some of these cuts may slow down.

someone | May 05, 2007 | 10:22PM

this is just a short term fix.
but when the biggest market.. the U.S. can't afford to buy their products because nobody has a job...

then the U.S. economy will crash.

and i'm ... a CEO.

wake up America.

stopshortermgains | May 05, 2007 | 10:57PM

I wonder how IBM will comply with the Davis Bacon Act which requires the use of US citizens on US Government funded projects. Nearly all large IBM customers themselves are subject to the Davis Bacon Act and for many of them like Boeing, Lockheed Martin the entire DOE National Labs the IBM employees working at those sites must be employees and not contract employees under the National Security Act of 1947. This also includes work for state governments since they get block grants, local governments and schools and universities.If the project is funded with federal funds you can't send the work abroad. That is what federal contracting officers are for and their job is to make sure you obey. I worked as an attorney for Tenneco Inc back in the late 70's and early 80's and I was always amazed how owning New Port News Ship Yard could come back and bite management in unrelated matters because we were a large government contractor. Some one should ask the execs at IBM how long they intend to be employed at IBM if they don't honor the National Security Act of 1947, Davis Bacon and about 50 other federal contracting statutes when the majority of US corporations will force them to comply as a subcontractor in the flow down provisions. There are very large fines for not doing so and possible jail time for the execs.

ED | May 05, 2007 | 11:01PM

enough on this topic-what's ironic is that the salaries of the US teams are so much higher than many of the people who have jobs outside of IT in the US. Many make in the neighborhood of what doctors make and do it with much less of a college degree. Needless to say, IT staff have made their fortunes due to the last 15 years being the hey day for IT. I'm not a manager, I got into this job to make money-much more than my previous jobs-I've saved well and for a rainy day-it's terrible that we live in a society that justifies these complaints while still living well outside what most people in the world can ever hope to achieve. If the jobs move out, shame on each of you-your greed is just as much to blame as the executives. Luckily, I can always revert back to making less and humbly accept that-I do believe IBM is moving in the right direction and reducing staff and cutting out activities that add no value to their clients. I don't believe it's going to be as drastic as stated in this column and it sure seems that too many people have too high of an opinion of themselves and that they deserve more than any company can give them. If IBM is reducing it's staff, it's because they are getting out of activities that were created to justify too many jobs. I suspect that they are working to become more competetive-if you ask their customers, they are pretty expensive -maybe this will allow them to become more attractive to more companies and if LEAN does what I've read it does-the customer will win. I certainly buy Toyota products for the quality and their competetive price-if IBM is striving to be like Toyota-more power to them.

probly unpopular | May 06, 2007 | 12:00AM

I work for IBM and all I can say is that actions being taken immediately on my 'in the trenches' team perfectly confirm this. I work for ITG/IGS and am a 6-year, 1 (hightest) rated performer with $75k salary in the middle of training IBM India people to do my and others' jobs, presumably to allow us to move 'on to other, better' opportunities within the company, sounds like a line from a bad spoof on a soilent-green movie to me.

I can't believe how corporate America is really biting on this. If they saw what I see doing the everyday work with all the logistical and other problems making this happen, they would understand. But frankly, as usual, the decision makers don't care until it hits them in the pocket, which I agree will happen and be very painful. Gone are the days of corporate integrity, even from one of the true pioneers of the concept. IBM's blue is bleeding red and when you mix the two you get a very ugly color near black like IBM's dying corporate heart.

It is tragically funny watching IBM's stock just soar. If only people saw the REAL IBM as I do. In time they will. Honestly I still am keeping hope the big blue monster will wake up and see it is gnawing it's own leg off.

An IBMer | May 06, 2007 | 12:20AM

I figured this was coming. They did this the last time they cut everyone in Tucson except for 700+ employees. In 1993, the Site General Manager got up on the stage in the Tucson IBM Cafeteria and told us that no one in Tucson would be laid off.. Two weeks after that announcement, the first group were laid off and each of us was given the work of a person who was laid off, in addition to our own job (work of 2 people). A month or so later, another 300+ were laid off and then we got the work of 2 people who were laid off, plus our own work to do. I got cut in the third layoff ... by the time they finished in 1995 or 1996, of the 5500-some employees in Tucson, there were under 800 regular employees left... and Gerstner, the guy who was then where Palmisano is now, and others like him skated off with their huge, fat paychecks, stock options, retirement benefits, and so forth.

Marla K Morton | May 06, 2007 | 12:22AM

So, it's clear Mr. probly unpopular (sic), cannot tell true IT quality from in the dirt excrement! Apparently, he's never ever met and/or endured an IBM Certified z/OS DB2 Expert Indian out-tasker from Bangalore (possessing 14 MONTHS zDB2 system experience)! There lies the problem - it's cheap but the quality STINKS - like limburger / swiss cheese (a.k.a., Microsoft Software - reeks and full of holes!) ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 12:30AM

ED - does the Davis Bacon Act apply to telecommunication companies such as AT&T, that recently won a large chunk of the 10-year, 20 billion $$ federal contract, even though they outsource a huge chunk of their IT systems (yes, even security/critical ones) overseas?

intheknow | May 06, 2007 | 12:30AM

The problem with the IBM layoffs (LEAN in IBM Global Services) is they don't correspond to the needs of the customer. The layoffs are on top of layoffs on top of more layoffs. Our department has already had two layoffs this year. Not to mention the additional layoffs over the last two years. At some point, there is insufficient staff to do the work. And who suffers? The customer suffers. The stockholder gets a short term bump, but without good customer service, the bump is blip, followed by a stock drop.

Jacob Drock | May 06, 2007 | 12:34AM

I think this whole issue is way overblown. Over the past 5 years IBM has acquired a bunch of US companies. When IBM bought PWC they added 30,000 employees. Over the past 2 years they acquired ISS, Pure Edge, and Filenet. So after all this people acting as if a 1,500 employee is such a big thing for IBM...!!

There will probably be a major restructuring, but it will probably come no where close to 150,000 US employees.

Outsourcing is inevitable, but one has to remember that economies such as China & India will need IT people for their own economies. We are already seeing work migrating out of these countries due to inflation. The challenged for the US is to find more effective and efficent ways of educating our youth. Today students are forced to learn more info then info. The problem however is that most people learn visually. The other issue is to help students learn better cognitive thinking skills.

Randall Shimizu | May 06, 2007 | 12:38AM

Regarding handwringing about big corporations, here are some statistics to keep in mind:
Over 99% of US companies each have fewer than 500 employees.
The largest US companies (over 10,000 employees apiece) account for only about 25% of total employment.
Source: http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/smallbus.html

XD5 | May 06, 2007 | 12:45AM

As long as we (the few left) are willing to put in the 70 hour week, as long as we are willing to fix everything broken overseas, and let them get all the credit, and as long as we keep accepting all the blame for overseas inadequacies, nothing will change, it will only continue to get worse. First 40 hour weeks were replaced by 50, then 50 by 60, then 60 by 70, then 70 by unemployment.
Tell me, all of us working round the clock, just where is it getting us? Raises? Bonuses? Recognition? More secure employment? HA!!!

I've always been willing in the past to do whatever it took, go the extra mile, have professional pride in my work, but I am frankly embarrassed to admit I work for such an unethical company as IBM.

Let it sink or swim on its own. If the work coming back from overseas is a piece of crap, even though they claim it has tested out thoroughly 100%, then so be it. I'll put faith in their honesty and integrity (yep). After all, IBM upper management does, who am I to question their decisions? They're the smart ones, not me!

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 1:02AM

My husband worked for a IBM up until a few months ago, and I am so glad he is out of there now. He was over worked and under paid, and he new that LEAN was on the horizon. He was tired of going to the client with out good explanation to why their goals were not being met. I feel sorry for all the businesses that will be affected by this change, but the big wigs at IBM don't care they never have cared, unless it was a problem that affected their paycheck and bottom line. Shame on all of the golf playing, jet setting SOB's that run the company, for sticking it to the hard working techies at IBM.

Patty R. | May 06, 2007 | 1:14AM

Dear Fedup: If you feel that way, then do like I did: Quit India's Business Machine and go find a similar IT job somewhere else. Don't get me wrong, you'll still have to put up with out-taskers, but I have found, my opinion does matter, here in NON-IBM land. My IT management believes me when I review off-shore resumes and report they are LIGHT-WEIGHTS pretending to be HEAVY HITTERS! They do know all the buzz words, so it's up to us to point it out to the Human Resources folks who are putting our great corporations in peril! It's really that easy - Leave IBM, as soon as possible! Even if it means a pay-cut, so what - less hours/stress will turn out to be a pay raise!

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 1:19AM

Thanks go to the Alliance@IBM Union organizing campaign for getting the word out to the media that these cuts were happening.

Union Yes | May 06, 2007 | 1:27AM

Thanks India's, believe me I'm looking. I can't afford to just up and quit at this moment with no job at all, but I'm definitely starting to explore avenues. Never would have even though about hightailing it out and leaving an app high and dry a few years ago but IBM has repeatedly drilled it into my head over and over that not only do technical proficiency, skill, and experience mean nothing, but also professional pride, business ethics and honesty are not valued whatsoever within Big Blue, so I'm looking for a place where they still are.

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 1:36AM

If this is true, why nothing on Bloomberg, CNN or MSNBC. Yes we are seeing job cuts... will we see 100,000 to 150,000 US jobs cut.. I do not think so, it makes no sense... Until I see CNN, Bloomberg, Wallstreet Journal and MSNBC report on the this, it in my opinion is not true.. Those 4 would be ALL over this... and they are not.....

whattheheckisgoingon | May 06, 2007 | 1:51AM

Don't train your offshore replacement;slow down and work to the process in every little last detail, muck up the works; and organize and fight back instead of complaining!

Tom Watson | May 06, 2007 | 1:54AM

RE: whattheheckisgoingon - P-L-E-A-S-E! Don't believe that "liberal media" cr@p. Media is owned by corporations! When's the last time you saw a liberal corporation?? You haven't, because they don't exist! So, yes, Dorothy, there is NO Santa! It's survival of the fittest - We SMART ITers have to stay sharp and LEAD by example. It is possible, just harder than ever to accomplish; whoever said life was easy?!?!!???

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 2:17AM

No, I'm not going to sabotage anything, or knowingly do something incorrectly (except report the madeup/fudged/incorrect metrics to the customer as I'm told I have to). I'm just not going to kill myself so some top exec can can make his phallus symbol yacht a little longer...

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 2:17AM

fedup: Don't worry, you will find other opportunities, just stay vigilent and keep your resume right up-to-date and full of Industry accepted B.S. TLA's! Remember, smart people always win - I've seen the best mainframers India has to offer; and they STINK! As far as PCers go, unfortunately, that's another story.... ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 2:23AM

Yet another soon to be ex-IBMer after 12 years. I should have listened to my own advice, way back in college - "don't go to work for those corporate scumbags, they don't give a damn about employees." Yes, I sure called that one.

IT outsourcing has always had an evil, uncaring knack for eliminating jobs. At least until a few years ago it was mostly US people taking over for other US people. Then we started shipping help desk to Canada. More recently, the march to India, Brazil, and a whole sordid list of other 3rd world countries. Sadly, the only way we will ever be able to plug up the black hole sucking all our money offshore will be through regulation, and the politicians obviously haven't seen the big picture of all this yet, or they don't care.

There can only really be one outcome to this. IGS will be diminished to the point that it will be sold off to one of IBM's competitors. The way they are going about headcount reductions will lead to customers taking their biz elsewhere, and new customers will no longer be wooed by the "value-added and proactive" BS spouted by the marketing idiots. As someone who actually took some pride in this company, I am ashamed at what they've become. After so many years of threatened job security, the rank and file is too afraid to stand up to lower management. In turn, line management have become yes-men zombies to the VPs and GMs. Noone is willing to question decisions any more.

To close, I too have heard rumors that more cuts are coming, although I won't speculate on the numbers. I would strongly encourage any IBMer still left after this first round to start looking outside the company ASAP. It's not going to get any better for you, and will assuredly get worse before you're shown the door. Good luck to you all.

canned +1 | May 06, 2007 | 2:35AM

Dear An IBMer: Hey, Capitalism is M-U-R-D-E-R! Talk about evolution??? Extinction is the norm, baby, and we American ITers are just like 19th century blacksmith at the dawn of Henry Ford's 20th century: The future is B-L-E-A-K! But, hey, my blacksmith great-grand-father adjusted and so can I (and my kids, I hope!). So, remember, hope for the BEST and DEAL with the WORST! My two bits - India!

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 2:39AM

Though, a lot of work that is getting slashed in US is expected to come to India,yet i strongly feel that such layoff should not happen, it really kills the spirit of the work force.And by the matter of fact i really salute the technical proficiency of the US guys(i have worked with few of the US people in my project). Company should not just think about its profit but also take care of talents.I am symbolizing the majority of Indians who feel really bad about the Job cuts in US ,and i feel that the company shd think 100 times before doing such injustice just in the name of cheap labour.

Indian | May 06, 2007 | 2:43AM

Though, a lot of work that is getting slashed in US is expected to come to India,yet i strongly feel that such layoff should not happen, it really kills the spirit of the work force.And by the matter of fact i really salute the technical proficiency of the US guys(i have worked with few of the US people in my project). Company should not just think about its profit but also take care of talents.I am symbolizing the majority of Indians who feel really bad about the Job cuts in US ,and i feel that the company shd think 100 times before doing such injustice just in the name of cheap labour.

Indian | May 06, 2007 | 2:44AM

Why is it not real unless it is on Bloomberg, CNN or MSNBC? I have been a republican all my life, but now I am really considering the union. The communication workers of america are trying to get in the back door by getting workers to join and then call for a vote. IBM just setteled a lawsuit over forced overtime. What management is doing is real close to Enron, but the books they are cooking is what IBM can deliver in the way of support. They lie about how much technical knowledge is available in other countries. They may be trained from a tech standpoint, but they have no experience and cannot do the job.
Operations support for several outsourced accounts has gone to india and brazil. Both of these location have caused customer problems because they do not know what they are doing. When NAFTA caused manufacturing job to go "cross border" everyone said it would help the economy and make better jobs... now high paying technical are going to be moved. The customers can stop this... they just need to write into their contract that US employees must work the contract. The problem is that customer management has been lied to by IBM management. IBM management says that the cross boarder employees can do the work and do it cheaper... and they need to boost their bottom line or they would not have outsourced in the first place. The house of cards will fall... and it will hurt IBM and other companies, but management for IBM and the outsourced customers are betting that they will have become super rich, because they did such a good job cutting costs, before the fall.

could be on the way out | May 06, 2007 | 2:45AM

Tom Watson above has a great strategy. Seeing the "criteria" used to cut people (none), top performers have nothing to lose. And to the front-line techs doing the real work; give each other lots of Thank You awards, at least we now get 12 / year to give. If we don't get the pay, pension, benefits, raises for 70+ hour weeks fixing SNAFU crit sits induced by offshore, there's still the nifty little gift items (made overseas of course).

stick em before they stick you | May 06, 2007 | 2:49AM

"No, I'm not going to sabotage anything, or knowingly do something incorrectly (except report the madeup/fudged/incorrect metrics to the customer as I'm told I have to). I'm just not going to kill myself so some top exec can can make his phallus symbol yacht a little longer...
fedup | May 06, 2007 | 2:17AM"




Yep, just do what you can, proportionate to what you get compensated for. The execs are the most qualified in the "sabotaging the corporation" role, they'll do it better than anyone else (PDtool skill level 3, PBC rank 1, recurring high priority IDP item -- screw over the corporation and worker bees).

lmao and going to competitor | May 06, 2007 | 3:05AM

Dear Mr. Indian: THANK YOU for your kind comments and Please do not take offense! This is all simply about talent and economics - this must be understood. I, personally, do not care if a technician is from the MOON! If they are good, they are good! Capitalism is Capitalism. In the end, I just hope it brings the same prosperity to your country as it has to ours! Just as long as we, on this end, can adjust and come to terms with economics 1-0-1. ;-[

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 3:07AM

What's the Managenow change ticket number for LEAN? There must be a change ticket for this one! Aren't we supposed to document any change that impacts the customer and/or cross-functional IBM teams in MN? This appears to be a high priority expedited change with high risk, high probability of impact to the business. Was the installation plan reviewed carefully? What's the backout plan if this change screws up? Rehire competent people that were discarded to save a buck? Or just open a problem ticket, assign it offshore and watch how many times it gets transferred with no solution, while the customer screams and escalates? What’s the MN group for the execs implementing this?

change management control | May 06, 2007 | 3:25AM

canned +1

Let's get real here, IBM is not going to sell off it's biggest business. IGS may have some problems, but IBM is big and smart enough to fix them. IGS has roughly $100 billion in bookings.

Randall Shimizu | May 06, 2007 | 3:29AM

wasnt sam palmisano the a*****e who destroyed OS/2 ?

whatever. IBM has obviously been 0wn3d by psychopaths and the outrage we read here about are the consequences. the problem is not "capitalism", "greed" or "incompetence". the problem is the presence of PSYCHOPATHS.

Here is a reading list. Read these books and heed their words !

"Political Ponerology" by Andrew Lobaczewski
"Snakes in Suits" by Robert Hare and Paul Babiak
"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout
"Without Conscience" by Robert Hare

nuff | May 06, 2007 | 4:07AM

Sam is another example of cultural / economic / social treason. The continentals and orientals are good theorists. They lack the savvy, ingenuity, cultural depth and breadth of true, born and bred Americans. Sam & co. further insult US citizens by moving technical support "offshore." That is like the oil rig that takes a hit in a major storm or tsunami - it is easily damaged and sinks.

If he wants to sink IBM and, just as Louie before him did, put more Americans out of work, kill the goose that laid the golden egg, then the board should sit back and absolve themselves of any responsibility, accountability, culpability.

I have been working for IBM / GBS for years. If Sam were smart (decisions like these clearly indicate that he and George Bush share similar IQs and the ethical / moral / professional / personal fortitude and integrity of an amoeba), and he is not, he would get rid of the true dead wood from within the ranks in the GBS management ranks. He is so far removed and ontologically / existentially blind to the fact that Indians and Chinese can't do anything American for they are not.

Cowardice and treason are characteristics that go well together.

When will the people who have, and continue to make companies like IBM great (it is the true innovators and thought leaders, most of whom are on this continent and are truly multi-dimensional and the only real value that IBM has -- others corporations take note), be recognized for their innovation, leadership, dedication, and patriotism, rather than being sacrificial lambs?

Sam - for the damage you are about to wreak on IBM and more importantly the great US, you should be drawn and quartered. You are a traitor to the values of the US. You have, are, and probably will continue to sell whatever remains of that feeble soul, the sense of personal integrity, moral, or ethical or moral value upon which people and their families have and were relying, and will now go hungry, lose their homes, become homeless. THANK YOU, SAM.

So, as you bask in the sun, enjoy the millions you have in the bank and your investments, think about the many of us who have made your wealth. It was clearly NEVER you. You are an ingrate. Try thinking about how it would feel were the shoe on the other foot.

What you are doing is also playing directly into the hands of those who seek our downfall. You are just another worthless collaborator. Rather than keeping the best that America, not just IBM, has to offer, employed, you would rather concede in the information struggle to identify and destroy our detractors who are in our midst.

If you even have a conscience, you will reconsider. If you do not, you are just another "enemy from within." You have opportunity to recant and change the course of history. If you do not, Sally Fields said it in "Steel Magnolias" as follows: "Eat $hit and die."

You are worse than heartless and "bottom-line driven." You exceed immoral, unethical. You have no place in the human race, for not recognizing the error, admitting it, and committing to change is for people lacking backbone. Better yet, may your deeds be visited on you and your family. What goes around comes around. Your day too will come.

mox | May 06, 2007 | 4:49AM

bitte merken

meier | May 06, 2007 | 5:39AM

"canned +1

Let's get real here, IBM is not going to sell off it's biggest business. IGS may have some problems, but IBM is big and smart enough to fix them. IGS has roughly $100 billion in bookings.
Randall Shimizu | May 06, 2007 | 3:29AM"




Laf. No Randall Shimizu on BluePages, only a non-IBMer or IBM shill ass-kisser would post their real name here, with the level of fear right now. You're just a clueless outsider looking at public numbers. STFU moron before you embarrass yourself even more. You have no clue what’s going on. Sadly, some IBMers never even knew LEAN was happening until they got cut; they were too busy supporting the company to stay current with the grapevine and take steps to prepare.

os/2 roxers | May 06, 2007 | 5:49AM

For mox, - the very real fact exists that there are people on this planet who are completely narcisistic without the slightest notion of what honor, integrity, morality and ethics, let alone empathy, compassion and other Human aspiring traits you refer to. These sub-human types are sadly increasingly legion and will never, ever, understand even the most outer regions of the concepts you refer to. With these types the words are meaningless, or at best abstract concepts completely out of range of their intellect. So unfortunately they would never understand a single point you tried to convey with Human feeling. For they have been stripped of their humanity long, long ago. Nice rant though!

richmanpoorman | May 06, 2007 | 6:43AM

I attended the current wave of LEAN meetings. It's pretty scary when a simple schmoo like me can figure out that LEAN is all about offshoring our jobs and NOT "merging synergies to increase our core competencies". When there is talk of "pooling resources"... hellooooo? that means you'll be pooled right out of a job, especially those of you who just laid out your entire list of daily duties in a neat, prioritized list.

another_schmoo | May 06, 2007 | 6:59AM

This is not only happening at IBM. EDS is on the path to do the exact same thing. I've seen many colleagues in that company lose their jobs only in the last six months. The flipside is that people who have skills and intelligence will always have more work than they can handle: it's only those whose skills expired last century that need to be worried. I'll be happy to see these large tech dinosaurs become extinct.

it's in the wind | May 06, 2007 | 7:54AM

Well, it is happening. IBM is in a death spiral. Another IBM corporate brain has decided that they can offshore the work being done by hardworking American support people.They think we can just do a "brain dump" of our years of experience to our foreign brethren. We have been trying to tell our managers for years about the problems we were faced with, and that there were better ways to do our jobs. All of our suggestions fell on deaf ears while they implemented the most idiotic pet projects you can imagine. While they tried to merge different layers of support by having software support do hardware support and vice versa, somehow thinking that they could learn it overnight just because management told them they had to or they would lose their jobs...we just shook our heads and spent all of our time cleaning up messes that should never have happened in the first place. Now there is LEAN, and again management thinks that offshoring will fix the problem just because they say it will. Well IBM...I am just plain tired. I will sit here and quietly do my job until you tell me to go. I will collect my severance and my pittance of PPA and go on with my life, and I will NOT look for another job in IT. I am 55 and just exhausted with the IT business. 50 to 70 hours a week has just taken it out of me. Parents raise your children to be good and honest. Raise them to do anything but work for a corporation. America will not die just because a another corporation goes down the tube. We will just find another avenue, and hopefully this time it will be with honesty and integrity.I wish everyone that is losing their job the best this world can offer:-)

just1waiting | May 06, 2007 | 7:58AM

Um, check your figures. You state IBM will cut 150K jobs from the USA. But, IBM has 350K employees worldwide. If they cut 150K from the USA, there'd be literally nobody left - they'd probably have to hire some people just so they could fire them.

While I don't doubt massive layoffs are coming, your figures are not in line with reality.

gcb | May 06, 2007 | 8:46AM

If IBM or ANY US company got rid of the technical resources in the US, who would be around to tell those clueless, 3rd world programmers what to do? Most of them have no business sense, and unless you tell them every mouse click, every step they need to do, they sit there for 8 hours looking at the screen with some dumb azz clueless look on their face.

India/China/Brazil innovators? ha. I bet IBM will fall from that precious top spot of having the "Most Patents Issued".

Moving work offshore only gives you short term cost "savings", but even those are questionable, as behind every offshore programmer, you have 1 or 2 US folks cleaning up the mess that the offshore programmers created. I have yet to see any published long term savings. I don't think there's any empirical evidence. I believe GE has been offshoring the longest, but have they published any REAL productivity gains? I don't think so.

Corporate execs have developed a cavalier attitude lately... do as I say, not as I do. Funny we are told there's very little money to give out bonuses, so we scrimp by with measily 1-4% increases... THEN Sam receives a bonus that is at least 900% of his salary. Something is wrong with that picture. Corporate greed... You execs and Corporate board members.... Remember the ROOTS of the company.. Please THINK about the implications of your actions, because if the shareholders revolt, they COULD NOT vote for you during the next annual meeting... and please have some RESPECT for the Individual. What goes around, comes around.


Average Guy Trying to Support a Family | May 06, 2007 | 8:53AM

Look IBM's competitors in the services games are not american companies they are Infosys, TCS, WIPRO all Indian companies. All of whom have leveraged the access to world class labor in India.

Long term India has a significant comparative advantage over US in this field. As a services company, India will only continue to bridge the performance gap with the US. Agreed that over time, jobs in India won't come as cheap.

To compete in this new scenario, IBM must gain access to the comparative advantage fueling their competitors or significantly alter their business plans. They choose the former. And of course it is the best short term strategy.

As economics teaches us there will be winners and losers in the short term. In this case, the losers happen to be the American white collar folks. But in the long run this is better for both Indian and American economies.

-S

Sandeep | May 06, 2007 | 9:18AM

I don't know how much of ths article is based on real facts. But, the core message in this article is alarming. I trust that the decision makers know what is good in the long run for the company and this country.

Here are my thoughts:

1) U.S is the country:
(a) where true innovation occurs
(b) where new business models are tested out
(c) where fair competition is respected
(d) which is filled with great thinkers who keep the IT industry in motion, and
(e) which is home to some of the world's best educational institutions

2) With all due respect to the great technical minds in the rest of the world, those minds are yet to prove that they can do all the things mentioned in point (1) above, rather than simply being followers by copying and doing the same things in a slightly different way.

3) If points (1) and (2) are valid, then the long-term focus should be to streamline the company's operations such that a steady stream of good talent pool is maintained right here in the U.S based operations.

Personally, I keep it a point to teach/coach every year, a few young minds in my (North East) region to prepare them to be the answer for the so-called skills shortage.

Emotions aside, my sincere hope is that this great company will stand tall (technically and ethically) in the end of it all by upholding the original vision of Mr. Watson i.e. Think.

Senator.

Senator | May 06, 2007 | 9:21AM

os/2 roxers
I am not afraid to post my name publicly. Why don't you address the facts in my post rather than attack me...??

Sandeep
I believe that India's cost advantage will last 5-10 years. India will need to spend a lot of money on their infrastructure if they want to stay competitive..

Randall Shimizu | May 06, 2007 | 9:46AM

Wipro, Bodacious Tatas, etc are Indian companies with MOSTLY low paid indian workers. THey also undercut US company pricing to get their foot into the door. The cost of living differences between the US and India/China, where people can live on a few dollars a day, makes it hard for US companies to compete.

Indians can't innovate... they are more concerned about discriminating against people in lower castes, looking for a spouse, looking for an apartment, finding a taxi, looking for the company to give them a free lunch, and making up new english words (needful, updations, freshers, ideators, and other bullshit...)

Don't understand? Let's try this... let's run all the words together to make it sound Indglish... Indianscan'tinnovate...theyaremoreconcernedaboutdiscriminatingagainstpeopleinlowercastes,lookingforaspouse,lookingforanapartment,finding...

Me | May 06, 2007 | 10:04AM

This is a false statement that shows an obvious lack of research for this article:

"The BIG PLAN is to continue until at least half of Global Services, or about 150,000 workers, have been cut from the U.S. division"

IBM Worldwide employs roughly 330,000 workers, only a portion of which are Global Services. The above statement indicates that up to 300,000 of the 330,000 IBM employees are GS. This author has not put the time in to researching the facts, and the "rumors from a friend" presented here are probably some dude making stuff up to attention.

dave | May 06, 2007 | 10:06AM

This is a false statement that shows an obvious lack of research for this article:

"The BIG PLAN is to continue until at least half of Global Services, or about 150,000 workers, have been cut from the U.S. division"

IBM Worldwide employs roughly 330,000 workers, only a portion of which are Global Services. The above statement indicates that up to 300,000 of the 330,000 IBM employees are GS. This author has not put the time in to researching the facts, and the "rumors from a friend" presented here are probably some dude making stuff up to attention.

dave | May 06, 2007 | 10:06AM

So what's new? This scenario has been going on for at least the last 2o years of my 38 year career with IBM. Lucky for me that my time frame in the company (1961-1999) got me out at a time when things were just starting to get really bad. I made it through several 'buyouts' (ie; 'early retirement opertunities') by careful scrunity of the package and then later went out on MY terms. Lets face it--It ain't your grandpa's IBM any more and hasn't been since about 1975. Nuf said.

retiree | May 06, 2007 | 10:27AM

While these executives plan the demise of the North American worker they are enjoying 100,000 luncheons with chef Mario Batalli.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/01/lifestyle/luxury_lunch/?cnn=yes

Trim the fat in the top ranks, and I think the company will be closer to meeting the astronomical targets they set every year.

LEAN from the top down | May 06, 2007 | 10:37AM

I just have to put my 2 cents in (doh! Just spent my last raise). I've been in mainframe IT for 25 years and over the past 10 yrs have had to spend a lot of time training '2 for a buck' programmers on basic things I learned when I was 21 yrs old.

I have nothing against the offshore folks, just the corporations that don't understand that they get what they pay for. If they want to run their cars on 4 out of 8 cylinders then good luck getting up the hills!

Many of us here in the US are at fault also. They cut headcount and we go into 'keep it between the ditches' mode and to management it appears that everything is fine because we take pride in our work so as not to cause a business impact to our customers. We put in longer and longer days to accomplish this while we sweep the dirt under the rug.

The software I support has alot of dirt under rug which causes it to use much more CPU than it should. Multiply the cost of this out for 365 days and it's probably 10 times what my salary costs. And just one hour long business impact to my customer can cost the company more than a year of my salary.

My problem is deciding between my work ethic or just 'taking my hand off the wheel' and letting things go in the ditch. The only thing management understands is financial penalties and the customer complaints. LEAN does not have any place for innovation, and customer and employee satisfaction. The only one that counts in this equation is the shareholder.

Okay...stepping down off my soapbox now.

NEXT!

fighting burnout | May 06, 2007 | 11:13AM

Well, nothing really different here! The last response I read is true in terms of pointing out the obvious inaccuracies of the numbers...what is not obvious except to those who have seen this repeat of history is that it is very well orchestrated (shades of paranoia?!?!). Get the troops scared to lose their job and they theoretically put their nose to the gridstone and don't push or complain about lousy raises or benefits being stripped. Management steps in and does their PR about all of the false and overblown rumors and then concedes that there will be some attrition and that it is vital and necessary for the health of the business. Costs get cut, executives get their annual big fat bonuses and hopefully the stock goes up the the execs smell like roses to Wall Street. Not a bad scenario for those in charge so why change things and stick your neck on the chopping block for not doing the hard thing even it it is not the MEAN thing...after all that is managements responsibility! Yes, I am being facetious...where is the real innovation and management leadership? Where are the Watsons that built a great company and took real risks and were not only interested in becoming rich but also truly concerned for the welfare of their employees and made IBM not only a great company but a real leader in the industry? IBM is still big but still continues to bite off more than it can chew and still has an enormous amount of internal waste and overhead...and I do not mean in terms of benefits but seriously too many managers going to too many meetings and not really managing effectively. Gee..lots of folks getting promoted to fancy titles like DE and STSM in order to retain top talent. I could go on and on and it is truly a sad situation that the executives just can't have real vision. Mr. Gerstner did what had to be done at the time but he did not need to continue doing what he did but discovered that it was very rewarding on a personal level...472 million in bonuses one year while cutting benefits for employees??? ..really! Does laying off employees and cutting benefits take a genius? Does it merit reward of that magnitude? What sort of message does it send to the employees if not the rest of the world (Wall Street is of course delighted!) and does management really care what message it sends...they say they do but I do not see any of them doing a Lee Iacoca and sacrificing their bonuses for the employees but then again what do I know but what I read and see happening! For those employees that are suffering this constant stress all I can say is that I have been there and you truly have my deepest empathy for your situation and for what it is worth...there is life after IBM and you will not miss the stress!!!
Please do not ecpect the govt. to step in and stop this mess as globalization is a good and inevitable thing?? Unions only work temporarily and are pretty much corrupt as history has shown and also eventually lead to the demise of the company to everyones dismay. At the least start saving for the rainy day and start looking around.
Next thing the company will cut back on the severance package and the savings will go into the execs pockets!! Please don't get angry that I might be giving them ideas because I am sure they have already thought of this...just a matter of time before they can get the right spin on it to justify it!
Recommendations: Start investing in employees by educating them and giving them real direction. Not this leave it up to the employees to find the time to educate themselves while putting them in a constant state of stress and wondering what diffence it will make if their job is going to be outsourced anyway.
What happened to the idea of managers doing some amount of technical work? Oh yeah, most of them were not capable or motivated to being involved on that level nor did they want to be technically responsible for any products that proved to be less than adequate.
IBM has a lot of really good talent but has apparently only committed itself to short term profits. As far as the future goes...one can only hope that this is not a death spiral and that the company can react in a positive way before things have gotten too far out of hand.

Arnold Daks | May 06, 2007 | 11:20AM

Well, nothing really different here! The last response I read is true in terms of pointing out the obvious inaccuracies of the numbers...what is not obvious except to those who have seen this repeat of history is that it is very well orchestrated (shades of paranoia?!?!). Get the troops scared to lose their job and they theoretically put their nose to the gridstone and don't push or complain about lousy raises or benefits being stripped. Management steps in and does their PR about all of the false and overblown rumors and then concedes that there will be some attrition and that it is vital and necessary for the health of the business. Costs get cut, executives get their annual big fat bonuses and hopefully the stock goes up the the execs smell like roses to Wall Street. Not a bad scenario for those in charge so why change things and stick your neck on the chopping block for not doing the hard thing even it it is not the MEAN thing...after all that is managements responsibility! Yes, I am being facetious...where is the real innovation and management leadership? Where are the Watsons that built a great company and took real risks and were not only interested in becoming rich but also truly concerned for the welfare of their employees and made IBM not only a great company but a real leader in the industry? IBM is still big but still continues to bite off more than it can chew and still has an enormous amount of internal waste and overhead...and I do not mean in terms of benefits but seriously too many managers going to too many meetings and not really managing effectively. Gee..lots of folks getting promoted to fancy titles like DE and STSM in order to retain top talent. I could go on and on and it is truly a sad situation that the executives just can't have real vision. Mr. Gerstner did what had to be done at the time but he did not need to continue doing what he did but discovered that it was very rewarding on a personal level...472 million in bonuses one year while cutting benefits for employees??? ..really! Does laying off employees and cutting benefits take a genius? Does it merit reward of that magnitude? What sort of message does it send to the employees if not the rest of the world (Wall Street is of course delighted!) and does management really care what message it sends...they say they do but I do not see any of them doing a Lee Iacoca and sacrificing their bonuses for the employees but then again what do I know but what I read and see happening! For those employees that are suffering this constant stress all I can say is that I have been there and you truly have my deepest empathy for your situation and for what it is worth...there is life after IBM and you will not miss the stress!!!
Please do not ecpect the govt. to step in and stop this mess as globalization is a good and inevitable thing?? Unions only work temporarily and are pretty much corrupt as history has shown and also eventually lead to the demise of the company to everyones dismay. At the least start saving for the rainy day and start looking around.
Next thing the company will cut back on the severance package and the savings will go into the execs pockets!! Please don't get angry that I might be giving them ideas because I am sure they have already thought of this...just a matter of time before they can get the right spin on it to justify it!
Recommendations: Start investing in employees by educating them and giving them real direction. Not this leave it up to the employees to find the time to educate themselves while putting them in a constant state of stress and wondering what diffence it will make if their job is going to be outsourced anyway.
What happened to the idea of managers doing some amount of technical work? Oh yeah, most of them were not capable or motivated to being involved on that level nor did they want to be technically responsible for any products that proved to be less than adequate.
IBM has a lot of really good talent but has apparently only committed itself to short term profits. As far as the future goes...one can only hope that this is not a death spiral and that the company can react in a positive way before things have gotten too far out of hand.

Arnold Daks | May 06, 2007 | 11:21AM

"os/2 roxers
I am not afraid to post my name publicly. Why don't you address the facts in my post rather than attack me...??
....
Randall Shimizu | May 06, 2007 | 9:46AM"




2 out of 3 ain't bad, I see you can read public domain info. IBM is far from smart in how it does things. You'd know that if you worked here. I have 17 years in IBM as a PBC 1 and 2+, in senior technical positions, with PM certification as icing. I've seen a lot more of IBM front-line green (and internal blue) money work than you can google about, guess about, and theorize about.


Posting your real name in threads like this is not very smart for anyone's career, no matter what you post, because all companies interpret things in different ways; as you may learn in your future. This is my one response to you; an outsider making comments like "canned +1" is not worth any more keystrokes.


You get the last word, I'm sure you want it, oh great techno-aficionado and industry analyst. lol.

os/2 roxers | May 06, 2007 | 11:23AM

LEAN

Wilbert | May 06, 2007 | 11:41AM

Randall Shimizu, IBM layoff , 2007, IBM employees, comment, opinon

Randall's comment regarding IBM employee layoff -- "Canned +1"

go search engines!

HR | May 06, 2007 | 12:06PM

Wow! I was hoping this phenom was more local and I was just unlucky in my choice of employers.....



From 1998 to 2005 I worked for a steel building engineering and manufacturing company that had existed for nearly 100 years and had the biggest manufacturing plant in country. Because of the demands of profit GROWTH and NEW MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY we grew through aquisition, ran the aquisitions into the ground and under bid contracts that were subsequently mismanaged into failure. Managements solution, for the last two years of the companies life, was to cut fat (meaning lay off working engineers), hire more VP's (to manage better) and make us all work harder and longer (engineers, that is). That lasted as long as it took the owners to work out legal logistics of raping everyone without getting sued or put in jail. They did fine, the rest of us were just out of work (and no pensions for the old timers).



Now I work for a communications company (one of the biggest in the world) and they've begun the same dance. We just cut 30% if the engineering staff, outsourced some projects and hired about 5 new VP's. Now we're dancing around doing things like hanging a $10,000 plasma screen in the common area to show the current status of our projects (I hope it's secure, I can think of lots of more relevant messages to display for everyone, like "RUN AWAY!!!").



I've been in this biz for almost 20 years but I'm getting out. Don't know what I'll be doing but it won't be this. I LOVE what I do but it's not a viable (or dignified) profession anymore. Six years of school (MS CS) graduating at the top of my class and for what? I got better treatment as a car mechanic when I was putting myself through school (and a LOT more satisfaction).



Let the business pukes go f*** themselves. I'm tired of them f***ing the rest of us!! I wish engineers were more organized. I hate unions but it would be great if every technical worker in the country just walked out one day and demanded that things be set right (whatever that is) before we go back. This world economy scam is nothing more than allowing business to use slave labor (over seas) to demand any and everything of local workers without regard for anything but the bottom line. In states where they have "employment at will" (like mine) it's as though you are nothing but a slave with your only choice being who you want to be a slave to.

Still Working | May 06, 2007 | 12:08PM

How about staging a "March on Wall Street" by IT employees? Take the problem (layoffs) to the source (Wall Street). It's long overdue. Physically shut down the Street for a day. Give it some media coverage.

Rich | May 06, 2007 | 1:11PM

I came to US on H1B from India in 1995. The market was growing here and there was skills shortage (wasn't it ? don't know for sure).

12 yrs in this country and where am I ? If I had stayed back in India, I would have benefitted immensely from the boom.

It is time to line up at Indian Consulates for work permits to go back to India. You are welcome to accompany me ! They tell me, there is HUGE skills/manpower shortage in India now (with IBM, Cognizant, Accenture, Oracle, Sun +++ Infosys, Satyam, Wipro ... all hiring).

India, here we come !

Jay S | May 06, 2007 | 1:17PM

An interesting sidelight to Randall's comment was how he hated unions but . . .
Unions are our best hope for stopping this sort of nonsense. At times when corporate and management greed have gotten out of hand backed by government inaction the most effective answer has been unions. The difference is that the jobs being taken now are not the blue collar workers considered a cost factor by engineers like Randall (those jobs went overseas decades ago) but the engineers who thought their education and experience made them respected and immune. What they discovered was that all it took was globalization and an appropriate level of technology before they too were just an overpriced labor factor which could be replaced by automation or purchased more cheaply overseas.
My wife was a systems analyst whose work horizons shrank as "Year 2K" programming was outsourced beyond the horizon to overseas workers. Engineering, accounting and service jobs along with countless others are moving now. Even the market analysts who find this cost cutting so attractive are finding their skills are available much more cheaply offshore.
Perhaps if these people recognized that the greatest threat to their six figure salaries was not taxes but wall street and started supporting other workers and worker-friendly politicians and organizing unions themselves they might not be so helpless.

Pat MacManus | May 06, 2007 | 1:18PM

IBM has been doing everything wrong for the past 4 years. If non-employee shareholders could see the internal workings of the company they would dump their holdings immediately. All employees with long-term experience are being forced out (because of their pension plan liability and relatively high salaries), and they are being replaced by college hires in the US or low-cost Indian workers. Customers are dropping their contracts because the service is so awful, and IBM has no new products to sell. CEO Sam Palmisano is raising the stock price by selling off profitable bits of the company and playing a high-stakes shell game. It is pretty close to fraud.

Declan | May 06, 2007 | 1:37PM

Oracle successfully did a similar thing with its consulting arm and its development team. Nothing new.

However, I am glad that now people are starting to notice.

Thanks for making people aware of this.

around_the_block | May 06, 2007 | 1:55PM

I had the privilege of working for IBM during some of the glory years, when “Respect for the individual” really meant something. Now it’s no longer a basic belief. Thinking I saw the writing on the wall (in 1993), I developed a strategy to leave.

First, I studied the IT market and honed marketable skills. This was when Lou was promoting “Use what IBM sells, sell what IBM uses”. I sought skills with a hot product which IBM didn’t use much of (thanks to the IGS customers, many of you already have current skills!).

Second, I got rid of most of my debt by downsizing our home, cars, & spending. Even if I lost my IBM (or future) job, we weren’t going to lose our home. This offered the security to pursue another job (or career?) and fail without jeopardizing my family.

Third, I left IBM to take a job that paid less money for the opportunity to hone my skills on a product I hadn’t really used before leaving IBM. And more significantly, it offered the opportunity for me to network with non-IBMers.

Within four years of leaving IBM, we were debt free (this is freedom!) and my salary was significantly higher that it would have been had I remained at IBM. The most difficult thing I left behind was the opportunity to retire with free health insurance at age 52, but that would have been robbed from me anyway...

As good as the 80’s were at IBM, I have enjoyed the second half of my career more than the first half.

My advice: Start planning now, evaluate your situation, and don’t be afraid to act!

paul (ex IBM East Fishkill, Atlanta, Austin) | May 06, 2007 | 2:02PM

Declan

Randall Shimizu | May 06, 2007 | 2:05PM

Declan
No new products...?? Let's see, IBM came out with DB2 Viper recently. IBM is coming out with Notes 8, Lotus Quickr and a new version of Sametime. IBM also has a new Proventia product from ISA. So after all of this you are trying to tell us that IBM has now new products.

Pat MacManus
Please don't put words in my mouth. I have not spoken about unions so far.

os/2 roxers
Well you may have more inside info. But you should at least be willing to back up your claims when you make assertions...!!

Randall Shimizu | May 06, 2007 | 2:12PM

So, the winner is - IBM & India!

Obviously, a match made in Heaven: Large 'merican corporate giant who has always practiced deception & dishonesty (i.e., in their dealings with employees) AND a 3rd world country (i.e., India) full of individuals who relish the opportunity to deceive, lie, & distort the truth about their experience, skills, & know-how simply to get any chance at all to exit the excrement pile normally found in any/all 3rd world nation. Happy Day's - IBM's gone to India! Good riddance!

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 2:30PM

Constantly cutting the workers who get things done will not "save" IBM to prosperity and cutting unprofitable customers will create mistrust and ill feelings. Get rid of ineffective executives! Get your head out of the sand and step back & look at this picture.

Gail Vail | May 06, 2007 | 4:00PM

A few comments for the less intelligent that like to occasionally post here:

1) Ok, ok, we got it. For the last time, the numbers look to be possibly inaccurate. But, that is pretty much the only miss - the rest of the article, and the posts, are dead-on right. If only everthing else in life had a 99.99% accuracy rate like this article....

2) This is NOT the "LEAN" of Toyota. Giving something a similar name does not make it the same.

3) Someone do some math. Which helps the company most, cutting 1300 talented, productive workers that do the "REAL" work, or cutting 13 executives making 100 times as much that do nothing but golf and drink and screw people (literraly AND figuratively - in addition to their employees - usually not their wives, either) - all $$ cost being saved the same. It's nice to dream about voting in change, but the politicians answer to them, so I don't see much hope there.

4) Work your 40 and be done. You'll be replaced regardless of what you do. Overseas is supposed to be able to handle this on their own, so lets trust upper management when they say that, because they never lie.

5) Quit lying and covering to your customer. When the code comes back 100% certified, move it to production. When it breaks, LET THE CUSTOMER KNOW EXACTLY WHY. They get what they pay for.
Tell them the fake numbers you are being told to make up. Doesn't matter. You'll be out the door soon anyway. At least you'll be able to look in the mirror and see an honest person again, and you'll feel better.

Now, I'm sure, we'll hear several more times how the numbers are off, and how LEAN works so well at Toyota, so obviously those posters can't read, can't add 2 and 2, and are on crack. Which narrows them down to being obvious top-level IBM executives.

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 4:07PM

sit-down strike! browse for the internet for jobs! Don't do any work and certainly don't train your replacements! What are they going to do, lay you off?

mike | May 06, 2007 | 4:09PM

I almost forgot:

6) New products. Sure. I can put glaze on a turd and call it a new product. Everyone hears at least 6 times daily the comment "Lotus Notes SUCKS!!!"....

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 4:11PM

This is nothing new. It's just corporism at its best.

I'm just a customer of what used to be IBM (is now Lenovo), and let's put it this way: This ThinkPad is my LAST unless the quality AND service level sees a great increase.

I used to be a network designer doubling as an operation engineer at a national-sized Telco that went belly-up in 2001. I spent so much overtime at that company I've yet to recover, 6 years later.

Lucklily I live in a company that has better worker protection laws than US, and a better disability system (more or less: A national project to insure our citizens. That's where our oild money goes), so I can do what the doctors suggest, and spend time recovering.

The "lay off"-culture isn't new, and it's not news they lay off the actual producers in the bee-hive, not the parasites in management. Dividing a company into small units is just an excuse for hiring more "leaders" (They are called leaders, but does anyone actually follow them?).

Maybe it's time to remove the parasites?

//Svein

Svein Skogen | May 06, 2007 | 4:13PM

And another:

7) Since voting will most likely not make a difference, make a difference where you can.

Don't shop at Circuit City anymore until they announce they are rehiring their employees at their former pay.

Change your phone away from AT&T & other companies that outsource most of their IT to someone smaller & local. It may cost you a few pennies more, but you'll feel better. I did and do.

Do the same for other things - change your Internet Provider, buy from the mom/pop/local stores. You won't be able to completely avoid it, but if enough people change their spending habits, things CAN and WILL change. Don't just gripe about it, as long as you can afford it, (even if it does cost you a few pennies more), DO something!!!

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 4:19PM

Live in a country, of course. Minor brain-fart there.

//Svein

Svein Skogen | May 06, 2007 | 4:23PM

IBM is trying to provide metrics (by making us in one of the regional command centers) track every ticket we do. After one week, the metrics were not what the execs wanted to see, so they've had the metrics tweaked to provide them with better numbers to justify Project Lean. Apparently, we are doing too much work and "gold plating" what we provide to the customer.

Further, some of the changes in the name of Lean have actually resulted in bottle-necks and road blocks to getting the job down. Apparently taking phone calls keeps us from doing our job even if said calls are part of a SEV 1 issue.

Finally, IBM seems to think that once we stop "gold plating," customers will decide they can't live without the services we were providing and will pay us more money. While there may be an account here or there that does this, I suspect that most won't and will leave the company as soon as their contract is up.

"Lean Target" | May 06, 2007 | 4:29PM

While a 150,000 person cut in the US is absurd, IBM's long term strategy is to eliminate 100,000 USA jobs. The 100,000 would include all divisions within IBM, not just services. Note that no timeline has been mentioned for the 100,000 cuts.

I don't believe this is a joke - it's for real.

Whether IBM will survive such a plan is doubtful, simply because greedy IBM executives will cut too deeply, far too fast and will offshore work before the low cost countries can effectively handle the work. We are actually seeing this now with India and IT support on multiple platforms, but the execs won't admit the problems.

From my vantage point, IBM execs are offshoring everything they think can be offshored - that INCLUDES ALL FUNCTIONS of the business, EXCEPT executives and their staff.

Granted, while the low cost countries do not have people with skills, people with experience or even the stable infrastructure to do the more sophisticated and higher skill jobs, IBM is counting on them to develop those skills over time to do the higher skill work.

In my opinion, the 100,000 cuts will be over a five year timeframe.

Expect another wave of significant cuts before the end of the 3rd quarter.

Frank | May 06, 2007 | 4:51PM

I've been working on LEAN for quite a while now. I have never seen a more screwed up, disorganized bunch of morons and nitwits. I think the leadership of LEAN should be fired for sheer incompetence and arrogance. The LEAN leadership team would make an excellent case-study of how not to organize and lead a major project.

LEAN as a group of principles intended to improve competitiveness via increasing customer value and reducing unnecessary cost, is actually a good thing. For more information refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_manufacturing.

While LEAN itself is a good thing, by ignoring some of the principles and by misusing others, IBM is doing a very poor job implementing it. It will be a total failure.

I believe IBM is using LEAN as a crowbar to reduce costs by the brute force cutting of the workforce, rather than implementing the principles of LEAN to improve efficiency, effectiveness, customer focus and quality which should bring in more business to which existing resource can be applied.

The difference is very much like putting the proverbial cart before the horse. Doing lean right (the latter approach) is a prescription for growth, doing LEAN wrong (the former) is a prescription for mediocrity at best and failure at worst.

One of the principles, load levelling and production flow, done well can stabilize the workforce rather than subject it to cycles of mass hirings and mass firings to adjust to the amount of work available. This is one thing IBM will totally ignore because part of their strategy is to dump as many high paid older US employees as possible.

Another of the principles is to empower the workforce to cooperatively solve issues. That's not gonna happen in IBM - no group that has power over another wants to give away that power - there are too many groups that tell you it's their way or the highway to justify their existence.

Another principle is to eliminate the waste of adversarial relationships - between management and employee, company and suppliers, company and partners, company and customer. Mass layoffs of course, violate this principle, as does chronically reducing benefits, setting unreachable PBC objectives and scrooge-like compensation schemes like rebanding.

IBM is doing it wrong - McKinsey is making tons of money telling IBM how to do it wrong. McK just promises those 40% cost savings within 6 months and tells the IBM brass what they want to hear - "cut, cut, cut", even though it will decimate the workforce, hurt customers, demoralize the survivors and break the business.

Meanwhile, the execs suffer no cuts or sacrifices themselves and treat themselves with large bonuses because they were able to cut costs.

IBM is run by a bunch of immoral, unethical, selfish, dictators who are above the onerous policies the rest of us must live by. LEAN as they're using it, is just one of their many tools to raise themselves up and put the employees down.

What ever happened to leadership by example?

Frank | May 06, 2007 | 5:03PM

150,000 people out of work sounds painful to the economy, and probably will be. But I say bring it on. If IBM dumps a number of their customers and those customers still have a demand for the work, the former IBM workers will be in pretty good position to startup their own companies, servicing their old clients. This is what we really need. We need corporate America to shed what it labels as "its fat". And as the management that is what is really bogging down American efficiency moves to control oversea markets, the real American workforce will be doing what the always do: working hard. New companies will startup and, hopefully, fix the inefficiencies of their predecessors. And one day, Chinese and Indian companies will be outsourcing to the U.S.

Jim | May 06, 2007 | 5:21PM

150,000 people out of work sounds painful to the economy, and probably will be. But I say bring it on. If IBM dumps a number of their customers and those customers still have a demand for the work, the former IBM workers will be in pretty good position to startup their own companies, servicing their old clients. This is what we really need. We need corporate America to shed what it labels as "its fat". And as the management that is what is really bogging down American efficiency moves to control oversea markets, the real American workforce will be doing what the always do: working hard. New companies will startup and, hopefully, fix the inefficiencies of their predecessors. And one day, Chinese and Indian companies will be outsourcing to the U.S.

Jim | May 06, 2007 | 5:24PM

"I almost forgot:

6) New products. Sure. I can put glaze on a turd and call it a new product. Everyone hears at least 6 times daily the comment "Lotus Notes SUCKS!!!"....

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 4:11PM"


6x daily, is that all? Lotus Notes and Sametime 7.5.x, turds of a feather. Good for admins, infrastructure, and security. Forget about usability and the end users, they don't matter. 999999999999999 Notes databases cluttering the workspace, lagging response, the lightning bolt lockup during network transactions, conflict docs with replicas, unpredictable results emailing with external customers, etc... I'm holding on to ST 3.5 and Notesbuddy v4.16b as long as I can... seems others have similar experiences judging by the internal newsgroup for sametime.

end user | May 06, 2007 | 5:45PM

I worked for IBM for a year and a half. From my experience I believe that it is IBM's intent to offshore as many jobs as possible to save money.

They appear to be carrying this out in two ways:

1) when US workers quit, replace them with workers from India and China and
2) reassigning US based projects to oversees labs and demand that the previous US workers train these new workers.

What happens is that the most talented US workers leave when their projects are taken away from them rather than bother to train others to take their jobs. This leaves less talented and inexperienced workers to try to do this difficult and degrading task. Compounding this is the high rate of attrition of workers in India and China. Furthermore, it is very difficult to manage a team who lives 12 timezones away even for the most effective manager.

OldIBMEmployee | May 06, 2007 | 6:01PM

**Now hear this - UnitedTech has been launched!

Here's a forum for all North America based ex/IBM and non-IBM IT workers, with a focus on offshore outsourcing.

Please join, it's open to everyone and no membership required. If you send an email to the address below, it gets sent to everyone as well as being recorded on the site. You can also visit the site and post from there.

Thanks and hope to carry this and other related discussions forward!

http://groups.google.com/group/unitedtech

Email: unitedtech@googlegroups.com

Bluebird | May 06, 2007 | 6:11PM

My former company outsourced to IBM Global Services. I guess you can say what goes around,comes around!

justanothernumber | May 06, 2007 | 6:21PM

In my brief time at IBM I learned that employees are not empowered to do what it takes to serve their clients and that many clients have had multiple blown projects that get fixed, in the end, by IBM at no change. I personally believe that IBM trys to get rid of more senior people to reduce their retirement liabilities and doesn't seem to understand the loss of valuable knowledge this entails.

The company uses "leadership" and "management" interchangably and gives bean-counters way too much power over line managers's decisions. They paid billions for PriceWaterhouse-Coopers consultancy but very few of their 35,000 are still there.

All of this will eventually hit the bottom line. The only question is how long the bean-counters will be able to paint a rosy picture on rotten canvas.

Jerry B | May 06, 2007 | 6:31PM

i am sure a lot of you are starting to look for new jobs. there's no sense in working hard when you know you will be leaving soon. why not think for yourself and more importantly for your family. Get a list of all clients and go over to their websites for the careers section.

matt | May 06, 2007 | 6:55PM

Let's cut to the chase:

Even if one considers that IBM is not CUTTING 40-60,000 American positions, but only OFF-SHORING them, this is big news. So big in fact, that if true, it would generate interest from the major news carriers and perhaps even politicians (elections are coming). Why the collective silence? Perhaps if someone sent a link of the article to these sources something close to the truth, or at least an explanation could be had?

Mr. Cringely, would you mind? Any "future ex-IBM'ers" interested in sending a few emails?

noone | May 06, 2007 | 7:02PM

Better yet, send this link to IMB's customers, so they can see just how much they're getting hosed over by IBM and its fake metrics & lies....

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 7:07PM

Sorry American workers but you will be replaced . It's all about the money ! Blue collar workers got replaced by Illegal Immigrants you guys are next ......... Indian and Chinese workers are just as bright , Plus they make a lot of money for the Rich Zionist Jews .................

TERRY | May 06, 2007 | 7:10PM

Sorry American workers but you will be replaced . It's all about the money ! Blue collar workers got replaced by Illegal Immigrants you guys are next ......... Indian and Chinese workers are just as bright , Plus they make a lot of money for the Rich Zionist Jews .................

TERRY | May 06, 2007 | 7:11PM

I am not a reporter. I know, however, a basic rule about reporting which is that a piece of news does not and should not live long unless it's supported by some credible witness or references. The author called himself a reporter. I wish he had said something more specific than just "This is according my many friends at Big Blue". May be the next time.

Mike Freeman | May 06, 2007 | 7:13PM

So, Mike Freeman, are you saying IBM is NOT off-shoring 'merican IT jobs?? Well, wake up and see reality - IBM has been doing this since before the Y2K-Scam they perpetrated for over 5 years! You must be a true BLUE IBMer and/or another retiree living off the rest of our payroll tax dollars (a.k.a., welfare). Or, more accurately, just another self-serving Repulsivecan / Republican! "No, Dorothy, there is no global warming or job off-shoring going on here!" ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 7:32PM

The days of the glorified IBM is gone, the new IBM is the type of company that will sell its own mother for cash just to please Wall Street.

Being there, done that | May 06, 2007 | 7:34PM

Mike, 400+ posts and growing, by employees on the inside that DO know what's going on, all saying the same thing. What do you need, a brick up the side of the head to knock some sense into you?

I'll tell you something else: Where there's smoke, there's fire.

Or, maybe you look at the thousands of jobs cut & benefits rolled back, pensions taken away, and you do the math like this:

1) Let's see, the company got rid of tons of people and saved $50 million.
2) Let's see, the top-tier executives increased their compensation by $50 million at approximately the same time.

And you sit there and think that's the way it should be.

Obviously you are one of the people in group 2.

Your day will come, but it probably won't like what it turns out to be.

fedup | May 06, 2007 | 7:34PM

americans should wake up and smell the roses. china is well on the way to owning you lock, stock, and barrel. whatever they haven't stolen the received from greedy and treasonous politicians and businessmen. you will all soon pay for theur treachery. all's it will take is china calling in the loans and you are history.

gunga din | May 06, 2007 | 7:53PM

Yes: But it is not about time, it is about power; Elitist global corporate fascist power. This is the true goal of globalism. At this point, only a naive fool would think otherwise. Drip, drip, drip, are we there yet?

JP | May 06, 2007 | 7:56PM

If the person you report has been let go, its most likely that you will be gone too.

Older guy | May 06, 2007 | 8:10PM

No: But the trains are pulling into the stations and all the cattle cars are packed with bodies. Come on, hop on the Orient Express! ;-]

i | May 06, 2007 | 8:11PM

Hm. Quite a snarl. The government owns most of IBM stocks, as well as circa 80% of all stocks on the market, through its pension funds; Google CAFR for details, or see Rense.com and search on CAFR. The government keeps stock prices up by buying and selling stocks to itself, hiding the horrible weakness in the overpriced market. So, whether this makes sense from a profit standpoint is moot if the real owners of the company wish to use it for a non-profit purpose: the destruction of the power of the American people. Not the nation itself, just the people in it, mind you.

OF COURSE it doesn't make business sense to lay off thousands while complaining of the need for more workers in that very field, UNLESS BUSINESS ISN'T THE POINT. If business isn't the point, then the only way to find out what "their" goal is, is to look at the results of what they do. The result will be greater damage to the American middle class, therefore their goal is to damage the American middle class.

It's not hard to figure it out when you ditch obviously false assumptions.

RipplingBeast | May 06, 2007 | 8:18PM

Dear RipplingBeast: B-R-A-V-O-!-!-! Could not have said it better myself. ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 8:28PM

At my last company we lived through the hell that was Dell and HP trying to shift support to India. It was a total failure. Today they go with a local no name PC & support company. It may cost a little more, but now they lose far less in down time.

I can't wait to see what happens as IBM starts to outsource. Even the Indian guys (now US citizens) I work with think IBM is crazy to think they can offshore 150,000 jobs. As they were telling me all of the talented and educated people moved to the US, Australia, or Europe. They are going to get far worse employees than they had in the US.

LMAO! Have at it IBM.

If you work at IBM you better start looking NOW before your local job market is flooded!!!

Time_to_move_on | May 06, 2007 | 8:40PM

I am not a reporter. I know, however, a basic rule about reporting which is that a piece of news does not and should not live long unless it's supported by some credible witness or references. The author called himself a reporter. I wish he had said something more specific than just "This is according my many friends at Big Blue". May be the next time.

Mike Freeman | May 06, 2007 | 10:04PM

I am not a reporter. I know, however, a basic rule about reporting which is that a piece of news does not and should not live long unless it's supported by some credible witness or references. The author called himself a reporter. I wish he had said something more specific than just "This is according my many friends at Big Blue". May be the next time.

Mike Freeman | May 06, 2007 | 10:05PM

So, Mike Freeman, are you saying IBM is NOT off-shoring 'merican IT jobs?? Well, wake up and see reality - IBM has been doing this since before the Y2K-Scam they perpetrated for over 5 years! You must be a TRUE BLUE IBM fool and/or another retiree living off the rest of our payroll tax dollars (a.k.a., welfare). Or, more accurately, just another self-serving Repulsivecan / Republican! "No, Dorothy, there is no global warming or job off-shoring going on here!" ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 10:08PM

So, Mike Freeman, are you saying IBM is NOT off-shoring 'merican IT jobs?? Well, wake up and see reality - IBM has been doing this since before the Y2K-Scam they perpetrated for over 5 years! You must be a TRUE BLUE IBM fool and/or another retiree living off the rest of our payroll tax dollars (a.k.a., welfare). Or, more accurately, just another self-serving Repulsivecan / Republican! "No, Dorothy, there is no global warming or job off-shoring going on here!" ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 10:09PM

IBM doesn't have a choice. They have two business segments, mainframes, and services. And since all the services companies are moving to India, and India itself has up and coming services companies that are growing by the day and slowing chipping away at IBM's business, IBM has no other choice but to keep itself from sinking and leveling their playing field with that of their competition. Sorry, but remember all the rhetoric over the years about how this global economy is gonna destroy the American middle class by bringing down wages. Well, that time is almost here. Stay tuned cause it will soon arrive en masse.

Nobody | May 06, 2007 | 10:11PM

Nobody = Brainwashed I-D-I-O-T-!

Yes, IBM has a choice! How about being honest with their employees and gracefully retiring those who they can no longer utilize because of a bloated workforce they created via acquisitions and/or out-sourcing contracts! Don't buy all the garbage these big companies ram up your butt! See the truth for yourself and then come to terms with it! REALITY BITES, and so does India's Business Machine - You go IBM! Hope you all freeze in Hell!

India's Business Machine | May 06, 2007 | 10:16PM

To all of those sporadically through these comments insisting that IBM doesn't have 100k - 150k employees to lay off, let's not forgot about the contractors. If you think 1,315 was the total number of people who lost their jobs May 1st, you are wrong. At least as many, if not more, contractors lost their jobs. The numbers will never be known because their checks were signed by CDI, Pomeroy, etc. These folks were not given severances or notice, just shown the door. And many were only making 30k to 40k with no benefits. Cheap labor in my book.

IBM has more than enough people to lay off 150,000 and still have a skeleton US presence. This is really happening.

To those who insist IBMGS is bloated and poor-performing and therefore deserving of this... IBM is not bloated by it's number of employees, it is drowning in beaurocracy implemented by executives and senior management. Only a few years ago teams supported customers. A team, under one manager, built the server hardware, loaded the OS, installed the application, and backed up the data, and supported all of it. A small team, with each member having their specialty. But this high functioning system was replaced with a hands on team for hardware, Wintel team for the OS, a Domino team for the application, a Tivoli team for backups, etc... all under different managers in different locations operating with greater numbers of people and inadequate lanes of communication. It's not the workers, it's the management, from executive on down. A poorly performing system failing to save money, actually doing the opposite.

My two cents on my experience at IBM.

prufrock | May 06, 2007 | 10:55PM

I guess I should have seen this coming. Several years ago I attended a few of Global Services ARB (Architectural Review Board) meetings. I was amazed how much money was being dumped into a new help desk application and virtually nothing to improve internal productivity, quality, etc. The help desk project was amazingly political and very weak on requirements, design, etc. That effort brought us eESM and we know how well that turned out. We have HelpNow and ManageNow, a couple more amateur efforts. This family of applications will be what is used by our offshore helpdesk to direct our offshore system administrators to fix problems.


While Tivoli has evolved into a pretty good tool, we still don't have a good "best practices" portfolio of monitors. We don't really monitor applications and we certainly can't spot trends before they become outages. Our monitoring will be based on being able to spot something after it has failed or when the customer calls to tell us.


We are developing a business approach that only goes through the basic motions and is really not able to serve one's customers well. Our customers will not like it and it won't be hard for our competition to provide something better. Last year Global Services contributed 37% of IBM's total pre-tax income. This is a huge business to put at risk. What is not well understood is the contribution by Global Services to the Software Group and System's and Finance Group. They contribute the other 63% of IBM's pre-tax income and if Global Services faulters, or if IBM's ability to support its customers faulters IBM's total income could be seriously hurt. This is a HUGE risk IBM is taking.

HelpNot | May 06, 2007 | 11:02PM

This seems to be real. I just got off the phone with two firends at IBM who see this coming down the pipe next week. One put it this way "I am in a state of shock..."

When the .com bust hit, Microsoft had "the Indian Initiative" to move as much business to India as possible. Infosys, Tata, Satyam, and other offshores opened big offices next Microsoft or were given space on campus. Work is being done by folks on "Business Visas" - B1 - and are not even paying US taxes.

the interesting thing is IBM Global Services does a *lot* of US Government business and Microsoft's biggest customer is the US government.

Too bad there are no unions to look after workers in this space - pure capitalism by billionaires is not fun for the workers. Clearly the executives at IBM are setting things up to retire on an uptick.

Hope this is a rumor and not news - but it feels like something about to happen....

Drank the Coolaid | May 06, 2007 | 11:21PM

This is typical. These idiots in the US want to outsource every last white collar position. This point would be confirmed in the recent artice in the Seattle times; these executuve jerks want to outsource at least 40 million jobs over the next ten years. This is the true rqace to the bottom. Do these creeps even know they are canabalizing their own customer base? They probably don't care anyway. Because after all, as long as the share price goes up in the short term, that's all the really matters right?

Zeke | May 06, 2007 | 11:35PM

"

Declan

No new products...?? Let's see, IBM came out with DB2 Viper recently. IBM is coming out with Notes 8, Lotus Quickr and a new version of Sametime. IBM also has a new Proventia product from ISA. So after all of this you are trying to tell us that IBM has now new products.

"

Clearly, you truly are clueless, as one poster already stated.

Let me step back to your original comment, that IBM is "too smart" to just "sell off a unit instead of fixing it." Hmm, shall I go down the list? PC Company (now Lenovo) Storage systems division (now part of Hitachi DS) Only reason Software group hasn't been sold off is that's it's not worth anything, to an outside company that is. Yes, IGS has a substantial portfolio TODAY. However, how many of those customer are going to jump ship as SLAs are broken, IBM goes into breach, and customer sat is a thing of the past? Would you like to put money on that bet? IBM's made it clear that they would sell your office chair and require you to stand in front of your desk if they thought it would get the upper execs a larger bonus. You think they'll hesitate to sell off services? Don't forget the original IGS was a subsidiary of IBM, made that way because at the time services was a huge gamble for IBM. Once they realized what a cash cow services would be, they merged ISSC into IBM and the rest is history.

Now, back to products. Sure, they ship upgrades to software producst periodically. Notes? Latest and greatest bloatware. Other Lotus products? When's the last time you saw an update for SmartSuite? Sametime? Who cares? For the most part Sametime barely functions internally. IBM bought ISS to get the Proventia products, so that hardly counts. Server group continues to pump out updates to hardware, same with storage, etc etc. And yes, individually these groups make modest profits. But that pales in comparison to the next billion dollar 10 year outsourcing agreement that combines not only IBM hardware and software, but also expensive LABOR to tie it all together. And as I have stated, those contracts are going to disappear once customers see the breakage that will be happening at IGS.

"get real" yourself, and try knowing what you're talking about before spouting off more uneducated opinions.

canned +1 | May 06, 2007 | 11:52PM

Totally agree with prufrock and HelpNot. IBM doesn't need to lay off 150k....just maybe a few layers of management and a good few executives who have got it totally wrong and won't admit it.

The problem is not that offshoring is cheaper by any means, but just that IBM's onshore operations are so broken and crippled by bureaucracy and a ridiculously divisive matrix structure making them unnecessarily expensive. Most IBMers could be doing 10 times as much work if they didn't have to deal with a crappy application like ManageNow, plus about 5 disparate teams for EVERY change ticket and every problem ticket. Granted, Business Controls are needed given Sarbanes-Oxley etc, but these should not be allowed to prevent techies doing their jobs efficiently.

I fail to see how offshoring is going to be cheaper, if they are going to be stifled by exactly the same bureaucracy and inefficient tools in India and China.

Internal tools are already "supported" offshore. The quotes are deliberate: I know of one person who removed a particular tool from his laptop in disgust after failing to get problems with it resolved by someone in India who just kept sending canned replies two or three days later.

IBM started going down the tubes when Gerstner got rid of Watson's 3 basic beliefs. Nowadays they are the exact opposite - disrespect for the individual, disservice to the customer, and the pursuit of mediocrity. In fact most of corporate America is going to go down the tubes unless some heroes with moral fibre and integrity take over and totally ignore Wall Street's voracious appetite for EPS. EPS is a flawed measure because it is open to abuse...IBM's flat revenues in the US can only mean EPS is coming from cost cuts, and a lower number of shares outstanding due to buybacks. The share price may be $100 plus, up from a low of $70 or so, but based on what, exactly? Do IBM's recent results merit a $30 increase in the stock price? No, they do not.

The real measure should be revenue growth, cash flow, and growth in shareholder equity.

If the mindless bureaucracy within IBM is removed and instead of layoffs, employees are redeployed into sales/marketing roles, AND treated with respect, then IBM has a good chance of becoming a real force in the US which absolutely it needs to be before offshoring can work and also to be able to exploit new markets -- who's going to buy IBM products in if they know nobody buys IBM products in the US anymore? Sadly, this isn't going to happen because the executive team are so deep in a gorge walled by stock options and their own self-importance that they are too blinkered to see the obvious.

pinkslipsoon | May 06, 2007 | 11:55PM

Is IBM also going to move its corporate HQ to avoid laying off the CEO and all his cronies?
At YE 2006, IBM had nearly 356,000 employees.
Also, 65% of them (231,000) were outside the
US. That leaves 125,000 employees in the US
(which probably include those on H1B and other
work visas). So if IBM is going to lay off
150,000 in the US, they better start hiring
another 25,000 to meet that lay off quota (or
maybe they can bring over 25,000 H1B to lay
off - of course, since the H1Bs will be
cheaper, the write-off will be reduced
accordingly). Maybe Bill Gates or Larry
Ellison will bid on the dregs after the
lay-offs. As to the numbers, see Chart 3
on page 8 and bottom of page 10 of the
2006 IBM Annual report.

ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/annualreport/2006/2006_ibm_annual.pdf

Bob C. | May 07, 2007 | 12:11AM

I don't work for IBM, but in December 2006 I layed off 75 workers and hired equivalents in Guangzhou, China. I couldn't be happier with the results. They work just as hard, are just as skilled, but they want $10/hour at the high end.

Sorry if that's "mean", but it's business, deal with it. Until someone fixes the RMB (yuan), that's life.

Skaven | May 07, 2007 | 1:05AM

Outsourcing has not saved my company any money, it has actually cost more and lowered quality of critical software. From my observation, people who don't know your business product should not be coding it, they introduce errors that can't all be found. People who don't personally care about your business, not good either.

In 2000 in the US, a lot of people who shouldn't be coding were attracted to the field by the huge money, it is likely the same in countries where programmers make 4x the average salary or more. Places where they buy CMMI 5 licences to look good, which is an old IBM boondoggle BTW.

tod | May 07, 2007 | 1:20AM

IBM has hired several tens of thousands of employees from acquired companies recently and IBM Global Services Americas is one of the only regions not experiencing growth. Given these conditions, it would be irresponsible not to consider some sort of refocus.

Will IBM lay off a few thousand? Quite possibly. It's entire US workforce? Maybe not.

Saxon B. | May 07, 2007 | 1:25AM

Hi, I'm currently an IBMGS employee in Australia. And let me tell you, the LEAN project is in full swing over here. They are that scrugey I was promoted... and I've been in my new job for nearly 6 months now. And my pay has not been changed to my new rate. Even better, get this, I haven't even been told what my new salary is going to be! Management are blind fools, and know nothing about managing employees. They don't take any notice. So... I'm looking for a new job! And nearly every other person on my team is as well. What the LEAN process doesn't kill... the remaining employee will leave due to it's lack of recognition and support.

Unhappy IBMer | May 07, 2007 | 1:37AM

Skaven since your project is going so well - you're fired (also replaced by someone in China)

Bob | May 07, 2007 | 1:41AM

Always knew LEAN stood for Less Employee's Are Needed.

Maybe I can finally get a package...

IBMGS Employee | May 07, 2007 | 2:35AM

Very well said...IBM needs to get its act right...

IPTV | May 07, 2007 | 2:47AM

Good thing I quit about 1 month ago!
But then again...if you are doing repetitive work-you are unfortunately in the current day and age "ripe" for retrenchment.

milmber | May 07, 2007 | 3:42AM

I was wondering why IBM is having such a big recruitment drive here in South-Africa. Their market share is farely small here. I couldn't quite comprehend who they intended to service. That was until I read this article!

GuyInSA | May 07, 2007 | 3:45AM

LEAN will surely be a paragon of altruism, just think of all those Indian and Chinese jobs being created for the great good of globalisation.

IBM is just getting in early as a US/EU team player.

And you buy the above, I have a fine bridge shaped like a coathanger in Sydney for sale.

Novista | May 07, 2007 | 3:49AM

***********************************************
To IBM customers, shareholders, employees, those recently layed-off and soon to be layed-off, and those who were there in its glory days:

To voice your concerns about what is going on at IBM in general, especially those who have reported improprieties in the execution of the LEAN program, you should make your voice heard to IBM's NON-MANAGING DIRECTORS. (That would be far more productive than, say, Bob's blog :)

You can initiate contact at IBM Non-Management Directors, c/o Chair, IBM Directors and Corporate Governance Committee, International Business Machines Corporation, Mail Drop 390, New Orchard Road, Armonk, NY 10504, or nonmanagementdirectors@us.ibm.com.

A letter-writing campaign from both current and ex-employees could be a very powerful thing.

***********************************************

Here's what you CAN do | May 07, 2007 | 4:04AM

Great read. We are being outsourced to IBM GS. This story and specially the comment gives great hope for the future.

Oh Well | May 07, 2007 | 6:06AM

This is not surprising. Palmisano has been on a continuing cost-cutting to prop up profits while his overall strategy continues to sputter. That "strategy" relied on real growth/profits coming from Services, where he cited a $500 billion untapped opportunity in what he called "Business Performance Transformation Services", or BPTS. This promptly made it into all the executive and Investor Relations presentations/discussions a year or so ago and was the central focus for the company's growth and future. Yet, notice it is no longer referenced at all. The opportunity was imaginary. IBM's capability to capture any that did exist fell short. Of the thousands of consultants IBM brought in with their acquisition of Price Waterhouse (where the billions spent were largely to acquire expertise/relationships -- i.e. people), how many are still with IBM? As they've left and IBMers have filled the void, how has their service quality suffered? People -- such as the Board of Directors -- shoulod be asking such questions before they give Palmisano another bonus package, much less let him execute this current set of actions.

bill | May 07, 2007 | 6:32AM

How many more retarded people are going to post how the numbers aren't accurate? I think we all got that point made by all the other IBM sympathizers that pointed it out in previous comments. Maybe all of the people reposting the same "YOUR NUMBERS ARE WRONG" should be outsourced for your lack of ability to comprehend what you are reading. You're a freaking genius Bob C. I'm sure your Sam P. will give you a treat and half an hour without the leash next time you go to the park.

For the rest of us - let's not divide everyone on this issue by blaming it on politics - or even OS holy wars - keep the crosshairs on the greedy upper management of IBM.

Send a letter to your local newspaper, call in to a talk radio show, post on the internet, write your Congressman - expose this treasonous greed to the American People, so even if it can't be stopped, at least we can tell people that if they don't want to see the middle class die, not to patronize these companies.

IrvingS | May 07, 2007 | 6:45AM

Boris is an idiot! Any bloating comes from upstairs. And no the bulk of the intellect has not left IBM. The only thing Sam cares about is his golden parachute and Wall Street. The days of caring about your employees has long gone at IBM. I say we outsource the management team to some place in Iraq.

Terry | May 07, 2007 | 7:36AM

Well this seems to be the way Corporate America is headed. It seems as if they have forgotten about the people that got them where they are now. As soons as most of these people reach the top all they want is more bonuses in their pockets and the way to get that is outsource as much work as they can with America's middle class suffers. Every time you dial up a number you have to punch in a number if you want to speak English. This is not the way I want to live.

P.S. I would say give old "Palmisano" the boot and keep all the hard working American's employed.

William Crawford | May 07, 2007 | 7:49AM

I work for IBM Canada. This "Lean" Project is also going on here. People were given "Forced Packages" last week.

Susan | May 07, 2007 | 7:51AM

I work for IBM Canada. This "Lean" Project is also going on here. People were given "Forced Packages" last week.

Susan Huges | May 07, 2007 | 7:54AM

It's not just IBM that's doing this; other major outsourcers are.

I've already told some of my neighbors who are in high school to not bother going into either accounting or anything IT related, as those are the jobs that are being offshored at a terrific rate.

Bob, you have it right when you say that companies want cheap labor. Four years ago we were told we weren't paid enough for our work, and with almost no increase in pay since then, we're now told that we're too expensive for our work. The companies don't want people who are paid $50k a year, they want people who are paid $20k a year.

In Europe, the people in our division believe that their governments are going to start stepping in to prevent these job losses, probably jeopardizing the Free Trade agreements, but they feel that their governments will eventually have to do something. In the US, good luck with that.

Michael | May 07, 2007 | 8:10AM

I recently got a taste of outsourcing. I phoned in to a large computer company for technical assistance on the use of their software. After inumerable routings I ended up with a rep in India. He could not solve my problem. I called 9 more times - exactly the same result from 10 different Indian reps. Finally, on the 10th call an American answered. In 3 easy steps he solved my problem. I would rather pay more for software for this kind of service, than a lower price for mediocre service.

Dave | May 07, 2007 | 8:43AM

The beauty of IT is that you can't protect it building up a wall around Mexico. Cheers to the free market...

Daniel | May 07, 2007 | 8:47AM

Well, some of your facts are right. You credit IBM with 350,000 employees. That is worldwide. That is the entire IBM worforce--Global Services, sales, manufacturing, headquarters, etc.. Then you claim that IBM plans to lay off half of its Global Services workers in the U.S., and put that number at 150,000. Hmmm. Things don't add up, do they. Please don't let facts get in the way of a good story.

Russ | May 07, 2007 | 8:49AM

I agree with Russ. I mean there are only 150,000 employees in ALL of IBM Global Services. So how is cutting 150,000 jobs equal to 50%? If this guy doesn't even have the simplest facts straight, why would anyone listen to him? Doesn't PBS have fact checkers and editors that look at articles before they are posted? I'm very disappointed in PBS for even allowing this article to get online. So much for supporting public broadcasting. This is just public gossiping at its worst.

Lisa | May 07, 2007 | 9:19AM

Other commenters - It's always easy to say in order to expand the "free market", losing American jobs is a small sacrifice. Until you lose your own job, that is. Increased purchasing power means little when we are unemployed.

Don | May 07, 2007 | 9:21AM

Regarding Russ's comment: Out of 350,000, 50,000 are probably "managers", so a 50% cut in the work force would be 150,000. In general, Americam business is highly "over managed". By that I mean they (managers) are paid more than the work they do is worth, and there are more of them than is necessary.

I suggest IBM cut the top half of their managers and save twice the cost of cutting 3 times as many workers. That would keep the work force (who actually do work) viable. Then no off-shoring is required.

Of course no manager would ever promote that.


John Wade | May 07, 2007 | 9:22AM

Don, give me your job already. Har har.

Daniel | May 07, 2007 | 9:29AM

I retired from the IT contracting rat race years ago. Companies thought that they could save money by hiring “less expensive” contractors to perform jobs that required a high level of technical expertise. What they got were workers who took twice as long to produce half the results. Do the math! As for the degraded level of service to end users, as time passed it became the acceptable level of service...

Bill Arther | May 07, 2007 | 9:35AM

This article is so true. You have to be an IBM employee to understand this.

Mike D | May 07, 2007 | 9:37AM

So far, LEAN hasn't touched me personally, but I've watched it get friendly with 2 co-workers already.

The first one was meeting with his newly installed boss for the first time and was laid off in his "get-to-know-you" meeting. He's a server admin, so technical staff.

The second one didn't get cut, but half the people in her group did (don't know exact number). She's a technical administration assistant (not secretarial type, but in charge of all the contractual paperwork for accounts).

There isn't a single one of us IBM'ers here that think LEAN is logical, intelligent or good for business.

The ONLY thing we've found about it that is "positive" is that it will start hitting mid-level management where it hurts: In the Bonuses. Sam and his cronies will still be pulling in million dollar bonuses, but field managers will start missing theirs entirely due to missed SLA's and failing Customer Satisfaction ratings.

M.Q. Pippin | May 07, 2007 | 9:42AM

As a long time employee of IBM in Global Services, I have seen a steady decline in quality and capability as jobs have been sent to India and elsewhere. I am just short of having 18 years with the company and have gotten the short end of the stick in my retirement benefits and health care plans. All the while, the IBM leadership team has netted millions of dollars in personal wealth and don't have a worry about retiring into poverty.

The stock price rules and common sense and decency go out the door. No one is satisfied with steady growth, they all want instant gratification with double digit returns so they can buy their McMansions and BMW's. When is anyone going to take this lesson and be satisfied with less so that everyone has a chance to enjoy a modest good life, and continue to provide quality services that have been the hallmark of the American worker. We invented outsourcing services and have continued to refine and improve it over the years.

The IBM leadership team is selling the company down the river, but has presented it in such as way as to mask the reality of what they're actually doing.

The stock may soar when cheap labor replaces American workers, but this is short-sighted and
is equivalent to a thousand tornadoes wiping out years of what people have worked for in a blink of an eye.

In my view, this is no different from the Enron scandal. The IBM leadership reap the rewards, while the people who actually have made the company worth anything get squashed.

Ultimately, the current leadership team will leave in their golden chariots and the issues they're creating will have to be solved by someone else.

John | May 07, 2007 | 9:48AM

Since the vast majority of IGS employees are currently doing perform work under binding multi-year contracts to outside customers, IGS cannot just "swap out" workers whenever they want! There may be some sort of plan to increase the number of offshore workers in future contracts as current ones expire and are not renewed, but this is a process that would have to unfold over several years not a few months. Ultimately it will be the customers that decide if an "800" number is an acceptable alternative to someone they can deal with face to face.

One more IGS Employee | May 07, 2007 | 9:48AM

For those in the Canada region in IGS - can anybody tell us what the Forced Packages were? ie, were they 1 week per year of service - which might be the legal minimum?..I will likely be next for the chop so wouldn't mind knowing.

Dirk | May 07, 2007 | 9:56AM

IBM employs about 350.000 people worldwide - so I think that you messed up the numbers. If they dropped 150.000 people - the company would loose half of their world wide employees and.. erm - sorry, but that is unrealistic! better get your numbers right there!

jack | May 07, 2007 | 9:57AM

A rather controversy stirring article with many errors. An intelligent person would have to dismiss this in it's entirety based upon the gross inaccuracies that were stated as facts. Before writing such a piece, the author should have consulted the annual report so as to get the numbers correct at the very least. One other telling point besides the numbers mis-quote, IBM refers to these kind of things as "resource actions" not "job actions".

ferret | May 07, 2007 | 10:15AM

LEAN = Layoff Every American Now

jim | May 07, 2007 | 10:16AM

For everyone wingeing about the people wingeing about the number of employees - get a life. Probably 90% of people commenting on this article aren't going to read all the comments - they respond to the article itself. And the 150,000/50% figure looks very wrong to me...

Tom | May 07, 2007 | 10:19AM

Palmisano and Longseth are taking IBM down the road of ruin! But why should they care? They will ultimately get their golden parachutes while the rest of IBM'ers get laid off with nothing. Shades of Enron - it may not go down the same way but will end up with the same results. The professionals that make up IBM tech (IGS) will leave and go to EDS, Siemens, Raytheon, CNI, and other tech companies that will replace IBM while IBM becomes a "Third World Tech Company" serving India, Brazil, China, Argentina, etc. No self respecting company will let IBM touch (outsource) even their JANITORIAL Services in a few years!

Laid off in 1st round '07 | May 07, 2007 | 10:20AM

ferret - an apt name, since you share approximately the same brain size. If there are ANY inaccuracies in the is article and the accompanying posts by IBM employees who know exactly what is going on, it is the numbers, and the numbers only. If you want to keep flogging that dead horse, please by all means continue. You only make yourself appear to be someone that reads at approximately a first-grade level, a top-level IBM executive, or a ferret. All the same, very little difference between the 3.

fedup | May 07, 2007 | 10:23AM

While there are some inaccuracies, many of the things in the artice ring true. You can bet more cuts are coming. The question is...when will it stop?

someone | May 07, 2007 | 10:32AM

Jack, read the article, it stated IBM would be replacing 1 for 1 US empolyees with overseas employees. This is VERY DOABLE, and I'm 3.5 years short of being fully vested in the pension IBM is freezing at the end of 2007. Sure isn't the IBM I remember hiring into in 1978!

Joe | May 07, 2007 | 10:33AM

This appears to be shameless fear-mongering UNION PROPAGANDA. There will likely be a reasonable layoff, but nothing like what is suggested here. Hey Cringely, get your facts straight.

Perplexed | May 07, 2007 | 10:34AM

I have worked with IBM GS folks, as well as EDS folks and Accenture folks. The vast majority of them were either not worth what the were getting paid, or just completely broken by their own management. As far as outsourcing, while I am sure there are many capable people in India, China, etc, the vast majority of them are as useless as the people they are replacing.

Personally, I think if you want good service, go to a smaller IT professional services company. They know they have to work harder than the big guys, but they are also more nimble, and customer focussed because they have to be. They also don't care about Wall Street, because Wall Street doesn't care about them, for the most part. Nobody sees my financial statements except for my CPA, the IRS, and my banker (if I want a loan).

I have been working as an independent consultant for about seven years, and I have not been without work except for one six-week period a couple of years ago. I work with other folks like me, and I feel I provide a better value for the dollar than the big guys. I think many of the more experienced people let go by IBM GS could do the same, if they really wanted to, and even the less experienced could do well if they are willing to work really hard.

To be sure running things yourself is a lot of work - you have to find your own jobs, negotiate the contracts, get your own health insurance, set up your own retirement plans, pay for your own training and travel expenses, deal with taxes, etc, but you get to keep the profit and YOU are the management of your company, for better or worse. I find I don't work any more hours than I did as a salaried employee, and I get paid better.

Frankly, most companies don't view it in their best interests to treat their employees any better than they absolutely have to. If you are expecting a company to "take care of you" in this era, you are deluding yourself.

There are exceptions, sure, but these are few and far between and have their own obstacles. Take Google, for example - do some research on their job interview methodology, just to see what it takes to get in the door. I might as well work for myself, the way I see it. I am the only one who TRULY has my own best interests as the number one priority.

One other thing - the vast majority of the people worrying about foreclosure, losing their cars, etc because they are losing their jobs are not be managing their finances right. I am sure they think they NEED everything they spend money on, especially the stuff they buy on credit, but the fact is that most people live beyond their means when times are good. These same people start whining "the government should do something" whenever the going gets tough. Basically they are corporate tools who believe all the ads etc that tell them what they need, and how they can get it on credit. This keeps them one pay check from disaster, and makes them good corporate wage slaves.

I personally have NEVER had a car note (neither has my wife), and I drive a pretty nice car right now. A car is not an investment, it is an expense - most people should NEVER buy a car on credit, but that is what most people do. Another financial problem is buying more house than you need or can afford, especially if you do so with little or no money down, and get stupid loans like ARMs and interest-only. I started out dirt poor, as did my wife, and we don't have any money that we didn't make personally. I am in my early 40s, and if I lost my current contract today, we could live at least six months without dipping into our retirement savings or anything else, and we've got rental property I'm paying a note on while I try to sell it in this dismal real estate market. These means we pay two mortgages right now, both 15 year notes with more at least 20% down. The rental house mortgage is about the same as the one for my own house.

The people who are losing their homes are mostly the ones who kept refinancing and pulling out cash, thereby ensuring they never have any significant equity. Everybody knows real estate always goes up, right? I even think that is generally true, but real estate has highs and lows like anything else, and it is NOT particularly liquid - it takes a lot of effort to sell a house.

If you doubt what I say, read the book "The Millionaire Next Door". Most "real" self-made millionaires (eg actually have a significant amount of money in the bank) don't sip champagne and eat caviar while riding in their limos from their estates to their kids private schools - they drink beer and drive pick up trucks or something to and from their modest houses in nice neighborhoods with good public schools. You don't become a millionaire by spending a lot of money.

The bottom line is you need to take care of yourself - that's not your employer's responsibility, or the governments.

Who? Me? | May 07, 2007 | 10:38AM

I work for IBM Global Services, and everyone I know is leaving as fast as they can find something else.
IBM currently has a tremendous shortage of skilled IT workers and a tremendous surplus of spread sheet auditing, procedure writing, non value added personnel.
To address LEAN specifically, obviously they are not going to layoff 100k US workers as that would mean 90% of the US workforce - but there are plenty of Europeans that are going to feel the axe. And that does not mean that we are not going to have - oh - 20k layoffs.
IBM has made it quite clear they are moving overseas, and would we be kind enough to train our replacements and keep working while they come up to speed.
The people cut from our account were either contractors, lower skilled or more marginal performers - not that anyone deserves to be cut.
The problems with IBM at least on this account are irreversible - middle management on up are arrogant and completely out of touch. The customer completely out negotiated the fools that IBM sent, resulting in the account being a money loser. So they have to either grow additional revenue, or cut costs.
Problem is - talking with other people on other GS accounts, it is the same there.
If IBM shows up at your door, get your resume together and immediately start looking.

Big Blue | May 07, 2007 | 10:40AM

This is an interesting situation that should start with an understanding of Wall Street and roles. Different companies serve different roles on Wall Street. The most desireable role is that of the Wall Street darling, a firm that grows and becomes more profittable quarter after quarter. In time all firms hit a plateau where additional growth and profit becomes very hard. Microsoft reach this point a few years ago. While Microsoft is still a wildly profittable and successful company, they are at a plateau and their stock is no longer the darling of Wall Street. Older, more mature firms often serve a different purpose on Wall Street. They are the "safe" steady earners. They are well managed and weather economic downturns gracefully. In a bull market, investors follow th e "darling" stocks. In a bear market, they move their money to the "safe" stocks.


From an age and size point of view, IBM can not be a "darling" stock. They could be a "safe" stock if they managed their business well. The problem here is IBM senior management does not know their role. They are not trying to manage a "safe" stock well. Instead they are trying to turn the company into a "darling" stock. Management is about to do bold things to make the company appear to be more profittable, more exciting in the eyes of Wall Street. This will work for a few quarters. However IBM will not be able to sustain growth or increasing profitability for the long term. After a few years the internal damage to IBM will become apparant. Business will faulter and the stock price will crash. IBM will be a shadow of its former self.


The problem is IBM's exec's do not understand or accept the companies proper role on Wall Street. They want the company to be a "darling" when it should be a "safe" stock instead. They also do not know how to properly manage either a "darling" or "safe" business. The best way to deal with this type of problem is to let the exec's have their stock options, but restrict them from exercising them for about 10 years. This would force them to manage the company for the long term, not a quick win in the stock market. Also, it may motivate them to retire early -- which could be a good thing too.

knowyourrole | May 07, 2007 | 10:41AM

i was just informed that i was part of the next resource action plan (itd productivity initiatives action (ipir)). i will be released 1 week shy of 25 years, which means reduced benefits from the buy-out package because i have less than 25 years and i will be unable to make ibm's coveted quarter century club. I am sad and i think i was unfairly let go but life goes on.

dave | May 07, 2007 | 10:46AM

I seriously doubt the 150,000 number ( I think there's one 0 too many in that figure). I also seriously doubt that people on H1 visas can replace US jobs that easily in the near term - especially when it comes to customer visits and setting up and integrating things on the customer site. However, in the long run the trend is inevitable. Somehow these near term hurdles will be crossed. The writing is on the wall. IBM is hiring like crazy in India. Nothing stops Indian IBM employees from making business visits to the US and collaborating with a much smaller set of US IBM employees to get the job done much cheaper. I am not sure but I dont think H1 visas are strictly necessary for short term visits. Business visas suffice. The model is hence entirely workable and I am sure it will happen sooner or later.

undisclosed | May 07, 2007 | 10:48AM

Let's be honest about where IBM is going.

Suggestion: Change of Incorporation Name.
IBM is ancient history.

WHY hire American PROfessionals? India is far "cheaper, better, faster." (Myth)

Well, then: WIPRO

Armonk, see if it is already taken?

Robert Eisenhardt | May 07, 2007 | 10:54AM

Most people outside of IBM don't realize that there is probably vastly LESS fat inside of IBM than at other companies. This is because IBM has been steadily laying off tens of thousands for many years. We call these "rolling layoffs". Often, IBM will layoff someone from one team and hire the SAME skill in another team (different people). The respondents who think this is just fat being eliminated should try eliminating that glob of lipids and gristle dangling from that stalk of a neck they have for all the good it does them (or anyone else for that matter). The lack of rational thought among some people and this tendency to blame the victim truly disgusts me.

What these amoral ignoramuses don't understand (among many other things I am sure) is that because of PAST layoffs, the average worker in IBM has less than 5 years of experience at IBM. There are some oldtimers who've been around for a long time but they are called Management for the most part, and will be thrilled to see a short-term gain in a moribund stock at the expense of the long-term health of the company. Most experienced technical people are long gone or retiring in short order.

I am not sure how accurate these rumors are, but it is consistent with past behavior. Many IBMers are excellent, and are not the cause of their own demise; this is about the short-term gain by the executive elite; it is that simple. The sense of entitlement by the executive body at IBM is beyond belief.

Incidentally, I can confirm that the quality of work from my colleagues in India is quite poor. I am sure a lot of this is due to lack of experience (they are firing the experienced people in the 1st world, if you recall) but the fact remains, they do awful work. A U.S.-based architect spends 40% more time detailing what the India teams should do---down to the pixel level---and if you make a booboo, expect that booboo to be faithfully reproduced in the final system. It used to be that a U.S.-based developer, capable of independent thinking, would complement you and catch mistakes or fill in any missing detail. Until you've worked with one of these 3rd world teams, you will be astounded by how much is missing that previously was just "background knowledge" you never had to explain to anyone.

I will confirm that Cringely's numbers are off. But I wouldn't be surprised to see 75 thousand heads roll over the next two years, all American. Our higher cost of living makes us targets, no matter how good we are or how hard we work. This is all about executive compensation, after all, the rights of a few. Palmisano and his supporters in Washington will have achieved more destruction to America than the collective terrorist attacks against America to date.

Jimbo | May 07, 2007 | 11:00AM

IBM Executive VP Exercises Options
Thursday May 3, 3:46 pm ET

IBM Executive VP Nicholas M. Donofrio Exercises Options for 100,000 Shares
NEW YORK (AP) -- An executive vice president of International Business Machines Corp. exercised options for 100,000 shares of common stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

In a Form 4 filed with the SEC Wednesday, Nicholas M. Donofrio reported he exercised the shares Tuesday for $51.16 apiece and then sold 98,046 of them the same day for $102.06 to $102.58 apiece.

ibm employee | May 07, 2007 | 11:07AM

If you can't beat 'em, join them. I was moving to India, anyway. Fabulous place to live, especially, the Hawaii-like State of Kerala. You make less there, but your expenses are less, as well. $1= Rs. 47.

Jerry Garner | May 07, 2007 | 11:12AM

Wealth is like liquid. Flow of liquid follows the laws of physics. Liquid always finds the lowest spot - other factors being the same.

Similarly, outsourcing (therefore flow of wealth) will always go to the least expensive countries - other factors such as quality of service, etc. being equal.

If "other factors" are not the same, market laws (another natural law) will take effect.

Fighting against a natural law is futile.

Sukumar Roy | May 07, 2007 | 11:27AM

"Palmisano and his supporters in Washington will have achieved more destruction to America than the collective terrorist attacks against America to date."

I second that.

James Nisler | May 07, 2007 | 11:27AM

I don't think exact number of lay offs is important. What I would definitely be worried about if I was running the HR at IBM is the lack of morale, disappointment and everything else that you can see in the comments to a not so good article (lacking facts) after all. What IBM should really do is follow Intel's path (if that was really the case) by removing unnecessary middle management with no purpose whatsoever and save a lot of money along the way.

It certainly isn't fun working in this company anymore. And I come from one of the better doing regions on the globe.

Got Blues? | May 07, 2007 | 11:35AM

perhaps the execs should start outsourcing some of the executive positions to REALLY save money.

ibmemployee | May 07, 2007 | 11:36AM


So, here's an email chain that pretty much shows the level of commitment IBM has to its long-term employees. Rather funny. Enjoy!


Randy MacDonald/Armonk/IBM
04/03/2007 12:01 PM

To
(Name Withheld)
cc

Subject
Re: Fw: Your Anniversary with IBM


I tried to be responsive and congratulatory. Your bitterness and disrepect
for IBM is disappointing. You work for IBM but I don't believe you are an
IBM'er. No need to reply we have nothing in common.
-----------------
Randy MacDonald
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
New Orchard Road, Armonk, NY 10504
jrmac@us.ibm.com
-----------------
Sent from my BlackBerry Handheld.

-----------------------
----- Original Message -----

From: (Name Withheld)
Sent: 04/03/2007 11:55 AM
To: Randy MacDonald
Subject: Re: Fw: Your Anniversary with IBM

Exactly what does change have to do with the fact that I worked for IBM
for 25 years, not "IBM and a previous employer"...?

Never mind, your reply is exactly what I would have expected. Meaningless
and obscure and not to any point that concerns me.

-------------------------

Randy MacDonald/Armonk/IBM
04/03/2007 11:46 AM

To
(Name Withheld)
cc

Subject
Re: Fw: Your Anniversary with IBM

Change is often difficult and all of us must adapt. Regardless enjoy the
moment.

Randy MacDonald
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
New Orchard Road, Armonk, NY 10504
jrmac@us.ibm.com
---------------------
(Name Withheld)
04/02/2007 09:30 AM

To
Randy MacDonald/Armonk/IBM@IBMUS
cc
Subject
Fw: Your Anniversary with IBM

Mr. MacDonald,

The certificate I got for my 25th, as well as your note, are appreciated
but the phrase "25 year anniversary of combined service with IBM and your
previous employer" grates on my sensibilities. If combined was truly the
case I would be celebrating my 29th year yesterday. I joined IBM in 1977,
was laid off by Gerstner in 1994 along with a lot of other people, got
hired by TSS in 1995 and then came back into IBM in 1999 when TSS was
dissolved. They gave me my old serial number back but converted my
service record date to 04/1982.

Bottom line is, I have worked proudly for IBM for 25 full years and
equally proudly with TSS for an additional four years (for which I will
never receive gratitude from IBM it seems) and to receive accolades for my
"combined service of 25 years" with IBM and previous employer is an
insult. Unless the feeling now is that the old Big Blue before Gerstner
is really a previous employer.

The old IBM is obviously dead and under the cloak of "competitiveness" all
of our old traditions are being trivialized. My manager lives in
California so he sent me my 25th package, but he never even bothered to
take out the pamphlet with instructions on how to make the receiver feel
good about the award; how the manager should make sure the receipient gets
treated well.... Basically, here... thanks alot... I can't get a 25th
lunch because he lives on the west coast and can't get travel money to
come to me and I can't go to him, and a surrogate manager to sponsor a
lunch is out. I tried that with a manager in Minneapolis. I thought I
might be traveling there around this time and I asked him if he would be
interested in taking members of the team I work with and myself out to
lunch for my 25th. He had no idea what that was all about! It is really
sad.

But thanks for your good wishes such as they are.

----------

To
(Name Withheld)
cc

Subject
Your Anniversary with IBM

April 1, 2007

Congratulations (Name Withheld) on reaching a significant milestone at IBM -- your 25
year anniversary of combined service with IBM and your previous employer.
In commemoration of this milestone, please select an IBM Quarter Century
gift of your choice from the Michael C. Fina Company website at
http://www.finaawards.com/ (access code 2717). Please note, when entering
your IBM serial number, you must add a "C" to the end, in order to login
to the website. (Example: 123456C)

IBM's most important innovation is -- and has always been -- the IBMer.
Our people are the living proof of our company values and their passion,
dedication and integrity underscore IBM's many achievements over the
years.

Thank you for your service to IBM. Your contributions have helped ensure
that IBM continues to be one of the greatest companies in the world.


Randy MacDonald
Senior VP, Human Resources

Jay Cash | May 07, 2007 | 11:38AM

Let´s not forget that we are not only speaking of hiring within IBM (IBM US jobs going to IBM India) the trend for years within IBM Global Services has been to hire other "smaller" companies to do the work and no actual IBM employee (or very few) are actually at the client´s site. Even within IBM you can now see many temp´s or vendor´s working within their site´s. These layoffs of thousands have been done already, there are less than 500 employees in some major IBM sites, almost everybody is a vendor these days. That is the new IBM business model. Then we can speak of the total mess some of these workers from other companies do with an already stupid contract IBM signed, since it is impossible to make a profit without other than slave labor working on these signings, this has actually bankrupted many small firms that IBM has hired to bail them out. So really, this is not news, this has been done already, only not in the US where they have the best of the best benefits very different from the rest of the Americas sites. Sorry guys, welcome to the IBM many of us have known for years. Yes, I am an IBM employee going for my second decade.

Fernando | May 07, 2007 | 11:39AM

This is not an issue of the bottom line but of corporate executive greed. This is not exclusive to IBM but an alarming reality across corporate America. If the company is losing money, fire the executives making the bad decisions not the employees who actually earn money for the company. While employees are let go or salaries reduced, the executive total compensation package is increased usually by 20-30%. When is enough, enough?!?! When the executives are already millionaires, why do they need to be multi-millionaires? Why aren't executives incented to keep american jobs? We don't need to worry about terrorists destroying our way of live, executive greed is already doing it!

Concerned American | May 07, 2007 | 11:40AM

I have been around IBM since 1988. That alone is considered centuries now. In fact it used to be nice to have that 10 or so years under your belt in order to assist the new hires that were once willing to learn, but now no one works in a particular job for more than a year without moving to another position in the company. They move around to protect themselves from being moved or to make more money. They money however is not THAT much different and the wake left behind is a sales force with nothing to sell.

A bit of history to the first "layoff" in 1991 or so. I was part of that. I was told "your job has been surplused". I politely asked what that meant since making $21k per year didnt seem like that much to part with for a company I looked up to in so many ways. They allowed me to find work somewhere else (very generous) and now I am still here wondering where the time has gone. Some friends have moved on, others up. Some WAY up at IBM and have truly lost touch with the real world. They have lost touch with what pays our bills. The client. Now I am not just speaking of IGS here. I am speaking of traditional sales. It has become a strange caricature of itself. The old days are far far gone, white shirts/blue suits. Now we sell from our homes, at our customers, passing things off to partners that may or may not take any ownership.

Someday in this country we all will have the benefit of the truth. From our government to our companies. You know, we CAN handle the truth when it makes sense and for the right reasons. Not for the CEO to make $18,000,000 and the people making our customers still smile making 1% of that. If that much. Just like our President has no idea what history is all about neither does our current management.

ibm employee | May 07, 2007 | 11:46AM

This is the price that american workers are paying to be so lazy.
No one really cared about the company business context before this new strategy was implemented.
If a problem came up 5 minutes before the time to go home, american workers just close their laptops and ignore the problem. The american way of thinking - "It's after hours so it's not my problem, I don't care" is now collecting it price.
We are in a new century, where globalization came to stay. Only the commited ones will survive.
Or american workers learn how to be selfstarters and teamplayers and start to care about the businees, or they will not have space to work in global companies like IBM in a very near future.
People in the BRIC - Brazil, Russia, India and China are extremelly commited and they easily replace 2 american workers with just one person.
The cost is one big factor but it's not the only one. Their cultures estimulates the hard work and the career development. People in US stays 10-15 years doing the same shit and almost never care enough to look for a new position or to grow up in their careers. So before blaming the CEO's, please start to blame yourselfs to have been lazy for all these years.
Take your ass off the chair and go look after your career before you have to apply to Taco Bell ...

August | May 07, 2007 | 11:47AM

I was in this most recent layoff. I am 58. I have 32 years but these last years were for me the time when I could have really accelerated saving for retirement. Alas I am not ready. But I do think this is age discriminatory.

One of the largest expenses that IGS has is the system administration of thousands of servers. It is highly labor intensive. So it looks like most of those jobs will go to IBM India where they will make less that half of what a sysadmin would make here in the US. I believe in concept of free
trade but in it's current form is is not fair trade.

When a country sells its means of production it may well initially have an influx of wealth, but poverty will shortly ensue. The means of production is the golden goose.

GPS | May 07, 2007 | 11:48AM

Well, Americans got 3 options: 1) do nothing (they're excellent at that), 2) national strike (the traditional non-violent approach as done by other countries when things get bad), or 3) the 1776 option (and we all know what that is). Prediction? Option 1. They have criminals running their businesses, and they have criminals running their government. They have greedy CEO's outsourcing their jobs, hiking up the price of gas and starting wars for oil companies. Globalization works for these criminals; it doesn't work for people like you and I.

gordonshumway | May 07, 2007 | 11:50AM

FIRE the bastards at the top. Thieves and parasites who live high off the hog off the backs of the rest of us. If I had my way, they would rot in jail with the rest of those so-called executives who were exposed for fraud.

K.Hoffman | May 07, 2007 | 11:50AM

My only hope is there's a mass revolt of customer who are sick of lousy service and 5,000-mile phone calls and they start bringing their workers back in to the corporate fold.

We call can't work at WelMart.
Flamethrower | May 04, 2007 | 6:21PM

Try 13,000 miles!

Anon | May 07, 2007 | 11:57AM

Wow! If only corporations could tap into the wisdom here. Techies who know exactly what to about R&D, marketing, management, international competition, corporate strategy, etc. It's astonishing that more of them haven't been promoted into senior positions where they can put their insights to good use. Give me a break.

XD5 | May 07, 2007 | 11:57AM

"This is the price that american workers are paying to be so lazy."

"NOT"
I do not agree with this statement. Here at IBM we were not lazy but rather dedicated and I would see many people going way above and beyond their scope of work to make it work.

I think what has finally happened as it has with the television market is that not only has the personal computer become a comodity but so too has
the larger systems.

GPS | May 07, 2007 | 11:58AM

XD5. I wonder what your position is? Title? How you got there? Maybe you are an international financier? Doubt it. Why dont you respond to me and I will give you a run down on a 6 month issue on an IBM product/customer/and management situation that goes all the way to the top of this company and how they have acted on it. You are a joke. I would imagine you have a "W" sticker on your vehicle as well. How about the wisdom behind the 8000 soldiers signing a petition for redress that no one hears about since the "leaders" are "on it". You give ME a break.

ibm employee | May 07, 2007 | 12:01PM

The days of loyalty are long gone. Family dinners , THINK magazine , IBM Means Service, 100% Club , Country Clubs , Quarter Century Clubs , et al are of past glory when joint loyalty prevailed and most worked hard as a result.Then came the CEO mentality and attitudes.Today only politicians and teachers get salary and benefit increases deserved or not while the retirees on fixed incomes pay more taxes to support this inequity.Would that our income be a share of the CEO figure!

D.Goudy | May 07, 2007 | 12:06PM

Back in 2005-06 IGS had a program called project 'Atlantic' this project wast to off-shore 50,000 jobs from Europe to the 'Centers-of-Excellence' in Bangalore, India. By the end of approximately 6 months of the project (of a one year projected plan)only 13,000 employees were actually let go. IBM ran into problems with the laws for the various countries in firing people, the severance pay was almost two years in some countries. In the U.S., only one month of severance is all that is needed to be paid - especially if you are given a bad review (a '3' status). So it is of no surprise IBM would let go of more US based employees, and hire for those same jobs in India for 1/3 the cost of even cheap U.S. India is not the only outsourcing countries, there is actually a top six and bottom six. Some of the top six include India, China & Latin America. IBM has many options where to ship jobs off to... In summary, jobs will continue to be off-shored from the U.S. as there are many cheaper options available world-wide. The question is, what is IBM's final plan look like, and is it really sustainable?

ex-IBMer | May 07, 2007 | 12:11PM

How come IBM's TV commercials ask "Are you special?" when they don't care if their employees are. Maybe the question is being asked of their stockholders.

Yeahboy | May 07, 2007 | 12:18PM

I have seen some bad journalism, but this article is by far the worst because of its lack of fact checking. It may have more credibility if the article cites 15,000 cuts rather than 150,000 cuts. Infosys, the largest Indian outsourcer, has 72,000 people WORLDWIDE and it took them years to build up that workforce. So how on earth can IBM replace 150,000 people in one year? They would not even have the campus in India or other countries to house this many people. So the article is purely for sensationalism with zero credibility.

CMC | May 07, 2007 | 12:20PM

I think this is all an effort by the top management at IBM to maximize profit (line their own pockets and those of the share holders) without regard to the American worker and his/her families. I am sick and tired of hearing about Americans being lazy! Time after time, survey after survey and study after study shows Americans are some of the best educated (real educations not Phds from the University of Bali) and are the hardest workers. I worked for a German company for 7 years, we worked 50-70 hour weeks in the US, but our German counterparts only worked 35 hour weeks. BTW they were paid more than we were also. I am also sick of calling help desks (Dell, HP, Circuit City etc) and getting someone who can not even communicate with me. I will gladly pay more for a product if I can get an english speaker to help when my product, that is made over seas has problems. I do not go in to buy a product with the thought that I am going to have to speak another language if I need help with it.

bww | May 07, 2007 | 12:21PM

August said "People in the BRIC - Brazil, Russia, India and China are extremelly commited and they easily replace 2 american workers with just one person."

August obviously doesn't work in IT at IBM. Experience and depth of knowledge is something that cannot be replaced on the spot by kids straight out of college. Not by 2, 20, or 200.

As for ignoring a call 5 minutes before time to go home, that doesn't happen, because most US people left work around the clock from home now.
And, even if that was true, tell me how that is different from spending an entire week to get a 5 minute fix from overseas because of the language & time problems, in addition to the lack of knowledge & experience?

fedup | May 07, 2007 | 12:21PM

My heart goes out to the IBMers that have given their work lives to a company that will lay them off before year end. I was one of those people 5 years ago, after 23 years of service. I had grown up in IBM so it was all I knew and actually, all I wanted to know. I was blue to the bone.......a company person. And although I was still contributing to the bottom line, one day myself and 40K others, were toss out on the over 40 heap. The good news is that it was probably the best thing that every happened to me. Financially it will take years to recover but I found out how well skilled I am and other companies did want to hire me. To all you soon to be ex-IBMers, get your resumes ready, dust off your suits, hold your heads high, and look forward to the ride. Tomorrow is a new day and there is a wonderful life outside Big Blue.

JMTR | May 07, 2007 | 12:24PM

Think Pad was sold. The Microelectronic div is a mony pit. IGS is the only milking cow left and the cow is quite sick. Regardless where it will be sent to, either India or China, its fate is sealed. The cow-keepers (upper managements) are sending it to the slaughter house and try to make the most out of it to enrich their pockets. This is the American spirits. I am glad I leart that long time ago. My friends at IBM, jump the ship now before it is gone down under the water.

jim keck | May 07, 2007 | 12:27PM

How about explaining the pension stuff in english. the plan is gone, its not funnded anymore why does it cost so much what does it mean to us retireies and what to OLD ibmers still working and new hires. And what about "vested rights" . We used to hear about it every year and it went up until we had 39 years then pensions were more. No one seems to ever have heard of it but me.. It was in the ESTOMATOR program also... tks old retired IBMER.

greg | May 07, 2007 | 12:32PM

They should take SAM and make him move to India and live with them in there Filth. Enough of this country giving our jobs to F'in India and China so a few losers on Wall Street can stay rich

Joe | May 07, 2007 | 12:36PM

Well, some people make too much in the U.S. Look at the autoworkers, for example. During good times, it is spend, spend, spend...Sooner or later, it will crash.

Me, I have been saving 50% of what I made all these years and investing in real estate, while the rest were spending as if there was no end. I would not blink an eye if I lost my job now. I have built up more assets than I know what to do with. My tenants now pay my bills! I sleep well despite LEAN!

Justme | May 07, 2007 | 12:38PM

So sorry to hear about this devastation. I was a programmer/analyst in the Aerospace Industry let go in the 90's. Most of those who were let go were also over 40. Management decided to balance their budget and their future pension plans on the backs of their workers. They also thought that we could be replaced by new graduates (at a lower salary). Most of the projects we worked on were so complex that it took years to put together a techical team.
It was surely a shame to destroy all of this capability. After saying all this --- it was truly a relief to say Goodbye. I became poorer but my health certaily improved. So best wishes to the IBM workers --- there is life outside the box.

Allison | May 07, 2007 | 12:39PM

CMC, Who said anything about replacing those laid off?

Rhype | May 07, 2007 | 12:40PM

Joe, dude, many execs - not only at IBM but also at other companies have already relocated to India and China. Cursing a country like a lost teenager isn't the solution. Instead, focus on getting educated (or whatever it takes) to get a job.

NN

No Nonsense | May 07, 2007 | 12:40PM

I just returned from India. Do you know how much they pay the poor slaves there? They have no benefits. Microsoft, IBM, Del, etc., are employing slave labor. Don't blame the people over there. They make more money that they would otherwise, still!

S.Kumar | May 07, 2007 | 12:51PM

The pension plan is already frozen at 12/31/2007 no input after that. That is why was planning 12/31/2007 out - but now I'm going with a package 5/31/2007. Most of the people "tapped" are retirement eligible. This is definately not my father's IBM

Denise | May 07, 2007 | 12:56PM

S. Kumar:

"Slaves"? You must be kidding. How come the attrition rate is so high for the so called "slaves"? How come American companies like Wal Mart are salivating at the doorsteps of India to lure the newfound wealth?

"Benfits"? Again, the levels of benefits they get are pretty good - health insurance, life insurance, cell phone, gas, vacation, child care centers etc. Not sure what other benefits you get here in the US.

Cool


Cool | May 07, 2007 | 12:56PM

They should take SAM and make him move to India and live with them in there Filth. Enough of this country giving our jobs to F'in India and China so a few losers on Wall Street can stay rich

Joe | May 07, 2007 | 12:36PM

Idiots like Joe should actually go over to India to see for themselves before they make such grossly generalized insinuations. No more filth than your ghettos!! India has come a long way. You fool, you can't even spell properly - it is "their" filth. Sheesh, the retard is starting to get personal here. With such a mentality, Joe, nobody can take mental neanderthals such as you seriously! Get a life!

Mr.Nasty | May 07, 2007 | 12:59PM

I'm an engineer with IBM, and this is all FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt) at this point. IBM is competing with India today on accounts. Anyone do business with WIPRO? Gartner and the rest of the consultants are send customers to off-shore companies today. Go beat up the consulting firms that started the mass exodus. Consultants get paid to say…IBM Global Services gets paid to execute.

Also, don't blame IBM for LEAN. Toyota started LEAN-Manufacturing quite a while ago and, if anything, it improved the quality of their products. LEAN has been used quite successfully by several firms to improve software quality by reducing Type 2 waste related to services and features out of scope, rework and false starts. Reduce work....cut labor. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Give management and the IBM Global (yes, worldwide) Services employees a chance. If you can see where the market is headed and your crystal ball is clearer than mine, you should be able to make a killing in the market.

Bob | May 07, 2007 | 1:02PM

Wake up and smell the . . . darjeeling? Global is global. Just as jobs were outsourced and taken overseas in the 80's and 90's(hard industry), tech jobs have been going abroad since the 90's. No company would be serving its' shareholders by paying more to many to produce less. And, like it or not, most working Americans have investment(s) in just such companies. Stop moaning and move on.

jginn | May 07, 2007 | 1:03PM

Well said, Mr. Nasty and jginn. Just read "India Unbound" and you'll get an idea about what we're dealing with.

Well Said

Well Said | May 07, 2007 | 1:08PM

Joe, have you been to India? Undoubtedly not! So, shut the f**k up! Like No Nonsense said, don't take it out on India. Because India doesn't give a f**k about what slime like you have to say.

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 1:14PM

Joe, have you been to India? Undoubtedly not! So, shut the f**k up! Like No Nonsense said, don't take it out on India. Because India doesn't give a f**k about what slime like you have to say.

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 1:17PM

Pleeeeease bring on the layoffs. I work for IBM and I would much rather be out of this hell hole with a decent package than stay here and have more work dumped on me because half my team is gone.

Don | May 07, 2007 | 1:18PM

Joe, have you been to India? Undoubtedly not! So, shut the f**k up! Like No Nonsense said, don't take it out on India. Because India doesn't give a f**k about what slime like you have to say.

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 1:23PM

This is the perfect opportunity for IBMers to get together and form a consulting compay. We made this company, I'm sure we can compete against it....

IBMer | May 07, 2007 | 1:24PM

I got my notice already. My last day is May 31st. We were forced to train our "co-workers" (cough, cough). It was,...degrading, to say the least. I am 47 years old, and our lovely government says that I should get a college degree. I have three of them already! So, now, according to "W", I should attend a community college, and get some type of degree, that will land me a job? Have my graduate degrees expired? Are they no longer valid? I am praying for an incurable cancer. It would be easier than this.

soon-to-be-outsourced | May 07, 2007 | 1:24PM

Focus is on IBM execs getting their incentive bonuses. That type of focus will bull doze over regular staff personnel & customer satisfaction.

Dave Roberts | May 07, 2007 | 1:24PM

Joe, have you been to India? Undoubtedly not! So, shut the f**k up! Like No Nonsense said, don't take it out on India. Because India doesn't give a f**k about what slime like you have to say.

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 1:27PM

Joe, have you been to India? Undoubtedly not! So, shut the f**k up! Like No Nonsense said, don't take it out on India. Because India doesn't give a f**k about what slime like you have to say.

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 1:30PM

Dear Carl -
Bad idea to be throwing stones living in your glass house...I have been to India many, many times - and it is heading for a meltdown. Roads that don't work, power outages that reminds one of the 1930's, people working their butts off with no payout, zero innovation capability, very little middle class, corruption and skimming rampant. Far better to put overseas investment elsewhere - Vietnam is already starting to clean your clock, and China is not far behind. Good Luck.
Dave.

Dave From India | May 07, 2007 | 1:32PM

This is another company raping, similar to Enron! The bastards at the top who are doing this will walk away with millions of dollars for putting tens of thousands of people, Americans, out of work. Its one thing to walk across the street to buy a meal from McDonalds on one day for their deal is better than Burger King's, but try getting the help you need when you need it from people who don't understand you or what you are saying to them or what you need to solve your predicament. Send this info to any media outlet you can! Contact any politician you can! Lets do something about protesting IBM and get this stopped! The media will love the story of the bigshots taking off with the money, again!

Carla | May 07, 2007 | 1:35PM

Those that are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. In the previous big chopping of IBM, guess who picked up those "worthless" folks:
Dell, EDS, US Gov.....

Many such worthless folks known to me keep a chart of how much money they are able to steer away from
Ive Been Misled, aka IBM.

Another version: "Those that live by the sword....die by the sword!"

Dr.BobHacker | May 07, 2007 | 1:35PM

In response to the posted email chain from the Senior VP of HR:

I'm almost at a loss for words at

(A) the level of callousness, smugness, and out-of-touchness of a top HR person - even though these traits have been common to HR for many years, as they serve the CEO and CFO, but not the employee

and

(B) the stupidity of sinking to that level in an email, and thereby indicating a lack of awareness that any email essentially becomes public property. What a fool. That's why they usually shun email replies, and deal with things over the phone, if at all.

Corporate HR - now there's a sad story.

Rich | May 07, 2007 | 1:37PM

The real point of all this, is that it all boils down to $$ and quality, and the greed of the American consumer.

It isn't about the layoff numbers. It isn't about globalization. These things are going to happen regardless.

It is about the fact that corporate greed and profits have so lost touch with reality that they don't care. The IBM employees left work their fingers to the bone to attempt to make up for the subpar, low-quality work coming back from overseas, which is also taking 5 times as long to do as it used to. The most technically proficient employees are now reduced to clerks with a mountain of useless overhead paperwork to do, in addition to reworking the overseas stuff, spending weeks doing what would have taken a day or 2 before. Quality and Efficience are down the drain and don't matter anymore.

And sadly, the point is, many times the customer doesn't care either, because as long as they can sell it to the American public cheaper, the public doesn't care. Quality sucks but John Q. Americans trample all over themselves rushing across the street to buy it because its a dollar cheaper there. So the customers don't care that the quality sucks, that what used to be robust is now held together with leaky band-aids, as long as the public buys it who cares.

The solution has and always will lie with the people. As long as YOU continue to put up with tech support you can't understand, as long as YOU continue to put up with lower quality all for the sake of saving a few $$, nothing will change. Until YOU start changing your phone service, internet provider to companies that do not outsource, until YOU stop buying from companies such as Circuit City that treat their employees like a piece of used toilet paper, all the griping in the world won't change anything.

Speak with your pocketbooks!!!!!!!

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 1:37PM

boris, not all those remaining are "dead wood" - some people like the work they do and don't just leave the ship like rats. Take care with your brush of generalization.

contractor | May 07, 2007 | 1:39PM

Dave From India, there are many problems in India, if the world views the glass half empty. One of the main reasons is that India, with thousands of years of history, has repeatedly been robbed by foreigners. However, things are changing rapidly and the fact is that inspite of the very problems you've mentioned, Indian companies pause a threat significant enough for behemoths like IBM to change their strategy.

Think about the things to come, when the problems you're mentioning are addressed, if not eliminated.

Axiom

Axiom | May 07, 2007 | 1:43PM

It seems it will be an infinite spiral for the lowest bidder on IT: India, then China, then the new Siberia Silicon Valley. Then what? South America? And after that what? Theere will be a point where you could not go cheaper without a real and visible impact on quality. Then what? Everybody working from hoem to avoid expenses in real state?

Vladimir Sanchez | May 07, 2007 | 1:44PM

Dave,

You take Vietnam, I will take India! I was not talking about all the things you mentioned. I just spoke about "filth". Despite those other things you mentioned, considering a country bulging with over a billion people, they will come out in the long run. Progress cannot come to an unwieldy county like India overnight. But there is an upward trend. I lived there since 1969. I know better than someone who visits the odd time!

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 1:45PM

to jginn who says "Stop moaning and move on."

When the breadwinner in your family gets fired after years of tireless, exemplary service with IBM, and your family has to file bankruptcy because you can't pay the bills, I'll be sure to tell you to "stop moaning."

I've a sneaking suspicion you are one of those upper-level managers making a huge chunk of change from screwing over your loyal little underlings. Good luck sleeping tonight.

LKW | May 07, 2007 | 1:52PM

This is in line with your prediction that outsourcing is on the decline. IBM won't need as many IGS people whether they be in the US or India or China if the new CEOs bring IT back home.

bv | May 07, 2007 | 1:54PM

I am one of the victims. I was layed off from IGS in RTP, NC last Tuesday. I am sad, mad, too many emotions. I will be Ok I'm sure, I have an excellent education and lots of experience thanks to IBM. But we have hired no less than 8 new Software developers to my team in the past year, and I was the one to go after being on the team for 7 1/2 years. :-(

Amy | May 07, 2007 | 1:56PM

Axiom, et al -

I have nothing against India. My response was primarily aimed towards the vitrolic tone of Carl, who clearly was being emotional. I pointed out the facts.

That being said - there are opportunities for India to turn the corner. As the Times indicated during the Independence Day issue - India is "Poised"....but for what? That is the big question. They need to clamp down on rampant corruption and skimming or the infrastructure will never be completed in time to compete globally.

It appears that the locals have learned well from the foreigners - the current "robbers" of India are the politicians, beaurocrats and functionaries.

Dave.

Dave From India | May 07, 2007 | 1:56PM

There's a very good reason all the Rich fear communism.
Because, more-so than in any other country, it can happen very easily in America.
See, the top brass always leaves all the keys and key (grunt) duties in the hands of the common working class so that they can push paper and lay-back.
And then, in America you have the right to bear arms.
It probably won't happen in quite many generations, as the end of the line hasn't reached yet to the point of the last resort, but eventually all the ex-middle-now-dirt-poor class' next-next-next-next-generations, whence the economy will be in piss poor condition and the fat will keep sitting and grooming their underbellies, will rise up in arms to place another notch in global classe revolutions history and the old bastillia chopping equipment will be servicing once more.

What they fail most to realize is that, while not being violent by nature, at desperate times man is driven to desperate measures. And that once the PNR has been reached, the resolve of rebellion cannot be stopped until it has satisfied its lust. And they'll be the ones to pay the ultimate price.

Mr. Semantics | May 07, 2007 | 1:57PM

I am a software engineer from Bangalore.I work for HP.I have enjoyed programming since my school days.I have always wanted to be a software developer.But I have just ended up maintaining some code written in your country nearly two decades ago.I will have to agree that I have very little knowledge of my product.I mostly solve the cases on the fly using a debugger.My counterparts in US each have more than 20 years of experience ,but I hardly interact with them. All the interaction is done by my seniors,who also claim that the counterparts in US are not very co-operative with them.The US counterparts assign only that work to us which they would not like to do.There is another level of filteration in Bangalore by the senior members and a fresher like me gets the worst possible work.Most of the time I end up doing nothing and getting bored.So I read blogs like this one where you people think my country is the cause for all your problems.But on the other hand I feel ,had I got a chance to work in US I could have contributed more in something that I love(programming).
Before you blame us, understand that we have also studied the same courses and the same books.I agree that our system which produces thousands of engineers eyery year, most of whom have taken up IT just because the pay is much higher than other fields,must have compromised on quality.But we also require to get a chance.It is not our fault that the cost of living in our country is cheaper.It is very unfair of you people to blame our communication skills.We unlike you not only have to learn english but also the local provincial language(kannada in my case),the so called "national" language hindi, the language spoken at home (tamil in my case).But we try to do the best.There was a comment about Indian's adding new words to english.What is wrong with that?
You all should also know what ill-effects IT has had in our country.A beautiful and peaceful city like Bangalore which was called the garden city has turned into a garbage city.You will get to see the worst traffic in the world here.The city has become over crowded as people from all over the country come and settle here.This has angered the locals here, who(just like you people)feel that outsiders come and take up their jobs(a great irony).There is huge disparity of incomes between those in IT and the rest.This has led to lot of unrest throughout the country.All this for being the back office of your country.

I would also like to warn the multinationals that exiting India and layoffs will not be as easy as in US.Our polititions will not allow that.Also the polititions will surely introduce caste based reservations in private sector(It is called vote bank politics in our country).This will reduce the quality of the work force further.

Karthik-from India | May 07, 2007 | 1:59PM

Forgot to mention, 8 new Software developers from India in the past year. That was the whole point of my post. Thinking too fast for my typing to keep up.

Amy | May 07, 2007 | 2:01PM

I was one of the 1300... Project is called "lean"....

Joe | May 07, 2007 | 2:02PM

I was released from IBM last year and it was the best thing that has EVER happened to me. It is a shock, but you will find that there are better places to work.

Outsourced from TD | May 07, 2007 | 2:03PM

Dave from India, I couldn't agree with you more. "The enemy within" (i.e., unscrupulous politicians) is harder to get rid of than foreigners - more so in a country like India. However, along with increased economic momentum, growing middle class and literacy, India may also see a much needed influx of young politicians who are progress oriented and do care about the country. After all, you can find several Harvard and Stanford grads even in India today.

Axiom

Axiom | May 07, 2007 | 2:10PM

LEAN was not the cause of the 1300+ people getting let go. Those people had been decided on early first quarter, probably due to the performance reviews (most I know were rated a 3 or 4).

LEAN is not a project (as implied in the article) to send 150k jobs overseas be the end of the year.

Toyota implemented a LEAN model and their US functions are still here and running.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 2:13PM

Trust me, it will happen, IBM wants to off shore everything. We have been told to NOT communicate with the customer. We are to go through one person and have no interaction with the customer. It will destroy the customers and IBM, but no one seems to care. No one seems to care it will destroy many peoples lives.

none | May 07, 2007 | 2:15PM

580+ comments. Struck a nerve?

I'm IT at DCX and the run is on here too. Don't know what the cure is. Do we hit some kind of equilibrium before our consumer market (AKA the golden goose) collapses from fear. That is, I think it would collapse before the actual income distribution killed it.

Good luck 50+ IBM'rs! You'll need it.

jdwill | May 07, 2007 | 2:18PM

I just completed my 2 years contract with IBM Global Services and came out last week. The plan started long time ago and IBM is good at making the plan smoothly.

Honestly, most of the IBM Global Services employees dont work or perform well. The business is running because of hired contractors. Since the employees stay in IBM for a long time, they became very political and rigid. When people in India and china are ready to work 60 hrs per week, these IBM consultants works only 25 hrs per week and not ready to upgrade their skills. Better they go.

majicrobot | May 07, 2007 | 2:22PM

Say no more. Corrupt politicians. There I am total agreement.

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 2:24PM

None...I see nothing wrong with having a SPOC (single point of contact)for each account. One big issue with allowing the customer to comunicate with everyone supporting an account is gold plating. The standard support people are not fully understanding what the customer has or has not contracted for; therefore customers call you and me up asking for us to do work totally outside the scope of the contracted services. This cost a lot in lost revenues annually.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 2:26PM

What an excellent business opportunity! Absolutely excellent! IBM is just handing you their consulting services business on a silver platter. You just need a nice lean company yourself. Step 1) Get the IBM'ers who are being laid off. These are normally great people because they come from an environment that is so screwed up and badly managed that they have to rise to the occasion to keep going every day. Step 2) Create your own lean organization with a simple rate where most of it goes to the employee directly. It will certainly be less than $250 per hour. Step 4) Keep the company employee-owned. Forget the Dow Jones. That's just a big Las Vegas gambling pit. Step 5) Advertise: We support American companies with Americans who will work with you locally. We keep jobs in the U.S. We don't charge you extravagant rates. We don't make our employees travel all over the country and jack up your expenses unnecessarily when there are people in your own backyard with the expertise you need. These people were excellent IBM'ers. (Oh, the slams some great sales people could make!) They've made it so easy. Don't worry, this would resonate with a lot of customers who are fed up with exorbiant rates, unnecessary travel expenses and being routed overseas for service. IBM Global Services, bye, bye! How about ACS? American Consulting Services?

gordonshumway | May 07, 2007 | 2:33PM

Re: Bob the IBM engineer, "you should be able to make a killing in the market."

You can only make a killing in the market if you are already wealthy. What is the remaining 99% of the world to do?

Sam | May 07, 2007 | 2:37PM

First off, I'm one of those on the output queue.

Second, the numbers in the original article may not be accurate but I think the basic thrust is closer to center.

Third, no one knows how many consultants/contractors got dumped.

So, from my viewpoint near the bottom of the food-chain (if not _at_ the bottom!) it seems that a lot of the executive way up there above me have been thinking tactically rather than strategically.

And now I'll start quoting myself since I lean towards being a stand-up philosopher:

"Leadership is about maximizing gains. Management is obsessed with minimizing losses."

"I suspect that "western civilization" (as if we have one) will expire from the ultimate weapon of mass destruction: the spreadsheet. They have, in general, reduced individuals to statistics. No longer do you have to kill millions..."

"Customer service" doesn't contribute to shareholder value... this quarter.

One IBMer was hunting for nice and recent xSeries servers that he could "borrow" for S/W tests, as if any other projects actually had any money for decent (or recent) hardware and was willing to give them up. I finally told him: "I cannot believe how many IBMers are such unreasoning optimists. I swear, I could lock a bunch of you in a room full of horsesh!t and you'd all be digging for ponies."

"IBM has one foot on a banana peel and the other in a conference room"

"Process is like the poison in the grain which killed the Tribbles... accumulating to the point that they couldn't eat enough to stay alive"

"Sure, Jesus said that no man can serve two masters, but, with Matrix Management, an IBMer can report to seven managers"

Well, inside IBM we hear the mantra of "shareholder value"... Oddly enough, "taking care of customers so they give us more money" doesn't seem to be an approved strategy for maintaining value to investors.

First Rule of Memoranda: While information theory states that the most valuable information is the data you weren't expecting to hear, the first rule of writing a memo is to avoid anything that "doesn't match expectations".

"Top-down management only works with unfiltered bottom-up feedback."

When bean-counters drive management decisions, Brownian motion will get mistaken for progress.

relieved greppie | May 07, 2007 | 2:54PM

Dear Gordanshumway (earlier commenter) -- I won't be cut, but I'll jump ship if you or someone takes advantage of this "execellent business opportunity." You are right that IBMers are a talented, hardworking group. If they were working for a company that lined their pockets instead of Sam P's, they would be a force to be reckoned with. If you toss in the motivation that they'd be taking business from a company that spurned them, well it would just be icing on their cake.

To the person who recommended that dead wood should be allowed to rot -- If you think that IBM Global Services is carrying 150,000 non-productive employees, you're the one who is not so smart. You are perhaps remembering IBM of the late 70's and early 80's -- yes, lots of dead wood then, not now.

2+ at IBM | May 07, 2007 | 2:59PM

This article points to the grand deception in our country. I am an IT recruiter for 25 years and have not ever seen such greed and disregard for the American IT worker. The collective wisdom that is gained only by years of investigation and analysis is lost. What replaces it is an approximation and less quality. How many major corporations are we going to trash before we realize that the short term view will kill companies and our children will be working for people who do not know our culture and are going to accelerate our country into the third world.

John McMahon | May 07, 2007 | 3:05PM

This article points to the grand deception in our country. I am an IT recruiter for 25 years and have not ever seen such greed and disregard for the American IT worker. The collective wisdom that is gained only by years of investigation and analysis is lost. What replaces it is an approximation and less quality. How many major corporations are we going to trash before we realize that the short term view will kill companies and our children will be working for people who do not know our culture and are going to accelerate our country into the third world.

John McMahon | May 07, 2007 | 3:06PM

This article points to the grand deception in our country. I am an IT recruiter for 25 years and have not ever seen such greed and disregard for the American IT worker. The collective wisdom that is gained only by years of investigation and analysis is lost. What replaces it is an approximation and less quality. How many major corporations are we going to trash before we realize that the short term view will kill companies and our children will be working for people who do not know our culture and are going to accelerate our country into the third world.

John McMahon | May 07, 2007 | 3:07PM

ME said "LEAN was not the cause of the 1300+ people getting let go. Those people had been decided on early first quarter, probably due to the performance reviews (most I know were rated a 3 or 4)."

Apparently you don't know how it works within IBM. As has been stated earlier in this thread, IBM declares that a certain percentage of the workforce will be rated 1 (a VERY tiny percent), so many 2's, and so on. Regardless of performance, a certain percentage have to be rated a certain classification. When you take that and then realize that the employees that they absorbed were all top performers to begin with, they ony kept the top people on the teams they took over, it is plain hogwash. Their rating system is an artifically created slotting system to enable them to justify to themselves cutting a certain percentage of US employees each time they so wish.

The fact that you aren't aware of this, or somehow overlook it, speaks volumes about your lack of knowledge about the inner workings at IBM.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 3:09PM

Karthik-from India,

Let me apologize for the Americans that appear to hate Indians. While there are always a number of people in any country/region/state/community that hate outsiders, in this case the majority of Americans are so frustrated that they end up striking out without thinking.

Honestly, we realize Indians are just like us. We all want a good job. We all want to be able to pay for a place to live, put food on the table, and provide for our families.

What really bothers a lot of Americans is that they were promised that if they worked hard, went to college, studied math, science, and engineering they would have a job. I remember those sorts of promises from politicians and corporate leaders when I was a small child. Then when we fulfill our end of the promise our jobs are yanked away.

All I can say to our friends in India is be careful. Don't trust these corporations. Just look at how they treated their own people. Ask yourself how do they view you and how will they view you 10 or 20 years from now?

Already India is starting to become more and more expensive. These companies are now setting up complexes in China. And there are even cheaper places for them to go once China has been used. Remember dropping a couple billion US dollars on constructing a building to warehouse workers is nothing for these companies. They'll abandon them as soon as they find cheaper workers elsewhere.

So enjoy the good times. Save your money. The good times will only last so long.

Peace and good luck.

DW from America | May 07, 2007 | 3:10PM

I would like to second the sentiments to Karthik. Lots of idiots and racists in the world, no matter what country you're in, but for myself and many others it is not personal against overseas work. What is kicking us in the gut is the fact that we have just a few fat cats at the top making more money than they could ever possibly spend in 10 lifetimes, all at the expense of the people doing the actual work.
Trust me, it will happen you all of you eventually also. When you see all your jobs taken away because some new IT shop in Vietnam or Greenland or wherever has tons of people willing to do it for half what you cost, you may sit back and say well, that's business. But when you see none of the profits go to the workers, or cheapen the product, when you see 99% of the money saved all go to line the pockets of a few top execs, then you will understand what is happening to Americans.

As above, Peace and Good Luck.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 3:18PM

the poster ME is really clueless about LEAN, it is the real reason behind the layoffs as is Global Resourcing, and to the other poster that commented about the number of off shore people it takes to replace 1 US worker, please get a clue, we have been resourcing in LA for months and a perfect example of how many it takes to replace US workers is in the fact, that it took 24 BRA resources to replace the 10 US workers doing the same job and it has nothing to do with abilities it has to do with LAWS in the countries we are using, 12hr shifts are forbiden, workers can only work 8 hrs and no weekends unless their days the following week are reduced by a like number but they are paid for them. So when you have to cover an account 24/7 you need expotentially more staff to do what we were doing with half the amount. Our staff worked 3 12's and a 6 for their week, try that in BRA and see how many fines you incur, so hire more staff, lower salaries yes but the numbers still come out the same at the bottom

anotherIBMer | May 07, 2007 | 3:39PM

Karthik, as you will soon find out in the world of large corporations, it is not your skills that matter, or how many hours you put in, how hard you are willing to work, how much you know, how fast you are, how good the quality of your work is, your expertise, non of that matters to the corporation. The ONLY thing that matters is how much you cost. If you can be replaced by someone cheaper, it doesn't matter if you can't do the same amount or quality of work. As long as you cost less, because, ultimately, to the puppet masters pulling the strings at the top, the bottom line is the ONLY thing that matters. And THAT only matters as long as the proceeds line THEIR pockets, not anyone else's. Sorry to be the one to welcome you to the reality of IBM, HP, and the rest.

fedup | May 07, 2007 | 3:42PM

That IBM Global Services should succumb to globalization is nominally appropriate if unfortunate for employees in developed countries. The 2x to 4x increase in the global labor supply since the fall of the former Soviet Union and the growth in Asia has made global labor artibrage far more attractive. As Alan Blinder points out ('Offshoring: The Next Industrial Revolution?', March / April 2006 Foreign Affairs) tens of millions of American jobs may be lost in coming years to offshoring. According to most economists offshoring was supposed to create more jobs in America than it cost, but that is now ignored by all but the most dognatic economists. Education and 'higher skills' were supposed to lead to creation of higher value-added jobs here. But America has no lock on education and we are falling behind in science and engineering. America is predicated on upward mobility and a strong middle class but labor arbitrage is undermining both. If Blinder and a few others are correct then globalization will result in profound political changes for America none of which would appear desirable.

Tom Shillock | May 07, 2007 | 3:53PM

I'm an IBMer and received the following article from my management with the comment that this was "good news from a PR perspective."

Arriving just after 12:00pm, it made me want to vomit.

http://www.silicon.com/research/specialreports/china/0,3800011742,39166848,00.htm

Ralph | May 07, 2007 | 3:53PM

"the poster ME is really clueless about LEAN, it is the real reason behind the layoffs"

I stated that LEAN was not the reason behind the last 1300+, I never said that it wont be down the road. Could and will it? Probably, but it was not behind the last round.

It wasnt behind the layoffs last year or 2005, or 2004......its just IBMs annual thing.

Since I am clueless about LEAN, just exactly what is the LEAN model and how will it change and affect the current delivery model? Give a real answer, not what what you think.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 4:07PM

Ralph - the ONLY good news in that article is the very last sentence. Otherwise, it is sick to see American firms so happy they are becoming so "........internationalized." Watson, both of them, would consider the name of IBM now so bastardized (aka International Business machines)...words fail. Where is a American mangement going.

Cometh the shills: GET OVER IT, MOVE ON, IT'S JUST COMPETITION. (Yeah, competition over wages that are GREAT if you DO NOT LIVE in America).

sad

robert eisenhardt | May 07, 2007 | 4:08PM

Let's also not forget the BusinessWorld article from April/May 2006 titled "IBM's tryst with India," which commented:

"Clearly, Global Services seems to have hit some sort of a plateau... it needs to cut jobs drastically in the US itself, which is likely to be far harder to accomplish than Europe. By some estimates, IBM needs to slash its US employee strength of 260,000 by half. Before it can do that, IBM India will have to be able to take up the workload of those 130,000 people that it needs to shed and that is going to be the key factor."

I know many people have posted that the 150,000 numbers aren't realistic, but I believe we will see close to that many U.S. jobs eventually eliminated. I expect that mine too, will one day be one of them.

The more I think about it, I'm bothered by the use of the word "tryst"... makes this whole thing feel more sordid and "dirty" than it already is.

Ralph | May 07, 2007 | 4:10PM

Sure IBM can layoff 100,000 US employees and replace them with offshore workers but their customers will not be happy. I'm on the layoff list and I know first hand how they underbid our contract and how they now expect even fewer people to try to make it work.
The customer was very demanding to begin with but now the people that are left will be streached even thinner and yet IBM had the nerve to preach "Work Life Ballance"!! What a joke !

Midnight Skulker | May 07, 2007 | 4:12PM

Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin?
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in?
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today?
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their sh@# don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the da$% little war
And we can't make it here anymore

Abend0C4 | May 07, 2007 | 4:13PM

Karthik - 1 reason that the US may be "uncooperative", as your superiors claim, is the lack of accountability afforded to the offshore teams. In my organization, they are held blameless. Doesn't matter if they don't get it done on time, if it is wrong, if it breaks - ALL blame is put on US team, and overseas is held blameless - no accountability whatsoever. Because management has decreed that the jobs are to go overseas (because they are cheaper) whether it works or not, so regardless of what is really happening, the metrics and reports will all say it works wonderfully. Hence the few idiots that post here that buy into that, and don't have a clue. So when there is a critical part of the app that the US KNOWS there isn't anyone overseas qualified with the experience yet to do that, or have given it to overseas in the past with disastrous results, yes, they are not as agreeable about sending the work there since NO MATTER WHAT happens the US WILL get the blame if it goes bad, and once the US works a zillion hours overtime and corrects/fixes it, overseas WILL get all the kudos and recognition for a job well done. And then those in the US will be notified that they have been rated a 3 or a 4, and layed off.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 4:14PM

"Wow! If only corporations could tap into the wisdom here. Techies who know exactly what to about R&D, marketing, management, international competition, corporate strategy, etc. It's astonishing that more of them haven't been promoted into senior positions where they can put their insights to good use. Give me a break."

As is often the case, the people who can't do the work get shoved up the corporate ladder. I've discovered that the farther up the ladder you get, the less connected you are to the people who make the business profitable. It's easy to forget that the numbers are more than numbers, and to simply rationalize decisions that can affect a lot of people.

In my employer, on each team in an account there are probably 2-3 people who are "irreplaceable"; if those people leave the team, the team's technical and professional capability falls apart. This is true both in India, the US, Japan and Europe. I have seen firsthand what the results are if those irreplaceable people leave, and it isn't pretty: lost metrics, upset customers, knowledge lost, penalties paid to customers, and corporate embarrassment. The problem is, if you look at numbers all day, you'd not recognize the contributions of those people, and would actually prefer that they leave (they tend to cost more than the average coworker, they also tend to have more years of service than the average coworker).

IBM seems to have slipped completely into a "numbers are all" mentality, and will probably cut off the irreplaceable workers to save a few dollars.

Michael | May 07, 2007 | 4:22PM

None of this bad news damped the IBM party in St Louis last week. For the closing night, they hired a great blues band from Texas. A quiet little group you may have heard of, ZZ TOP.

Tickets were free for the 500 or so IBMr's in attendance but I figure it cost someone around $300 a head. Not a bad days waste of money for a company going down the tubes. I guess they want to spray it away before the real bad news is out. Glad I dont work there.

Mark King | May 07, 2007 | 4:23PM

IBM - Idiots Become Managers

Don't worry, the "irreplaceable" people will all get cut. Just a matter of time.

fedup | May 07, 2007 | 4:30PM

In April/May-ish of last year, I contemplated the idea of leaving the Big Blue. Like my father, I wanted to work for only 1 company... That said, I began to get sick of the politics our team was facing with an IBM team in Canada. Our group packaged, test and deployed software packages, as well as master OS image developement for our customer. Somehow, somewhere, a group in Canada came in and tried to 'steal' the business away from our group with some silly 'factory' model some exec cooked up. We, too, were IBM. The left hand was trying to steal food from the right hand. It didn't make sense. I felt now was the time to depart. I had a newborn, and I needed some type of security - and I wasn't getting that vibe from Big Blue.

On top of that, the mgmnt was far less than great; career advacement? blah; it was a fight to move off the account and into another role; training? what was that? it was non-existent and anytime you wanted to take training they would usually say: "not enough money in the budget". Our Tower was darned stingy and it irritated me.

The problem with IBM today, I think, is something that a lot of people here have described: Initiatives (LEAN, Factory Model) that are worthless - that only cause more pain to the employee and business partner, and 2) too much management and executives (top heavy), with too many ineffective people in those positions.

I worry for my wife though...she's been with Big Blue (that's where we met) for 5 years now, and her Global Services division is in flux... I'm hoping she whethers the storm.

Former Blue'er | May 07, 2007 | 4:34PM

My manager is a great guy, and it was out of his hands. He confided he is fact very concerned for his own job. They are going to be in a world of hurt come 5/31 when I am gone. I do admit I got a 3 rating this year, after 6 years of 2 and 2+. It was unfair in my opinion, as well as every coworker I've talked to. Oh well, I think I will be better off. The working at home thing has me really spoiled though. Back to the real world.

Amy | May 07, 2007 | 4:37PM

As the wife of one of the "worker bees" that's about to be laid off, I want to make it clear that what all of these corporations are doing by offshoring is murdering America! Also, my husband is one of the hardest workers IBM has (and I'm not just saying that because he's my husband); he works above and beyond the normal work day and I think he wouldn't mind so much if he didn't have the prospect of being laid off hanging over his head. It just makes me sick and tired of the way workers are treated in America and it's a wonder that we haven't heard of more suicides in this country due to American workers being treated like dirt! Whoever makes these decisions, you all need to wake up and smell the coffee!!!!!!

sick & tired | May 07, 2007 | 4:42PM

As the wife of one of the "worker bees" that's about to be laid off, I want to make it clear that what all of these corporations are doing by offshoring is murdering America! Also, my husband is one of the hardest workers IBM has (and I'm not just saying that because he's my husband); he works above and beyond the normal work day and I think he wouldn't mind so much if he didn't have the prospect of being laid off hanging over his head. It just makes me sick and tired of the way workers are treated in America and it's a wonder that we haven't heard of more suicides in this country due to American workers being treated like dirt! Whoever makes these decisions, you all need to wake up and smell the coffee!!!!!!

sick & tired | May 07, 2007 | 4:43PM

2+ at IBM is correct. They are cutting top notch talent. I earned a 1 rating this year and willing to jump ship. No one is safe from these cuts. Especially if you make "too much" money.

IBMer | May 07, 2007 | 4:45PM

If the IBM top brass can figure out a way that employee suicide will boost their profits, believe me they'll do everything in their power to make it happen as frequently as possible...

fedup | May 07, 2007 | 4:46PM

Hello....most of these 150,000 workers are tied to contracts and we are selling the portfolio to Carlyle and EDS and we are looking into selling GBS back to a yet to be named boutique so I don't see the business crumbling or our brand taking a hit. After all, we did this with Lorel Fed Systems and we lived to innovate another day!

Sam | May 07, 2007 | 4:47PM

I was once a business owner. I had a business buying old clothes from people as I slowly rode through the streets calling "I cash clothes." My main cost was oats for the horse who pulled the wagon. My brother in law, an MBA said I must cut costs, so each week I reduced the amount of oats I fed my horse by one pint. It took months for my horse to die, but I saved $75 in oats. Since I learned a lesson. I became a management executive at IBM. I explained that horses cost money, but loyal, hard working employees are a dime a dozen so you must be careful how you treat horses.

Shelly Bunin | May 07, 2007 | 4:48PM

I have been seeing this story re-posted and/or referenced on a number of other sites, and I just hope that "I Cringely" has his facts straight. This is now being widely distributed and talked about ... and for the sake of those poor souls at IBM IGS .. I Cringely had better have done his homework !

Chesser The Cat | May 07, 2007 | 4:49PM

I will explain "LEAN" to the obviously clueless "ME".

It has nothing to do with Toyota's business model. IBM thought the label sounded good, but it has nothing to do with trimming fat or anything that might be implied. It is just a label to justify what they want to do, much like the upper management have given themselves the label "God".

1) IBM wants cheaper labor. Don't care about productivity, quality, efficiency. Simply cheaper labor to improve the bottom line for the next quarter, so the top execs can cash in.

2) It might raise too much of a stink if they start another round of big layoffs, while increasing their own golden parachutes at the same time.

Solution: Take your top performers in the US that cost $$, give a bunch of them 3 and 4 labels, so you will have an excuse to lay them off, and slap some fancy sounding moniker like "LEAN" on the plan to make it look good to Wall Street.

It's really much simpler than you are making it out to be...

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 5:01PM

Needless to say, as a current employee of IBM Integrated Technology Delivery (aka Global Services, Strategic Outsourcing), the information in the article, if true (if even partially true), is highly concerning. Unfortunately, I know, since I was contacted by my manager last week to let me know that resource actions were in process, but that I was not affected (once again I survived the spring chopping block), that some of what is in this article is true. If all of it is true, I will not survive the year.

In theory, LEAN could address many of the challenges that ITD faces in trying to be more efficient and competitive, especially on smaller accounts, but in practice, it does not appear that these are the real objectives that IBM is trying to reach with this initiative. If we are truly documenting our processes so that we can hand over ALL of our work more easily to our data centers in India, China, Brazil, or where ever, AND we and our customers are not being advised of this, then this becomes very hard for me to participate in.

I want to be a good employee. I want to be a team player. But I do not want to be involved in assisting in the dismantling of my own team without my consent or knowledge. If the intent of LEAN is to dismantle and sell off the remains of what used to be Global Services-Strategic Outsourcing, then so be it. State that that is your intention, and then let folks act accordingly.

I don't have a problem with corporations doing what they need to do to keep their businesses viable. I do have a problem when this includes lying to and manipulating their employees and customers. I can only hope that this is not what is happening in this case.

Another IBMer | May 07, 2007 | 5:02PM

Shelly....good point..hope that Sam is seeing this and realizes that the horses are starving at this point.

somone | May 07, 2007 | 5:02PM

IBM doesn't want our customers to know any of this. Tell me, can anyone here tell me 1 single good reason we don't let them know?

fedup | May 07, 2007 | 5:05PM

Sam knows the horses are starving and doesn't care. $75 saved in oats is all that matters to Sam, because that's $75 more in his pocket. Because to Sam, the difference between $20 million dollars and $20,000,075.00 is much more important than the life of some horse...

fedup | May 07, 2007 | 5:08PM

fedup.....IBM customers know....this article is spreading like wild fire within their ranks....will be interesting to see what they do about it.

someone | May 07, 2007 | 5:08PM

Sam knows the horses are starving and doesn't care. $75 saved in oats is all that matters to Sam, because that's $75 more in his pocket. Because to Sam, the difference between $20 million dollars and $20,000,075.00 is much more important than the life of some horse...

fedup | May 07, 2007 | 5:08PM

INTHEKNOW

I assume you are deeply involved in the planning and implementation of the LEAN business model within SSO currently at a LEAN pilot management level/solutions arch level? Your working in depth with the firm hired by IBM to "train the trainer"?

If so, you have a different business model than I am currently working off of.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 5:11PM

Nope, I don't know a thing. That's why all we "top performers", that were the top 20% culled from the former company suddenly all have 3 and 4 ratings after a year or 2.... I'm obviously just another piece of dead wood...

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 5:14PM

One of the 3 IBM Values - Trust and Personal Responsibility in all Relationships:
IBMers...

actively build relationships with all the constituencies of our business — including clients, partners, communities, investors and fellow IBMers;
build trust by listening, following through and keeping their word;
rely on our colleagues to do the right thing.
preserve trust even when formal relationships end.

I suggest that the reporter call IBM on this value of TRUST in all relationships.

ibm value man | May 07, 2007 | 5:15PM

You mean that IBM doesnt give 1's for workers on performance plans or just got off a plan? The bastards.

Give an explaination for the LEAN business outline/model as provided by McKinsey.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 5:23PM

"Sure, Jesus said that no man can serve two masters, but, with Matrix Management, an IBMer can report to seven managers"

relieved greppie | May 07, 2007 | 2:54PM

Hahahaha...in all this, I still find humor is still out there. I am thankful we can still laugh. Thanks for the good laugh. ROTFL!

H. Dixon | May 07, 2007 | 5:44PM

Another real cost saving idea: how much can be saved by canning a bunch of exteremly overpaid upper management and outsourcing their positions? Better yet why not just ELIMINATE their jobs? We'd all be bettor off! But to be fair offer, them employment as a technician at the same wages they're offering to those in other countries!!

Bob | May 07, 2007 | 5:46PM

Fact: I am 53 years young and every bit as productive, innovative, and enthused about IT as I was 25 years ago. In fact, coupled with my experience, I am a cut above.

Fact: I have always done everything I can to provide world-class service and support to my clients.

Fact: I have sacrificed much to my job to ensure the job is done right.

Fact: I have logged almost as many hours to my job than I have to my personal life since starting work.

Fact: I have worked with and continue to work with some brilliant individuals at IBM. They excel in spite of poor leadership, bad corporate policies, and a tangle of processes.

Fact: The migration of work to offshore resources has nothing to do with American's lack of productivity, it has everything to do with cost.

Fact: Corporations don't have to be moral, just narrowly within legal bounds.

Fact: Today, India and other emerging nations are on the uphill learning curve, but eventually will be equal in capability. They too will find it difficult to provide services to expectations and will need to look for creative ways to do it. This is hard work with customers/shareholders that expect more, and more. It will require mass cultural changes in those emerging nations to have the same work ethic and ingenuity that has taken the work to its current level.

Fact: First line managers within IBM have the toughest job because they have to carry dumb, corporate policies and messages to the masses and do it with a straight face.

Fact: The senior IBM executive team will retire wealthy and free from the same burdons they've placed on worker bees. Their policies and plans are bad for workers, but good for shareholders and executives.

Fact: my daddy taught me that hard work and perspiration will get you respect, dignity, and security for your family. He never told me that some people wouldn't respect you for that.

Justfacts IBMer | May 07, 2007 | 5:46PM

(Sigh) here's how it works (again). IBM takes the "top" performers over when they get a contract. Only the people that were consistently rated as top performers. So, now you have a group of outstanding overachievers. Let's say 100 people, just for easy math. Now that IBM has them, they decree that only a small percentage, such as 5% of that group, can be given a 1 rating (and raise), and the rest must be 2+, 2, and so on. Doesn't matter if the whole damn group worked 80 hour weeks and overachieved again, certain percentage must be rated low. So that they can be trimmed of by "LEAN"...

Get it yet?

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 5:47PM

Come the day IBM pulls this crap on Indians, then they'll see folks who won't roll over and play dead like most Americans.
What happened to collective action, stop whining, get active, make the public aware, and get loud, because enough is enough.

Squirrel | May 07, 2007 | 5:49PM

Dave,

You said: I have nothing against India. My response was primarily aimed towards the vitrolic tone of Carl, who clearly was being emotional. I pointed out the facts.

This is what Joe said: They should take SAM and make him move to India and live with them in there Filth. Enough of this country giving our jobs to F'in India and China so a few losers on Wall Street can stay rich...
Joe | May 07, 2007 | 12:36PM

Emotional? You bet your a**! Read and re-read that drivel. "filth", "F'in India"??? It is nothing but racist rantings and ravings. If you are on the receiving end of such irrational, illogical, racist crap, you would be too!

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 5:50PM

Just as Robert Price, who succeeded Bill Norris as CEO of Control Data, destroyed that great company, so will Sam Palmisano destroy IBM. Not out of business need or hight stock value, just greed.
Can you outsource CEO's, maybe we should...

sad | May 07, 2007 | 5:58PM

RE:Read and re-read that drivel. "filth", "F'in India"??? It is nothing but racist rantings and ravings.
Hardly racist, it strikes me as more a frustrated yet explicit statement of fact.

Perhaps "filth" was a bit strong and over the top, but it is no secret that India has its problems and squalor is definitely up there on the list.

"F'in India": well if I or my friends job was outsourced or going to be outsourced to a company from India or wherever, just so some type A exec could make a bigger bonus, I would be well pissed at the employer, and even more so at the guy and or country who stole my job. Realistically, my PC side would be well damped, to believe otherwise of anyone is disingenuous at best.

squirrel | May 07, 2007 | 6:05PM

As one of the lucky 1300 to be laid off last week, it was amusing to watch managers keep their distance by puposely ignoring both employees and customers.... Too bad we could not help them keep their distance at six feet under....The IBM LEAN horse and pony show, always top heavy, having more chiefs than indians, unveiled their their not quite new idea. Replace the cast of indians with real Indians!...Was it not just ten short years ago that the government was using technology solutions as the perfect example of the safety net that would catch all displaced workers?

Frank Figueredo | May 07, 2007 | 6:08PM

Squirrel, simplistic, at best. Your philosophical rants get no points from the guy at the receiving end. Stole your job? Hey, the likes of you gave it away. Maybe, people who think like you deserve it, after all!

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 6:09PM

I got it now....Before LEAN those 100 would have all received a 1 rating and a high raise and a top percentage for variable pay because they are all over achievers. I must be getting old because I dont remember everyone ever getting 1 rating in my 17 years in IBM.

I do remember when everyone said that the business model for IGS was stupid and doomed for failure. "I mean how many companies are really going to outsource their internal IT departments to IBM or anyother company??? Stick to making PCs, servers and main frames!" Now IGS makes a good chunk of IBM total revenue.

The personal computer...how many people really need a computer for the home. Like there will really be at least one in each home like a TV set???? Stick to making mainframes.

Change is hard, but the only constant in life (and business) is change.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 6:12PM

The person who labels the other as guilty of "racist ranting" is
guilty of a personal attack, aka ad hominem. This violates the rules of this comment area, and all should know this.
Furthermore, just because it's Indians or Chineses who are getting what used to be American (primarily white) jobs, is irrelevant. If the Germans or Italians or Australins were taking American jobs, it would be the same thing. The point is, that well-paying, technical jobs in the USA are being out-sourced to cheap labor countries. These over-populated, cheap-labor countries happen to have non-white, and even primarily non-black populations. So what?

Jeannie | May 07, 2007 | 6:16PM

Come the day IBM pulls this crap on Indians, then they'll see folks who won't roll over and play dead like most Americans.
What happened to collective action, stop whining, get active, make the public aware, and get loud, because enough is enough.
Squirrel | May 07, 2007 | 5:49PM

hehehe...well-said. I guess people have to start getting nasty towards companies like this. Civility is not in their corporate books, so why should the employees play fair?

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 6:17PM

Squirrel is talking about unionizing. After watching what the union let happen to the Lucent employees, having a union would change nothing.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 6:23PM

Man are you ever bad at math. I will try 1 last time, then give up.

1+1 = 2
2+2 = 4

Now for the IBM rating system. Those 100 were the top 10% out of a former group of 1000. Or, lets pick a smaller number to be more realistic,
out of 100 employees at another company (NOT IBM), IBM "absorbed" 20, the TOP 20, and the rest were let go after a few months of "transitioning" work overseas. So, you have 20 left who were ALL top performers.
Now, after a year at IBM, those 20 are still carrying the lion's share of the load, working tons of OT, fixing and covering for overseas shortcomings, doing magnificent work, putting their hearts and souls into their work while ignoring their poor families by working the 70 hour weeks, being on ST at all hours of the night and weekends, etc...
And IBM comes along and says, "Sorry, only 2 of you can be rated a 1, 5 more of you a 2+, etc.... Doesn't matter to us that you were/still are all top performers, we need an excuse to not give raises and keep cutting US headcount, so too bad. Sam needs a new yacht, a bird pooped on his last one so instead of letting the rain clean it off, he decided to buy a new one instead. LEAN is the latest idea he came up with to help get him that yacht."

3+3 = 6, 4+4 = 8.... I could go on and on, to at least 20, (that's all the farther I know my math since I'm such an underperforming piece of dead wood), but I tire of the kindergarten math lesson. If you don't get it by now you never will.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 6:24PM

I presume

Me | May 07, 2007 | 6:25PM

Carl Gallanto
It's you who doesn't get it, no one wishes the guy at the other end harm, I am simply pointing out the fact that human beings blame their bad times on those who benefit because of them. It could just as well have been "F'in New Yorkers" or similar, perhaps that would have been racist as well. I would suggest that you get your mind around hearing a lot more comments like that. Desperation, abandonment and loss all invoke feelings of anger, and as this endless outsourcing continues and lives are destroyed, the anger and the hatred will ever more boil to the surface, my comments alluded to that, and regardless of whether it is right or wrong it is a representation of reality and the emotions felt by many. I neither condone it nor reject it, I note it as a reality of a system in flux.

squirrel | May 07, 2007 | 6:26PM

And the square root of -1 = i...so what. What your saying is that pre-LEAN, those people would have all received a 1 rating +.

"So, now you have a group of outstanding overachievers. Let's say 100 people, just for easy math. Now that IBM has them, they decree that only a small percentage, such as 5% of that group, can be given a 1 rating (and raise), and the rest must be 2+, 2, and so on. Doesn't matter if the whole damn group worked 80 hour weeks and overachieved again, certain percentage must be rated low. So that they can be trimmed of by "LEAN"..."

Me | May 07, 2007 | 6:40PM

Jeannie, if it is "irrelevant", then let us not color it with incendiary, inflammatory rhetoric, apparently, a point lost on you! Get to the bloody point - the real villain is IBM. No need to villify those who are not the ones to blame, in the first place. If you were offered an attractive job, you would take it, just like those Indians some think are so scurrilous! So, get off your hypocritical high horse and join the rest of us.

And, as far as my comments being against the rules, thank you, Mother Theresa. And, don't cover up your guilt with Latin words. We know a few, too!

But I applaud your last paragraph. Thanks.

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 6:40PM

If everyone out of that group has "over overachieved" then everyone should rate a 1...but what if one of those people overachieved a little bit more than everyone else should he still get the same rating as the other that didnt overachieved to the same level? shouldnt he or she get a little bit more consideration come review/raise time?

Me | May 07, 2007 | 6:45PM

Oh, you're right. You got me. 80% of those people that were consistently excellent are now given 3 and 4 ratings, and laid off, because they are now dead wood. Doesn't matter if they met their goals/targets, exceeded them, nothing. IBM's rating system has nothing whatsoever to do with goals, targets, expectations, work produced. As was stated in an earlier post, the same doesn't apply for the offshore teams. Whatever they do is golden. If you, in the US, spend 90% of your time correcting and redoing poor quality work that comes back from overseas, come layoff time, a person with an IQ anywhere in the neighborhood of 50 or above would say we need to keep the people getting the work done, and let the other go. But no, IBM execs don't look at that. They simply say "I don't care. We'll keep whoevers cheapest, damn the torpedos and full speed ahead". Right over a cliff.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 7:00PM

No one should be surprised about IBM gutting the US work force. While IBM's performance has been awful in the past 6 years, the CEO and other carpet corridor yummies have been given lavish bonuses. Now they will take it out on the backs of the employees who earned the real money, in the trenches. "The beatings will cease when the morale improves." No need to wonder why they didn't do this before the stockholder's meeting in April.

ted loewenberg | May 07, 2007 | 7:04PM

Intheknow,

I don't get your argument. Let's put it a different way.

A bunch of people graduate high school and apply to MIT (or Harvard, or Stanford, or whatever). Only the top performers get accepted. They all attend, and most are smart, work hard and perform well.

Does this mean they all should get A's and be co-valedictorian? Of course not. Rating/Grading systems are not designed that way.

That said, I don't think what IBM is doing is right, for the employees or for long-term shareholders. I personally don't own IBM shares, or work for IBM, and I probably never will.

Finally, if the folks being let go really are top performers, they should be able to use their abilities to get new jobs, hopefully better ones. If they are top performers, hopefully they have their finances in order so they will be able to survive the transition period without too much difficulty. Since the 1980s at least, company loyalty to the employees has largely been eliminated, so anybody who still believes that their jobs are secure, anywhere, they are just deluding themselves.

I am really sorry for the disruption that this is going to bring to a lot of people if it is true. I have a hard time believing it will be 100,000 people, but I guess it could be.

I agree with the people who are saying it is our own fault - the American consumer wants products for the cheapest price, and they put up with crappy tech support, etc, to get it. They put up with illegal aliens building their houses, plucking their chickens and picking their lettuce because that makes it cheaper, and they are too stupid to look past the immediate gratification of a cheaper price.

I agree that executive compensation is too high, particularly when performance is generally not commensurate with compensation - so what are the shareholders doing about it? Nothing, for the most part. As above - it's our own fault for putting up with it. How many of these people getting let go own IBM stock? How many of their friends and families do, in 401K plans, or IRAs? To be sure, each individual owns a small fraction of the total, but it adds up.

Who? Me? | May 07, 2007 | 7:10PM

Carl Gallanto
It's you who doesn't get it, no one wishes the guy at the other end harm, I am simply pointing out the fact that human beings blame their bad times on those who benefit because of them. It could just as well have been "F'in New Yorkers" or similar, perhaps that would have been racist as well. I would suggest that you get your mind around hearing a lot more comments like that. Desperation, abandonment and loss all invoke feelings of anger, and as this endless outsourcing continues and lives are destroyed, the anger and the hatred will ever more boil to the surface, my comments alluded to that, and regardless of whether it is right or wrong it is a representation of reality and the emotions felt by many. I neither condone it nor reject it, I note it as a reality of a system in flux.
squirrel | May 07, 2007 | 6:26PM

Well-said, Squirrel. I will buy that. Makes sense to me. I guess emotions are high.

Carl Gallanto | May 07, 2007 | 7:16PM

Cringely, you are a complete idiot. IBM Global Services doesn't even HAVE 150k employees in the United States. So, according to your logic, IBM will lay off more employees than it actually has (in the US) and offshore EVERY SINGLE JOB?!!

I suppose your next article will be that Elvis is assuming CEO responsibilities from Sam Palmisano, and that Sid Finch will sign with the Yankees.

Barry | May 07, 2007 | 7:18PM

Well IN...if the high jump bar in the olympics is set at 3 feet and everyone clears it then everyone should get the gold medal in your model. In the real world the person that clears the highest bar gets the gold. It doesnt matter how much time the rest people spent working on the jump, they dont jump the highest they dont get the gold. Would be nice if they did and in IBM they should.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 7:18PM

Me - finally we agree. Yes, you need a rating system, and even within a select group, you will have "outperformers" in that group, and those, who, even though they would be an outperformer in a standard cross-section, may not measure quite up to the absolute top tier.
Problem is, if you read closer, the same system does not seem to apply overseas. Doesn't matter if they haven't produced 1 single piece of work in the last year that you haven't had to correct, rework, and fix, and show no signs of improvement - they are kept, and you are let go, because, to do the math again for you, $3/hour is cheaper than $30/hour. IBM thinks that they can get the same performance by hiring 10 $3/hour people to replace 1 $30/hour person, but it just doesn't work that way. (No disprespect to the overseas personell who DO excel).
I don't expect everyone that clears 3 feet to get the gold. However, I DO expect that those who do, should probably be kept ahead of those who can't clear 1 foot. But, their salary is too high, so bye-bye.

I'm glad you brought up that analogy - it fits perfectly with what I'm trying to say. IBM thinks they can hire 3 people that can high jump 1 foot apiece to replace 1 person who can high jump 3 feet.

In other words, we can win the NBA championship without Michael Jordan, as long as we replace him with 10 mediocre players that each earn 1/10 as much.

The ONLY place an analogy like this actually works (outside of maybe pure manual labor) is at top-tier corporate management. One idiot making $30 million/year could easily be replaced by cheaper labor, at a great cost savings to the company without any detrimental effect....

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 7:42PM

Barry, your a little late with your rant, most people watching post already realize the numbers are a bit over the top, but please keep in mind that that number could also include contractors working for IBMGS that are not on the books like regulars are, 1300+ Regs have been let go, on top of that are the contractors that were given their notice and this will continue. We have been told today that the headcount we just lost may be replaced with a 1:1 headcount in Latin America. So regardless of the # of IBM employees which it does not state, it says IBM to cut 150k jobs 60% of those could be contractors and are not true IBM employees as some would like to include.

JustAnotherIBMer | May 07, 2007 | 7:47PM

And, ME, to agree with you even more, (please don't faint! :) corps continually get away with this type of behavior, despite the fact that it leads to lower quality, longer turnarounds, etc... because the American Public lets them get away with it. These days Americans will sacrifice pretty much anything, quality, service, etc... as long as they can save 2 cents.
The fault is theirs (ours). And, until they start changing their habits as has also been stated in earlier threads, none of this will change. So, here I'm agreeing with the people that say quit griping. Change your spending habits and start demanding quality, avoid companies that treat their employees like Circuit City does, or shut up.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 7:49PM

What you fail to see is that the people overseas are getting the I/T education we are. Maybe they dont have the 30 years we have, but they have the knowledge. Again offfshoring is good business, bad politics, but good business. If you see 2 identical cars at a dealership, one is 15K the other is 25K which one are you going to buy?

I dont agree with all that IBM does to employees and have a major problem with how they treat contracotrs, but then again contractors are not IBM employees.

Me | May 07, 2007 | 7:52PM

That's it. You can be sure I won't be drinking the punch at any large gatherings while still an IBMer.

NoThanksNotThirsty | May 07, 2007 | 7:59PM

What YOU fail to see is in the IT world, in huge, complex systems, experience means ALOT.
Those 2 cars AREN'T identical. They just look the same from the outside. They both have the latest and greatest "smart" car technology, which allows them to "learn" as they are driven, so that the more they are driven, the more they can automatically optimize their gas mileage, tire air pressure, comfort, knowledge of how to steer themselves and their driver to work while the driver relaxes and reads the paper, etc... the car you "think" is identical just rolled off the assembly line, and since according to the owner's manual, the car needs driven about 50,000 miles before it is fully "optimized", driving 50 cars 1,000 miles apiece doesn't give you the same ride.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 8:00PM

Many IT systems are very large and complex, with many inputs/outputs. People that know these systems inside and outside know how they interact. They have an idea of how any one of say, 20 external interfaces will affect the other 19, and the system itself. Hiring 20 people each in charge of only 1 interface leads to disaster. It sounds good on paper, but in the real world of IT, it just doesn't work that way. Sure, you can hand off work to 20 different people, as long as you keep some central knowledge to oversee it, but the problem is, those "top performers", who DO know the inner workings, because of Wall Street and no other reason, are getting 3 and 4 ratings and let go. Disaster is happening now and I fear will only continue to cascade....

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 8:07PM

The stock price will go up for a few years, then the chickens will come home to roost and IBM will be left a pale shell of its old self.

But that is the plan, and not just for the executives. The smart analysts know this is going to happen, and they will ride the stock up and then dump it on suckers before it falls. But to do that they have to trick the stock-buying public that IBM is on the right path. So expect lots of reports and stories about how the analysts think IBM has a truly wonderful strategy.

anonymous | May 07, 2007 | 8:08PM

Many systems are near their breaking point now. They have been patched together at the last minute thanks to the heroic efforts of the 3's and 4's who remain within IBM (as well as the 1's and 2's). Most of the people with experience and knowledge have been let go, and for their replacements, experience is not a thing which can be easily excelerated. The few people left have worked themselves to death making up for the loss of all the experienced people, and while there are some very bright and talented people overseas, they are nowhere near the level of expertise of the people they replaced yet. And now, the few that are left, regardless of how they performed, or how many times they've come thru in the clutch in the past year, by decree of the IBM elite "Shall be rated 3 and 4" so that a few idiots who post on this board who really know nothing can say stupid things like "they're all just dead wood anyway".

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 8:15PM

You have not been reading the post. Karthik from Inda stated that he is bored because we give the sh*t work.....the guys in BA and SP are bored because we give the the sh*t work.....realize that once pay there gets to pay here, then we have a true global economy. Again the only constant in life is change.....move with it or be left behind. I am involved with LEAN in SSO and making my mark, setting the standards, making policy and proceeedures. I have been on the road for 7 weeks for this. Jump on the train or get chewed up......as far as pension, 401k retirement...anyone that think the company is going to take care of them are stupid.....my dad worked for 42 years at the same company and got nothing,,,,,his investments got him thru his death and my grand mother thru her death a year later

Me | May 07, 2007 | 8:17PM

Nor have you been reading the posts. The critical work has come back in shambles, the US got all the blame, and so they are forced to work the long hours doing it themselves, since they know it will come back broken, and they will get the blame. If you hire a kid to mow your yard, and he leaves half of it standing, chops down your flowers, etc, so that you have to spend your weekend (that you had other plans for) straightening up your yard, and your neighbors looked at the job the kid did and said YOU sure did a crappy job on your yard, and this happened repeatedly, just how many times would YOU continue to hire this kid? Doesn't matter within IBM, the kid gets the job, deal with it.
This is pointless. Go ahead and "Make Your Mark". Best Wishes to you.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 8:22PM

There is a misperception i have read for H1B in this blog....Its not feasible to use word CHEAP TECHNICAL LABOR available through H1b....facts are different....research should not be based on offshore companies like IBM only....fact is....skilled H1B consultants in the market are paid big time....none of them is making less than 90K as far as i know......

Sam | May 07, 2007 | 8:26PM

39.85 million more to go...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2003668844_harrop17.html

if we don't stop it now then get ready for the avalanche.

kirk | May 07, 2007 | 8:31PM

What are people hearing at the various centers in the US?

I heard a rumor (only a rumor) that Beaverton Oregon might move or close all together.

What are others hearing?

I wish Cringely would follow this up with more information about which locations are going to get hit the hardest!

Survivor or NOT? | May 07, 2007 | 8:33PM

Another company gets rid of 150,000 people and the FAT CATS will move down here in S.W FLORIDA buy $10 million homes on the beach lay there fat white bellys out in OUR SUNSHINE while the rest of americas retirement is gone. What a shame SHAME on you fat cats while your people are out on the streets and you live it up in OUR SUNSHINE go home go home and and do somthing for the people that gave you years of service .GOD will get you FAT CATS. Fight back america fight back NOW .

dale wagner | May 07, 2007 | 8:36PM

Sam, your ignorance of wage issues and H1B is truely breathtaking. I wouldn't waste my time trying to convince you of anything. But I will respond so that others don't confuse facts with your opining on wages. H1B workers are paid substantially less than resident workers; there are studies that show this (if you look past all the chafe that Compete America and other industry shills spew out). If you want to come out of your state of denial, start by looking up Norm Matloff and also JobDestruction.com

Allan | May 07, 2007 | 8:38PM

I remember attending the IBM "One" orientation when I joined the company a decade ago. At the time, IBM seemed to have a certain direction it wanted to follow, perhaps one could even say a certain ethics. Now, I realize how often those things are followed in reality, but at the time there was a certain foundation of these ideals that actually existed. The terminology that seems to have stayed around with no actual meaning behind it (Work/Life Balance, Win-Execute-Team, etc) may have come from that same period. Does any of that exist anymore, and how embarassed would some executives be to read those pamphlets today? Hiding our plans for redirection from clients and customers? That alone points to a downfall for the company.
Having always been a Global Services employee, I got the feeling that things were different in the actual-IBM world. Being at an outsourced-customer location, you never feel a strong connection to IBM as a whole. This was even more prevalent on certain accounts, it seemed, where the management consisted of people brought over from the other company; ones who had no idea what IBM's HR and other policies were.
But now IBM is damaging itself to an unrepairable degree. The lack of an internal response to this information, article, and discussion will be a terrible mistake. Executives could come forward and state that yes, changes are coming, but this is the plan and this is how it will benefit IBM as a whole. I have seen other corporations do this and explain what is being done with an understanding of the hardship that it will cause to many. IBM could acknowlegde that the coming changes be difficult and perhaps even demonstrate to some degree that it considers its employees to be a resource of some value. But I have been getting the sense that IBM's people have not been considered the company's strength for years now.

The David Hasselhoff Experience | May 07, 2007 | 8:52PM

My last post for awhile, I got so disgusted I cut the last one short.
Many times the US has NO CHOICE but to only give the s**t work to the overseas people. IBM with their way too optimistic proposals and deadlines leave the US with no choice. A project that MUST be done in 2 weeks, that you know from experience, because of the language, time, and experience barrier(s) will take a month minimum if you hand if off (more likely 3 months from my experience), you simply work extra and do yourself. Because, you know, regardless of who does the work, YOU will be blamed if it does not make the deadline. Again, because overseas has NO accountability. So we all just keep on busting our rumps for the company, so that we can be labeled 3's and 4's and laid off. Nobody promised me that life would be fair.

intheknow | May 07, 2007 | 8:53PM

I guess I'm not sure what the fuss is about? So ... IBM is goign to do whatever it takes to make more profit. Well, that's how business works, right? I mean, you're not really suggesting that they should think of the impact of the job losses on the people are you? Why would they, or any business, care about that? Look at the outsourcing going on in almost every major corporation and ask yourself a few questions:
1 - will it increase my profits and/or look good on Wall Street - thus increasing stock price?
2 - will this (outsourcing) affect tons of hard-working people?
3 - will outsourcing/layoffs ultimately be bad for the economy and the country as whole over time?

If you answered yes to #1 then #2 and #3 don't matter. Corporate executives and major stock holders won't be adversely affected, so nothing else matters. Even if this is ultimately bad for IBM - who cares? The execs that made this decision will have cashed out and it will be someone else's problems. They will have made their money, and that's what it's all about.

American Business 101. I still don't get what the question is?

Jim Cray | May 07, 2007 | 8:55PM

I am one of those lucky 1300 that were sold out to better this quarter's stock. My PBC's were 2+ 1 1 2 so the myth of cutting out low [erformers is bs..U get cut if you are not "in" with the right people in management.

There is going to be yet another cut, that will dwarf this one by comparison, on the 24th of May. Get use to the screwing, low morale, false promises whilst the upper managementgloat about their raises.

I was never a union type of person, but the way ibm is treating folks, is teh primary reason why unions were formed. I do not know of a single employee that works a straight 40 hour week. We have all done 50 plus for years, all to be told we dont get bonuses or raises.

I still suggest that all of the folks that get canned to sign up at IBM alliance and pay the fees with your American Express cards. You will have to pay the $10.00 but in the spirit of things, I feel its a nice move.

I would also state that EVERYONE speak to your colleges, friends, families, congressional represenatives. Get teh word out on what IBM is doing to its people. This will continue until enough light is shed on it. This is taking the IT advantages of the USA and giving that edge away. What person in the right mind would recommend their kid to got into this field now ? We WILL lose this edge to other countries due simply to greed.

Wake UpAmerica

Screwed By Sam | May 07, 2007 | 8:59PM

IBMers - post all you want here with your opinions and experiences... have a good vent, but make the necessary preparations (resume update, networking, at least passive job searching).


At worst, you'll get canned and you'll already be in motion for the job search. It takes time to ramp up.


At best, you'll find a better opportunity and leave IBM before they make you leave. Even better if you're a top performer who can take everything you know to a competitor. There are accounts that will fall on their face with the loss of a few key people. Broken SLAs, penalties, etc. . . Do you care? Who cares about you? You came, you did, you got paid, and you left. Nothing wrong with that. The DPE's, SDM's, FLM's, SLM's will sort it out or the customer will take a walk. Business goes on.


If you survive the cuts, do you really want to be around to pick up the pieces? Think about it. The bar will be continuously raised higher. "work life balance" hardly exists now, and will be even less so.


If you’re in the dark wondering who to believe, assume the worst, and work it that way. There won't be any revolution. Everyone is in fear, no one will stand up. If Sam and his and his cronies are reading this thread, they’re laughing, count on it. They’re set, you’re not, you can hate them all you want, it won't change a thing. Watch out for yourself, no one else will.


We're all just a bunch of IT whores and the corporations are the pimps. Find the least worst one you can. You might even attain mutual love with a pimp and live happily ever after. Live long and prosper.

tech hoe | May 07, 2007 | 9:00PM

American Business 101 will leave America with no jobs. We outsourced all of our manufacturing jobs in and believed that we would have more white collar opportunities in this country. Now we are sending our desk jobs to the country with the lowest wages as well. We are lowering our standards in our schools (how do we look overall in the world as far as education is concerned?). In a few more decades, what jobs will be left?

The David Hasselhoff Experience | May 07, 2007 | 9:01PM

You heard the Beaverton center might completely get the ax?!?!

My brother in-law works there. Oh man this is going to suck!

Arneso | May 07, 2007 | 9:17PM

IBM needs to stay competitive. So, the American workers will be laid off because the work can be done cheaper and possibly better by someone in another location. I do think IBM should perhaps offer the jobs to existing U.S. employees if they are willing to work for the same rate ($15K/yr) that similarly qualified workers in other locations are willing to work for. Basically, what is wrong with IBM seeking out the best qualified workers for the least cost? We Americans need to remember IBM etc are not "American" companies. They are MULTI-national corporations, hence the title MNC's. No MNC owes any special allegiance to any workers in any particular location.

global competition | May 07, 2007 | 9:20PM

Good for IBM!! IBM's global customers should not have to pay more simply because American workers cannot compete with workers in other places. If IBM can hire people for $10 thousand dollars per year to do the same work, then IBM would have to be highly foolish to pay someone $100,000 plus, to do the same work. Its a no brainer, that IBM or for that matter, any company would and should hire the workers that can do the job, and pay them the least possible amount of money. Where is the debate?
I, myself, would hire a competent employee for the lowest possible salary.
We Americans have to learn to work for $15 or $20K per year, or the jobs will simply go to other locations. No company is going to pay us more than what other workers are willing to work for. We need to prepare for this quickly.

global world | May 07, 2007 | 9:30PM

yes grasshopper, you just solved the issue! A star for you.

osama | May 07, 2007 | 9:38PM

From the Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701
www.allianceibm.org
Take Action Now!
Spread The Word!

With the news of last weeks job cuts and information that future cuts are right around the corner,
The Alliance@IBM CWA Local 1701 is calling on Mid Hudson Valley members and supporters to participate in an informational picket line.

WHEN: THURSDAY MAY 10

TIME: NOON TO 1PM

WHERE: CORNER OF RT 9 AND SPACKENKILL PLAZA

SOS--Stop Off Shoring!
Stop the Job Cuts!

Tom Watson | May 07, 2007 | 9:41PM

ME...remind not to buy a car with you. You probably replace yours every 2 years because they keep stalling. You end up waiting 10 seconds and then restarting them. That's okay, 10 seconds gives you time to drink more coolade.

For those of us that drive the big rigs (z9 processors with z/OS operating systems) for big companies, your kit car (system), 2nd rate mechanic (sys prog) and teenage driver (application prog) will leave you stranded on the road explaining to your customer why the load isn't there and paying penalties to them that exceeds the money you saved.

As long as you put all these numbers in a different part of the spreadsheet, your bean counters won't be able to determine that you get what you pay for (usually less). Try being an owner/operator that sees the true bottom line.

Darn...I just ripped that $10 wally world shirt I'm wearing and have to go buy a new one. That's the 5th one this year. Nah...I'll just throw on that 10 year old 'made in the USA' shirt Mom made me that just doesn't seem to wear out or rip and become drafty.

Thanks Mom for instilling a work ethic in me to do a hard days work for a hard days pay and to satisfy my customer.

FYI; This is nothing against the folks offshore. I find them to be very hard workers and willing to learn. Like myself, I didn't gain my skill over night but over decades.

GLOBAL COMPETITION: I challenge 5 of your $15k guys to avoid the customer impacts/financial penalties that I can. Not to mention provide permanent resolution so that it doesn't happen again!

GLOBAL WORLD: Show me someone that can live on $15-$20k in this country. You can't and that's thanks to corporate america and the corporate sluts we call politicians. And guess what? We aren't raising the standard of living in those developing countries. We're just making the rich in those countries richer. John Q Public still has substandard living conditions.

Stepping off the soapbox!

NEXT!

fighting burnout | May 07, 2007 | 9:46PM

Yes, but neither do we to they. IBM and others must still reap specific benefits from keeping some operations in the US. If it's so rough for them to operate over here and all the workers suck, why don't they leave altogether? One thing I can't stand : a whining corporation.

Thompson | May 07, 2007 | 9:48PM

@Global competition
@Global World

You two geniuses why don't you tell us about taxes, cost of living in the US vs India ?

joe | May 07, 2007 | 9:49PM

Yep, more jobs for the Sand Niggers...

Sam Palmisano | May 07, 2007 | 9:49PM

But how can America workers work for $15k per year when the cost of living in America often does not allow that? Foreign workers can afford to be paid less and still have enough to provide for a family. For example, should everyone just leave California because the cost of living is so high it would take Californians out of the job market? Maybe they should just all emigrate to India...

common sense | May 07, 2007 | 9:56PM

Beaverton center will be close .. back to 2003, they already "released" one of buildings. Most of Beaverton center's work has been moved to TX.

Not sure about if the upper (2nd & 3rd or even those band 10 level) managers knows their job SHOULD BE GONE 1st.

IBM only cuts the Service division which is the CASH COW for IBM .. go figure .. while research division has been buring money with no limitation

former IGS(IBM Gloabl service)er | May 07, 2007 | 10:20PM

Beaverton center will be close .. back to 2003, they already "released" one of buildings. Most of Beaverton center's work has been moved to TX.

IBM only cuts the Service division which is the CASH COW for IBM .. go figure .. while research division has been buring money with no limitation

former IGS(IBM Gloabl service)er | May 07, 2007 | 10:21PM

This story is raising speculations with regards to its accuracy. Analysts aren't buyin' it.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/050707-ibm-layoffs.html

Braktalk | May 07, 2007 | 10:23PM

As I fade out for the night, my question is this: What other supporting information do we have on this? Sure, there were job cuts in the past week. Yes, LEAN is here, it is being implemented worse than if it were being done by a group of drunk monkeys (or the goverment, for that matter). IBM has set up operations overseas. The company is stupidly low-balling its price on contracts only to find itself shuffling around to make ends meet once the checks arrive (and wondering how to make the SLAs it has negotiated). But I don't see anything else out there that corroborates or confirms the speculations of numbers here. In fact, the only other articles that I have found online which provide any conjecture upon the layoff numbers are quoting this online article as a reference (and many do it questioningly). It is true that I try to be skeptical in all situations, but I think that we (as IBM employees, which most here seem to be) should work together to determine the extent of the layoffs before deciding that we all are doomed. The LEAN process is flawed and has already hurt IBM on many contracts with customers. There are going to be further layoffs of employees (as well as contractors). But let's step back and determine what we know. Otherwise, it may all backfire: if 20,000 employees are let go instead of 100,000 or 150,000 then those on the other side of the desk will tell you it is "not so bad," and many will believe them. This column contains truth, rumor, and perhaps exaggeration.

The David Hasselhoff Experience | May 07, 2007 | 10:59PM

Hi,

My name is Nimmy and I work for IBM now. I was
hired at the time cookie cutter became the CEO.

At the time, I was hired as term employee (4 years). IBM then saw what I can do and converted ne to permanent (hahaha , nothing is permanent).

I believe IBM is on an uncontrollable irreversible "dump your US" workforce trend. This is the problem with big dinosours, it is very hard to reverse a trend.

If you ask me, is this going to destroy IBM, I say no, because IBM is already heavily vested overseas. IBM is just moving shop overseas and does not want to have the same fate as GM and FORD. IBM is trying to survive in a flat world.

After, say 10 years, the US currency will loose its luster and IBM will be loaded with EUROS and emerging economies currencies. IBM will
rehire its former workforce at a cheaper rate.

Is it bad? I say yes it is for me and US employees. But this is not the end of the universe. We will find things to do and make money.

Sincereley ,
Nimmy at IBM


nimmy_at_ibm | May 07, 2007 | 11:15PM

Only time will tell how much truth there is to the story, but much of it rings true. A couple of years ago a paper was published at the Agile Development Conference about one team's experience trying to actually apply agile software development techniques (pretty lean concepts) within a stagnant part of IBM. There is a copy of the paper and slides here.

Agilista | May 07, 2007 | 11:20PM

I worked for IBM, was affected by the Gerstner cuts, got hired back in under a IBM affilaite, which got sold to a large communications company.
In my dealings with IBM today, it is clear that there are a lot of people who think that they are doing 'good' business, when in fact, they are worse than crooked used car salesman.

Ethics and integrity at many levels within IBM are casuing this problem. Your right, it will only make the books look good for a short time and then, crisis mode will strike. In the meantime peoples lives are devasted. All of this for what? Another cycle of building up the profits , quick payout for the insiders making a ton of money on thier options. Read the reports and seek the truth, it's all in there.

Johnny B | May 07, 2007 | 11:31PM

In regards to accuracy.. My department, as with many others who responded, has been "downsized" considerably this past week. Everyone is stretched to the limit and we try our best to prepare for the inevitable. We've made cut after cut for the several years. It happens all the time. Take a count of the corporate contributors on this page.. it's a pretty good percent that responded within hours. However...

Analysts may not buy this story since their main goal and objective is to review corporate strategies and statistics based on metrics that were predefined by a management team that includes a group of diverse individuals within their organization. It is these predefined guidelines, projected forcasts, combined with the skillset of the analyst, that will determine the accuracy of this article. Baffling, brilliant? This is I.T.

dried up in phx | May 07, 2007 | 11:33PM

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD. The two idiots here, global whatever, assume that the cost of living in Bangalore or other third world countries means that I - here - CAN GET USED to a low paying wage and salary. Wow, I'll go down to the local IRS office and sell them on that idea. And I sure the Department of Commerce will cut my cost of living in half, and the price of gasoline will drop and I can sell my home for pennies on the dollar too. I'll bet Bangalore doesn't have so many taxes too. And that cow in the backyard provides free milk.

GET WITH IT. WE CANNOT COMPETE here because WE LIVE IN AMERICA and not a mud hut in some third world country. WE ARE BEING SOLD DOWN THE GANGES RIVER by AMERICAN MANAGEMENT and AN ADMINISTRATION IN WASHINGTON that loves to cut expenses for shareholder value.

Bob Eisenhardt | May 07, 2007 | 11:45PM

Right on tech hoe.

Jeremy | May 07, 2007 | 11:49PM

The bigger picture is that IBM is just doing what the rest of the Fortune 500 are doing. All you can criticize them for really is the dramatic schedule they are proposing to do it. Obviously, they will deny it. They don't want their herd of employees to stampede out the door while the job hunting is still early. They want an orderly slaughter of jobs so there is minimal disruption to the company. Some expect this trend to continue and for China and India to regain the leadership roles they had before the new world was discovered. Reference this article for a discussion of that:
http://lloydsinvestment.blogspot.com/2006/11/what-2000-years-of-history-tells-us.html
and then ask yourself what person's of high status probably asked themselves as they saw England's empire crumbling as their colonies became free:
How are my kids and their kids ever going to have anything even similar to what I have had? But, given the rate of movement of jobs to China and India, maybe the question should be will I be able to make it through retirement?

Jimmy | May 07, 2007 | 11:52PM

Bob Eisenhardt said: "WE CANNOT COMPETE here because WE LIVE IN AMERICA and not a mud hut in some third world country."

It is sad to see how uninformed people are when commenting on this stuff. Sure, living in Bangalore is cheaper than in San Jose, but the living standards are nothing like a "mud hut". Indians who work in IT have a very decent living standard, and they have a significant increase year over year. Uninformed drivel like the above just proves that Americans are as uninformed as they are bigoted. Thankfully, as an American, I know this isn't the case across the board.

"WE ARE BEING SOLD DOWN THE GANGES RIVER by AMERICAN MANAGEMENT".

The management of a company is supposed to do one thing, and one thing only, and that is to increase the profitability and viability of the company they are managing. They do this by reducing cost and increasing revenue. I understand this is difficult for some people to live with, but then again Capitalism wasn't for everyone to enjoy day to day. If you can't stand living in a capitalist country, I am sure there are good alternatives elsewhere. You can, of course, also work to make the US into a socialist country more to your liking, but I don't think you will get very far.

The Terje | May 07, 2007 | 11:56PM

Jimmy: All you can criticize them for really is the dramatic schedule they are proposing to do it.

They have not proposed a schedule like the one Cringely suggests. Not even close. IBM doesn't have 150,000 people in IGS in the US to let go. Perhaps they have 50,000 or so in IGS. Probably not even that many. So if they are to cut their staff in half, by cutting 150,000 people, they will first have to hire 250,000 people to get to 300,000 then they will let go 150,000 people. That will leave IGS with about 150,000 people, at least 100,000 more than they have now. How is that bad?

Or to put it differently, Cringely should stop OD'ing on his wife's anti-depressant drugs before writing this kind of uniformed, unintelligent drivel.

The Terje | May 08, 2007 | 12:01AM

Have to admit, I am am a Replican and an advocate for capitalism. So even as a casualty of this LEAN objective. I have to admit they are doing what they have to for the bottom line. I guess I just assumed that the capitalist principles would apply only here, in a capitalist country. I didn't see it reaching out to the countries that don't even embrace the priciples. Basically I am just crushed, my first job out of the University, which I threw my heart and soul into. I will so much miss the great people I've been working with. But I will be fine, as will all of us that got the boot. Just get out there. I've had one interview already, the very next day after the bad news, and in IBM to boot. And have another tomorrow.

Amy | May 08, 2007 | 12:07AM

I was part of the LEAN cuts about a month ago. Working for IBM d-u-m-b-s-h-i-t-s at Capital One in Richmond, VA. Everything you ever thought was true about the stupidity and flocks of a-s-s-h-o-l-e-s running IBM is true. They are h-e-l-l-b-e-n-t on stupid-is-better-stupid-is-right for the management track. God what a bunch of idiots running around. IBM is all about Industrial Tech, the zenith of mediocrity ( remember IBM stands for I-build-mediocrity ). Industrial Tech is a complete manifestation of the BIG PLAN, when everything is measured, quantified, and then s-h-i-t out into reality in the form of technology bureacracies that demand work orders and mundane orwellian misery in the illusion of efficiency.


Industrial Tech is where it's all headed, taking the best from the shop floor of yesteryear and reinstalling it in Information Technology. If there was ever a time for unions in IT today is the day.



Good luck to all of you who were unfortunate to have worked for such skanks, and take it from me, it was a relief to get out of that s-h-i-t-h-o-l-e of mediocrity. IBM is just another member of corporate-america that has no consciousness, and no conscience. F-U-C-K-Y-O-U IBM. I beat them to the punch by the way and got out right before my slot was given to people in Brazil. And yes, Brazil is the next India, along with Viet Nam and any other country that can live on less than $100 a day.

Name_Withheld | May 08, 2007 | 12:07AM

Wake up and smell the curry little Hindus!! These actions are a pre-cursor to the real end game. We are selling the portfolio of SO contracts to Carlyle and EDS. We are also shopping the GBS business to an unknown boutique.
Looks like John Akers was right!

RMAC | May 08, 2007 | 12:27AM

I have heard that these and upcoming job cust are the pre-cursor to selling off the SO business. I would appreciate a little more substaniation if your willing to provide it.

"Wake up and smell the curry little Hindus!! These actions are a pre-cursor to the real end game. We are selling the portfolio of SO contracts to Carlyle and EDS. We are also shopping the GBS business to an unknown boutique.
Looks like John Akers was right!"

GPS | May 08, 2007 | 12:38AM

Global World - I get a little fuzzy on your logic when the principles of cheaper labor fail to impacct the highest salaries within IBM. This company has demanded contractors to take numerous pay cuts - stopped overtime pay - basically scraped the bottom of the barrel for every penny it could find from people. Surely if the decision is so cut and dry, why not have the upper people running this company walk this path with us hand in hand. The bottom line is Sam P. should step down and announce that in order to practice what he preachs he is being replaced to lead by example for the well being of IBM. In Closing lets remember a classy insult by Clarence Darrow - I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure -
Go away Sam.....

Paul E | May 08, 2007 | 12:41AM

@ The Terje -- what's the schedule? And if it's not so bad, no harm in sharing? How many is it?


Shine some light on the Cringely's doom and gloom please.

inquiring mind | May 08, 2007 | 12:58AM

My blue collar parents lived in Endicott back in the early 60's before I was born and knew many IBMers there. IBMers weren't allowed to live in trailers, had to wear the blue/black pants and white shirts and couldn't have facial hair. (nice diversity program!).

Once I hired on with IBM and vented with my Dad about how the upper management had no idea what the company and it's high performing employees actually did, he'd tell me stories about how the company has always been that way. He taught me the term 'ivory tower'.

Wish I had an ivory tower to jump out of with a golden parachute whenever I wanted too.

NEXT!

fighting burnout | May 08, 2007 | 1:11AM

Speaking as a formerly long-term contractor for IBM at a customer's site, I saw this coming a while ago, like around February 2006 while at an IBM DR facility. The week before LEAN was scheduled to hit the client (client has since successfully for the moment refused LEAN even though it doesn't really help because there aren't enough people and there is no intention to hire lost positions), I had an offer from a new sensible company. I dodged the bullet and left. Never been happier and more satisfied with leaving a place, even though it was considered by the client to be a great loss to the team because of my skill-set. IBM management did nothing to retain me, I would imagine due to the LEAN project heading our way. That's fine, it made the decision that much easier. What I can say is that the contractors for the most part did all the significant work in the environment. Most IBM'ers on this account did not have current skills to do so and had been riding it out for years (having not seen a raise in nearly 5 years and looking at multiple benefit cuts). This was not the case with other accounts and this is in no way a slam against the actual "worker bees" at IBM because I have worked with many extremely talented IBM'ers. It just so happened that on our teams, management never bothered to fill the holes with talented IBM'ers. Contractors are seen as much easier to get rid of and it's true, but there are many problems with contractors taking over all the critical functions in the environment. Everyone knew this for years and life went on as usual. The client was satisfied with the support because of the effort of contractors and long-term supplemental employees. Then along came the IGSI phenomena.

This was pushed by management several levels above my manager, somewhere around the 2nd into 3rd lines, obviously even higher. When I first started, we had 11 people on our team in our state, many more in other states. That was just for our support group. Over a period of three years, that number (as it stands today), was cut to two people in the US. They are also near the chopping block now. IGSI rolled into town and knew absolutely nothing. All our constant training of them did absolutely no good. 8 months into the whole deal, they still didn't understand what SA's did on a daily basis and had been responsible for numerous critical mistakes and had even developed a holier than thou attitude.

This was fine for a while. We simply accepted it and dealt with all the communication issues, the failed changes, the midday critical system outages, the lack of expertise to resolve problems, the inability to participate in a meaningful way on projects, etc. The list goes on. All the while our inept management attempted to say that we hadn't trained them well enough. Well, for this level of position, you can't hire a monkey off the street. Everyone on our team in the state had 10+ years of experience and new the systems inside out. We knew all the application people, all the contacts around the various sites, the oddities of implemented systems, everything. Never have I seen an outsourced account flush itself down the toilet so convincingly. All the IBM managers do all day is point the blame at one another, "work remotely" and do counter-productive things all day. The services business was literally a gold mine for IBM and it's been squandered. The reputation IBM has at this client is miserable. The only thing holding it together as some have said, are the remaining pillars of technology, mainly contractors at most IGS accounts. The list of failures and mismanagement is too expansive to list. Even when I gave notice that I was leaving, there was simply nobody with enough knowledge of my SME to actually transfer the knowledge to. The remaining staff had been kicked so many times that they really didn't care either. They're just hoping for the client to ditch IBM, or receive some type of severance package, or for the contractors to be let go so they can get unemployment. The people who were let go early in the process were actually the lucky ones because they got unemployment. The rest of us had to struggle with miserable management, a sense of looming doom, and the only real way out was to find a new job or to hope at some point to be given marching orders.

While at IBM, I had some of the worst managers ever and I really wonder how this company hobbles along.

Magoo Jones | May 08, 2007 | 1:33AM

This syndrome "corporatophilia" has three components:

1. A corporation is schizophrenic in nature--it is accorded the rights of a human being or...is not accorded the rights of a human being depending upon what color affects the bottom line of THE corporation. The raison d'etre of the corporation is MANDATED very clearly--make $$ for the shareholders. PERIOD. Check out an old Rod Serling teleplay PATTERNS for a brilliant analysis of the infancy of the corporation.

2. Since Wall Street SURVIVES on supplying orgasms to shareholders, whatever mechanism is effective in providing, facilitating or perpetuating those orgasms is the kaleidoscopic "monolith" that is worshipped. No matter how loud they bray, Wall Street are the true atheists. They really only have one god--eternal profits.

3. Among the corporate elites PEOPLE do NOT matter. People, no matter what euphemism you use, are flesh-and-blood Capital. An investment that continues the PROFITS or impairs the PROFITS, this status dictates whether LIFE or DEATH is AWARDED.

In closing, why do these parasites EXIST?

BECAUSE THEY NEVER HAVE TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD THAT THEY HAVE CREATED FOR THOSE OUTSIDE THEIR CIRCLE. THEY ARE IN A BUBBLE, AND ONLY WHEN THAT BUBBLE BURSTS, LIKE ENRON ET AL, DO THEY ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF WHAT THEY HAVE ACTUALIZED themselves.

Hospitals, sanataria, psych offices are chuck full of the detritus that has been amputated by the machine that demands only one thing--NO mistakes that can lead to LESS than maximun profits.

For a wonderful display of this phenomenon see the sportsbetting movie with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey. It is crystal clear for all to see.

David T. Gray | May 08, 2007 | 2:10AM

My two cents.

1. Stop whining about off shoring unless you really care about what happens to the workers and wages that gets impacted when Wal-Mart builds a new superstore. You save a buck at Wal-Mart and Sam saves a buck by off-shoring. It is pretty much the same thing in my opinion. By the way, the first bullet in the IBM Mission Statement is to bring value to the stockholders.

2. We know Sam is probably on his way out with a big golden parachute and there is nothing you can do about it. If they bring in another inside guy to replace him then the new guy will probably be as big of a buffoon as Sam. IBM needs some new blood at the top to kick some butt. There is too much of the old guard still around. Hey Sam, can you really afford to have up to 20% of your work force working on audit compliance? Let me know when that starts working for you. Maybe you should Lean out some of the audit process.

3. Get your debt under control. It will make the difference between being a wage slave and a somewhat free agent.

4. To all of the wieners out there that say US workers should learn to live on $20k/year. I would gladly do it when my mortgage drops to $400/month, I pay $1 for a gallon of milk and my kid’s education cost $10k for a BS degree. Research the Internet and you will find that a 20k salary in India is equivalent to an 80 to 100k salary here.

5. IBM and other companies are putting their eggs in one of the most politically unstable areas of the world. What to you think is going to happen in India and China when the size of the middle class explodes and they start demanding better representation? The US saw it. We wound up with labor unions, riots, and strikes. Think the Chinese are going to tolerate that? India probably won’t care since they seem to go on a general strike for just about anything. Of course it may take 10 to 15 years for things to blow up and by that time the current crop of Enronians will be gone.

6. I think it is interesting how the big multinationals are pumping billions of dollars in China and India. They are trying to take both countries to that same level, in 15 years, as it has taken the US 50 to 60 years to reach. Good luck to both countries. Hope you also enjoy the stress when there are no more US workers to fall back on. Inflation, drugs, and high taxes are just more of the fun.

7. There have been a lot of insults flying around. I think it is a little arrogant to believe that one group of people is smarter than another or that one group has a better work ethic. From what I have seen the workers in India are about 5 to 7 years behind the US worker as far as skills go at least in some IT fields. That is not meant to be an insult just an observation. I wonder if these big companies actually think they are going to make it through that length of time, until the skill set equalize.

Here is what you can do. Next time you call for support on something demand to speak to someone that you can understand. You are the customer you are always right especially if you are paying for the support. Write your Senators and Congressmen. You will be lucky if they can read but it is worth a shot. Vote Democrat, they are more than willing to spend tax money to buy your vote. You don’t have to vote Republican they will just fix the election. The apathy of the US voter is letting these bozos get away with everything. This country is supposed to be for the people and by the people. We have a civic duty to police the government. BE HEARD!!!!

Chucky | May 08, 2007 | 2:31AM

It is pretty sad when a company that took in $9,492,000,000 profit last year (earning $6.26/share) still feels the need to displace 150,000 workers.

It would be one thing if they were on the fast track to bankrupcy, but under the circumstances there is really no excuse for this.

Priest | May 08, 2007 | 3:26AM

Let it(IBM)crash & burn FOREVER!

This will be the fate of this country because your government is doing the same damn thing to it's citzens. look at how the "media" supports the illeagle immigrants rights; the insane gas prices; the trillion for Iraq while bridges collaps in California.

This is only the begining of the end.

ThePower&TheLIght | May 08, 2007 | 4:19AM

"Mr Palmisano is expected to visit India around May 7"

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1913130.cms

Interesting...if you only knew back then he was visiting India to hand over the keys to IBM.

"In June last year, Mr Palmisano had announced that IBM would triple its investment in the country to $6 billion by 2009. The investment, he had said, would be channelised towards building service delivery centres in the tech hub of Bangalore and creating a telecommunications research and innovation centre for IBM clients around the world."

Ohhhhh...duh!

classical music no more | May 08, 2007 | 4:26AM

Still working for IBM :) However IBM is so over bloated with 'manager' again busy justifying a job role for themselves. As people have probably pointed out it would seem that the top level managers ar ensuring a rich retirement perhaps. IBM continue to make mistakes & this is going to be another. But you have to say it is self inflicted. But I would suggest there is still a lot of dead wood ie people with nothing job roles flaoting around IBM

Just-A-Number | May 08, 2007 | 4:28AM

Don't look now but managers are also getting cut. No one is safe.

Tricorder | May 08, 2007 | 4:48AM

Despite a lot of negative feedback from IBM workers, they must be getting something BETTER at IBM than they could get with another company; is it just the salary at the end of the month?
The market works for THEM too - if they don't like what's coming, just walk!

Trev | May 08, 2007 | 4:49AM

I walked a while back. Getting paid more, getting better benefits, better work environment, better management, etc.

The bad thing for those still with IBM is now they will be competing with the other 150,000 laid off x-IBMers.

If you don't get your rears moving right away you will have a heck of a time getting a job...and forget about getting a good salary too.

GET A MOVE ON!

Tricorder | May 08, 2007 | 4:53AM

While I believe that IBM management may, as is common, be making decisions focused on short or mid term stock performance, I am not quite getting it. Doing your maths, IBM employs 350.000 people globally and you are telling us there are 300.000 in the US Global Services organization alone, 150.000 of which are prone to layoff? Please note that IBM employs approximately 356.000 people globally, 127.000 of them in the US(and that includes IBM Business Units other than Global Services), as you can read in the most recent, audited and publicly available annual report of IBM Corp. Can you please adjust your statements to these facts and also quote more reliable sources or otherwise prove your statments? I am inclined to believe in IBM layoffs, in particular in the U.S., and I would be very interested to learn more about the plans at IBM, but what I read in your article just does not seem to add up.

Dietrich Lehner | May 08, 2007 | 5:33AM

Quote.."Other commenters - It's always easy to say in order to expand the "free market", losing American jobs is a small sacrifice. Until you lose your own job, that is. Increased purchasing power means little when we are unemployed."

The only thing free trade/gobalisation will accomplish is to destroy middle class America. Which alot of other countries don't mind seeing.

As far a offshore work that I have seen from an operations standpoint....2 thumbs DOWN ! I have seen firsthand the incompetance from these workers. Might/might not be their fault...did they lie when they said they could do the job?
The one BIG thing that Americans are known for is thinking 'outside the box'. We will do whatever it takes to get the job done...and done right. I have been running mainframes since '80, I have dealt with numerous support groups. What used to take hours or maybe days to fix now take weeks and months from the offshore teams. I think I can safely state that YOU CAN'T TEACH 20-30 YEARS OF EXPERTISE in this field...period. Just because someone has a degree doesn't mean they can do the job...ever wonder why the majority of people with degrees work OUTSIDE the field they majored in?

Withheld | May 08, 2007 | 5:40AM

IBM is going to screw both the work force & the customer - but upper management will retire rich. I have worked with some of the offshore folks - who, at the end of their shifts hang up on SEV1 problem calls (not even a warm hand-off). The offshore workforce isn't properly trained in supporting issues - making resolving problems take triple to quadruple the time to resolve, but they are cheap compared to the US workforce (although recent news stories indicate that India is about out of IT folks & the 'schools' which train them don't have equipment to train them on, so everything is theory - and costs of India offshore workers have more than doubled - and the Chinese work force costs even more). During the 'LEAN' transition, the US workforce is being expected to work even more mandatory OT (last year, the site I worked at was so understaffed that just to keep up, I put in over 2500 hours - and, as of 5/4 this year, I have in over 900 hours - you'd think IBM would have learned a lesson about that when, in essence they lost a lawsuit about mandatory OT last year). Customer projects completion dates are slipping - and IBM won't be able to meet SLAs (in other words, they are going to owe the customer). Then IBM posts an article on their site about SPIRIT - claiming to want employees retention - which has miraculously disappeared from the site. If Wall Street thinks this is such a terrific idea, perhaps we should come up with a way to offshore THEIR jobs - and upper management's jobs as well! Think of all the money corporations could save then - Sam Palmisano made enough last year to keep me employed for 200 YEARS!

Mary | May 08, 2007 | 5:53AM

Being an IBM customer of one of those low-bid contracts I must say you are spot on. They have been the absolute worst bidding their A team but fielding their D team. SLAs are missed; promises unkept; with little to no expertise. The absolute worst outsourcing for managed IT services I have ever seen and I have been on both sides.

Mud Shark | May 08, 2007 | 6:36AM

What we need is a good old fashioned world war. Put them foreigners back in their place. Once we bomb them pointy heads back into the stone age where they belong we can go back to being overpaid, overfed and complacent, just like the good old days in the 1950's -1970's. Competition? Save that for the other guy.

Old Timer | May 08, 2007 | 6:50AM

You know, we're being let go because we were born in America. Ummm,.... can anyone say, DISCRIMINATION???? Isn't there a LAW against that? Maybe a CLASS ACTION SUIT?

Got_Axed | May 08, 2007 | 7:00AM

LEAN is not about layoffs. Never has been and never will be. LEAN is about speeding up the process of delivering the service to the customer and allowing more time for staff to focus on value add activities. You will not find one LEAN supporter who uses the practice to layoff workers. If they do they do not understand the reasons for implementing LEAN in the first place. I suggest you look elsewhere for the root cause of layoffs.

Jeff | May 08, 2007 | 7:04AM

I don't know why people keep saying Sam Palisano will leave riding a golden parachute - why should he?

Sam and the other American corporate CEOs managed two rather amazing things in the last three decades: They successfully ran their total compensation packages up to historically and globally unheard of multiples of their average worker's salaries, and they disconnected themselves from one of the yardsticks used to judge CEOs in past generations: "Is what they do good for America?".

Sam and his cohorts can still live in their mansions in America off of the profits they make from their offshore labor, and absolutely no one will hold them accountable for their lack of morality or patriotism.

It tickles me, in a way, that the Christian fundamentalists in this country, with their fervor and zeal for morality and family values, in fact helped put the people in power that consolidated the replacement of respect for the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bible, and even the lowly Boy Scout Oath, with a new God: Wall Street.

And look at the performance of the market: Wall Street is, from the perspective of traditional values, indeed a most forgiving God - you can do anything as long as you do it profitably - absolutely anything.

Oh, you and your children will still work for Sam...if you're young enough, you'll be defending Sam and his kind from terrorists.

Too old for that? Then you'll be taking his hat when he sweeps into the club, polishing his shoes or his silver, washing one of his limos, or waiting his table at the Greenbriar or elsewhere.

Forever, if those offshore labor markets don't get carried away with wage demands...

ibsteve2u | May 08, 2007 | 7:20AM

To all the racist people who discriminate "third worlders": stop whining. You're being let go because somewhere in the world, someone can do your job - or almost do it - for 1/10 what you earn.

So what if "they can't speak english", so what if they "can't innovate"... If you need someone with those skills, you can still hire him for half the price.

Daniel | May 08, 2007 | 7:51AM

Wow. That is quite the article. While I believe there is a job action in the making, I think there are more reasons behind it besides growing the stock. Ultimately, for ibm the no. one goal is stock growth (I believe that) but I also think business has been dragging. There was not enough business to support the employee base in GBS. I think what innovation centers are left are in for a downturn.

And yet, there are profoundly exciting technologies and directions coming down the pipe at IBM but GBS had very little linkage to the software side of the business (which was introducing wild new tools for web 2.0, for example). I think that the linkages between the company were not strong enough and despite having the best tools in the business, IBM GBS was too focused on making the billable hours, making the revenue, getting the starburst, to see the trends and link back into other impressive parts of the company.

Laurie | May 08, 2007 | 7:59AM

lolll..don't believe me when I say "Forever, if those offshore labor markets don't get carried away with wage demands..."?

Look here and on any other board, blog, or website for arguments that use words like "whining" and comparisons of wage requirements...and note the absolute lack of any concern about what is good for the nation or the people of our nation in them.

ibsteve2u | May 08, 2007 | 8:00AM

If companies do not stop off shoring these jobs, we will be a 3rd world country. IBM, like other companies, think of the almighty dollar and not their employees. They should get rid of their upper management for a change instead of the bottom workers. Between the management's salaries, benefits, FREE shares, etc., that's where they will save.

Glen | May 08, 2007 | 8:13AM

I have been with IBM for 20 years. With Lean, IBM basically wants to do what my team has done with my customer group for the last 17 years, reduce cost, but maintain quality. We used to be over 500 strong, we now have less than 30 in the US, but we reduced over 17 years, not in one. Now our jobs are "given" to cheaper offshore labor. Welcome to mediocrity.

ralph | May 08, 2007 | 8:50AM

If Americans have not opened their eyes by now, then it is probably too late.
China has you by the nads. The US would crumble if China was to get pissed and slow or stop manufacturing. Yet, corporate America continues to support a communistist state while the US government watches and rewards. When I worked at IBM in the States, it was illegal to even sell PCs over a certain spec. to communist China. My, how quickly money in the right pockets can change the laws of the land.
Let us not forget the technology that China is so adept at stealing and reverse engineering.
And India. You American corporations think India is your cheap labor salvation and the quick fix for your bad management and horrendous greed.
India and China will discover that the US is soon to be irrelevant and that they are now the true superpowers.
Well, neither country is your friend or ally.
How can Americans allow companies like WalMart and IBM to continue to sell you out ? But, you Yanks do have such a reputation for complacency.

gmann | May 08, 2007 | 8:51AM

A few years ago Paul Strassman wrote the article “Outsourcing is Still for Losers”, where he points out those companies that move towards outsourcing are the ones struggling to increase profits. In other words: Not the ones making money. These geniuses running these losers decide that it’s not a management problem, or a marketing problem, or a product/service development problem, but an IT problem. Paying too much money for IT labor. Suddenly, the IT department doesn’t have “developers”, instead they have “coders”. The culture gets transformed to believe their own BS, that it’s the business people that are the true crown jewels of the company, and the IT people are just worker bees, making too much money.

This would be like GM deciding that the looks and marketing of a new car are heads and shoulders above reliability and performance.

While outsourcing can work for some cost cutting measures, it’s far from the being the cure for loser companies.

Deloitte released a study that 70% of large companies had negative experiences with outsourcing and 25% brought outsourcing projects back in house. Why? It didn’t turn out to be the big costs savings program that these geniuses said it was. There were many “overhead” costs not originally included, and the realization that IT does have some crown jewels. After the dust clears, these companies are found to be structurally disadvantaged.

All these IBMers can do is hold on until the next regime change, or realize that you’re not considered an asset to the company and move on to a company that believes you are.

Webbster | May 08, 2007 | 8:54AM

The whole idea that the IBM ITD U.S. workforce can just be handed over to the BRIC is just beyond ridiculous. We are IBM's best sales group. We know the equipment that we work on and what is needed when. Do you really think that the workers in the BRIC will do what we do for IBM? It is not just IBM that will suffer for this. IGS/ITD supports OEM hardware, too. EMC, SUN, HP, and HITACHI, etc. Believe me when I tell you that we sell a lot of hardware for all of these companies and they will see the impact as well. It is beyond my comprehension that somebody in INDIA for example can do my job. Although we do support remotely, we spend an awful lot of time going on-site to do the initial setups and to bring in new equipment or fix problems that cannot be taken care of remotely. What is going to happen when we are gone? Someone is not thinking too clearly.


If you think that laying off 40,000 or more IBM/ITD employees is not going to impact our U.S. economy you are living in a dreamworld. The result of these layoffs will be like watching a stack of dominos falling. Once IBM starts this there will be no recovery. This is a VERY bad move for IBM if it is true.

just1waiting | May 08, 2007 | 8:55AM

Bob,

Good article. Is this in conflict with one of your predictions for the year? I don’t have a problem if the numbers aren’t adding up, I think you did it intentionally. Unfortunately that’s THE way to catch people’s attention. Obviously this is a lot bigger issue than just IBM or IT industry.

Chucky,

I agree with your point #4. Perhaps we should just "reset" our economic environment…. I am afraid that multinationals would not like that very much at all. How would they manage to buy something for next to nothing (in this case labor) and sell it here at “western” prices.

So how do “overpaid” people fight back. I am afraid, we’ll have to resort to some kind of alliance or organizing. Please don’t give me a communist/leftist/whatever label. Organizing of workers is very capitalistic idea. Companies align all the time. Imagine three million IT people going on strike, next time IBM, or any other software vendor, moves jobs to India or the next cheaper destination. Someone would probably notice. Interesting utopia!?

Best!

-una

una | May 08, 2007 | 9:00AM

Just a note to the folks that were talking about corporate motives. If there is one movie most techs should see, this one is fantastic. Head over to



http://www.thecorporation.com/



and get a copy of this DVD. It used to be at BestBuy for $25, but haven't seen it there in a while, and was on catv in the on-demand movies section last year. It's a great backgrounder on the corporation in the US and how we all got to this mess. Totally agrees with the poster who was talking about the profit-motive of US corporations. Their prime-directive is to make money, and most corporate charters mandate that they must, by law as a corp, show a profit and reduce costs. But we are living in the extreme now, with no soul in corporate america. It is disturbing that megacorps make so much money and so unwilling to share the profit amongst the very people who got them there, and treat people with such callous disregard. It will backlash on IBM to go to India. Indians are willing to work, but I doubt seriously they will put up with such arrogance and aetheistic behavior as we are now living with in the US.


And lets not forget about the media, who are muddying the water with immigration, constantly misusing the terminology and confusing the public here and in Mexico. There are illegal aliens, immigrants, and guest workers. These are 3 distinct categories. The media rolls them all into one big pile. Immigrants are people who want to be US Citizens, speak English, and contribute to our society, illegal aliens and guest workers are people who want to work here and send the money back to Mexico, or other countries, and don't want to speak English, or contribute to our society. The media need to pull their head out and stop misusing illegal aliens to pump fast news stories. Not to mention the H1B situation, which is only going to get worse. I've seen this first hand, with corps housing them, and bussing them to work. Reminicent of mining towns in the US west back during the gold rush and mining boom. In my not so humble opinion the US Gov should offer a fast-track to citizenship to all aliens if they join our military, learn to speak English fluently, and agree to live, work and contribute to our society and not send their money back to Mexico, or other countries that tolerate human misery and suffering, and total disregard for workers---hmmmm...wait a minute... this is happening here!

The Pure Contractor | May 08, 2007 | 9:02AM

Interesting article.. .http://integrate.factiva.com/search/showarticle.asp?

someone | May 08, 2007 | 9:10AM

I have been an IBM employee for 22 years and a manager for 16 of those years. It is sad to see hard working, industrious and faithful employees that have again been considered "pigs for slaughter", while upper management meets deceptive revenue/profit targets to receive their false "90%" at risk compensation. I have seen the continue decline of self serving upper management, that continue to take from its employees and line their own pockets to the extent that I've grown ashamed to be known as an IBM employee and manager. Again it saddens me to see such a great company which had tremendous values (Best Customer Service, Respect for the Individual, and Full Employment) being destroyed to the extent that life long IBM employees will now find themselves on Medicare/Medicaid if, if they complete 30 years with the company, while at the same time Executive level managers retire with multi-million dollar a year pension plans. Sad!

Bill Moore | May 08, 2007 | 9:16AM

OK so now that everyone has figured out that IBM is truely trying to increase their profits, no big surprise as they have targeted 10% growth for several years. But the underlying aspect is pretty apparent when you read their own website for information.

Excerpt from http://www.ibm.com/ibm/values/us/
"Our values underpin our relationships with investors, as well. In late February, the board of directors approved sweeping changes in executive compensation. They include innovative programs that ensure investors first receive meaningful returns - a 10 percent increase in the stock price - before IBM's top 300 executives can realize a penny of profit from their stock option grants. Putting that into perspective, IBM's market value would have to increase by $17 billion before executives saw any benefit from this year's option awards. In addition, these executives will be able to acquire market-priced stock options only if they first invest their own money in IBM stock. We believe these programs are unprecedented, certainly in our industry and perhaps in business."

So the workers don't really matter - just hope you bought enough stock while you worked there.

Contractor | May 08, 2007 | 9:20AM

I read your this article with a great deal of interest and trepidation because I have recently watched a TV documentary called: ?ENRON: the smartest guys in the room? and I work at a company where we have had a recent high-profile executive incident. All this stuff suggests that there is something really wrong with the way business operates if the share price is allowed to be the focus (the executive allowed to own shares). The malfeasance driven by greed is inevitable. As suggested, this LEAN strategy will tighten the death-spiral while the executive sprout business/accounting speak to justify it and then surreptitiously dump their stock.

cliff | May 08, 2007 | 9:28AM

What I find fascinating is how IBM equates LEAN with job cuts. Having worked in manufacturing for more than 2 decades (where the lean concept came from), the definition is, for me - the elimination of waste manifest by the fanatical implementation of the intuitively obvious.

Considering that IBM has yet to identify the TRUE waste within its ranks (the blind, misdirected management team), and that it has misidentified its most valuable resource as WASTE, the intuitively obvious answer is to cut the waste - from the top - starting with Sam and moving lower through the ranks until you reach the people that actually do the work.

Instead, IBM starts at the bottom and never moves up more than a layer or two.

Sam, when you are finally in the job market, don't call me. You are a waste of time.

The Builder | May 08, 2007 | 9:32AM

So I work for IBM GS and the contract I work on is having so much trouble with offshore that the company is taking back its it bit by bit. Many of my fellow workers are leaving IBM because of the underhanded ways!

itshapping | May 08, 2007 | 9:33AM

If LEAN is managed by the same project managers and administrative double talking butt kissing monkeys that run IBM projects, the schedule is almost guaranteed to slip and that'll buy workers additional time to find other jobs.

IBM - never again | May 08, 2007 | 9:35AM

Well, you and I, we know the rules, they re made by American Businessmen. But, maybe what you don t know it s like american techs have all the vices you can imagine, lazy people, close minded to their own personal work tasks. Ex. when the offshore people take control of a previous account(driven by American services) you find that nothing was done in the last years. and you have the pressure of updating and manteining it as new when you know it s almost impossible.
anyway we do the job. and for less than a quarter what the american earns.

Alex Monday | May 08, 2007 | 9:39AM

To *The Builder*


You need to work for IBM or be their customer. Today's IBM will take the best concept or tool and "implement" it such that you'll never recognize it in the end. Like when you eat a great looking meal, then look in the toilet the next morning after taking a dump.

why wonder | May 08, 2007 | 9:47AM

To Alex Monday...

Yeah it'd be really cool if aliens and off-shores like you could speak and spell English. I'm guessing you are an off-shore by your poor use of the English language.



You are wrong about Americans techs, most are highly motivated until they start to work in current corporate america which is polluted by under-performing managers who don't have anything to show but a nice degree, and a lot of arrogance. They believe in working in a vacuum, as if they're going to do anything meaningful, which really means sucking up to corporate management, playing politics, wasting the company's time and money, and doing little to improve the bottom line.


What corporate america loves to do is get people to fight amongst themselves and start finger-pointing at the lower level employees and contractors, and ignore the reality that they can't manage or run the company with the right kind of leadership. Instead of doing something with vision and innovation, and increase sales, these idiots point to the CFO and Wall Street for fast profits in the form of reduced costs. "SEE, LOOK, WE MADE MONEY BY REDUCING COSTS!!". This is isn't innovation, it's book juggling, and selling the company out on the way down, complete with the golden parachute, watching the very airplane they were piloting, crash and burn, while they float off to the next company bragging about how they made things happen.

Blame management not the workers. Bad managers beget bad managers beget bad policy beget failure. Management wants you to take your focus off of them, by pumping analysts full of s-h-i-t, and creating distractions from the reality that most of these a-s-s-h-o-l-e-s go from company to company, wreaking havoc everywhere they go, raping and robbing the company as they go. IBM is reaping the fruits of the seeds they have sewn. It's no different than what happened in the industrial boom in our country in the earlier years of our country. Don't get caught up in attacking the very people that made IBM great, the people that actually do the work to make the customer happy. IBM should be ashamed of itself, but that would imply that there is a corporate soul, a morality.



I told you to get the DVD at thecorporation.com because it will give you a great backgrounder on what is really in play. The movie asks the big question, "If the corporation is indeed a person under the law, what kind of personality does it have?". The answer is: psycopath. Great movie, you really need to get it.

The Pure Contractor | May 08, 2007 | 10:00AM

I am one of those employees recently affected by this Lean approach, and it is a mean thing that IBM is doing. The reasons that management and the executives have provided make absolutely no sense and it's all about the bottom line not the people. IBM has the public fooled in thinking that they care about people and that is so far from the truth. In my organization alone there were over 70 people effected and we were hurded in told the news and told to look for internal jobs on your own. What chance do you have when you have 400 other people looking for 30 job openings across CSO Fulfillment. But according to IBM they have satisfied there part of giving you a chance to find a job, how unrealistic, but remember it's not about respect for the individual anymore, it's about making money the cheapest way possible. Our US customers were already struggling when things moved to Brazil with the language barrier now you're adding two additional countries to the mix. Customer satisfaction does not matter, the primary objective is the bottom line. Sam and his executive group will walk away set for life without spending one hour with the real customers and employees who made the company what it was, not what it is today because it's not the company that Mr. Watson created in his vision. I'm convinced that he's turned over several times in disgust with what the company has become.

Pendergrass | May 08, 2007 | 10:06AM

i sad ibm fire my u.s. coworker freindly. she very smart and hard worker. she teach me job and now gone.

Sum Ting Wong | May 08, 2007 | 10:10AM

I'm a Global Services employee and find your article informative and disturbing. This is another shameful example of the rank and file getting better information on the internet than we do from our management chain. After 10 years with IBM my loyalty has gone to the dogs and I'm actively seeking other employment before the axe falls. Thanks for the heads up-keep up the good work!

Amy | May 08, 2007 | 10:22AM

What I find fascinating is how IBM equates LEAN with job cuts. Having worked in manufacturing for more than 2 decades (where the lean concept came from), the definition is, for me - the elimination of waste manifest by the fanatical implementation of the intuitively obvious.

Considering that IBM has yet to identify the TRUE waste within its ranks (the blind, misdirected management team), and that it has misidentified its most valuable resource as WASTE, the intuitively obvious answer is to cut the waste - from the top - starting with Sam and moving lower through the ranks until you reach the people that actually do the work.

Instead, IBM starts at the bottom and never moves up more than a layer or two.

Sam, when you are finally in the job market, don't call me. You are a waste of time.

The Builder | May 08, 2007 | 10:29AM

What I find fascinating is how IBM equates LEAN with job cuts. Having worked in manufacturing for more than 2 decades (where the lean concept came from), the definition is, for me - the elimination of waste manifest by the fanatical implementation of the intuitively obvious.

Considering that IBM has yet to identify the TRUE waste within its ranks (the blind, misdirected management team), and that it has misidentified its most valuable resource as WASTE, the intuitively obvious answer is to cut the waste - from the top - starting with Sam and moving lower through the ranks until you reach the people that actually do the work.

Instead, IBM starts at the bottom and never moves up more than a layer or two.

Sam, when you are finally in the job market, don't call me. You are a waste of time.

The Builder | May 08, 2007 | 10:30AM

Let's all get a little real. BLAME YOUR GOVERNMENT! It is NOT JUST IBM. My brother is also losing his job.. his last day is mid-June.
The manufacturing plant he works for is closing it's doors to China. Do the best you can for you and your family. This is reality.

dried up in phx | May 08, 2007 | 10:31AM

I think most people only cares money too, like corporations. Do you think is fair to earn a money you don't worth, like lots of people?.
Personally, I wouldn't like to work for a company that does not value my work.
At the end, each of us is like a tiny corporation, but many haven't realized it until now...
So welcome to actual life. Welcome to globalization. Welcome to a much equal world, where a knowledge worker in India competes with a similar one in New York. Welcome to an age when you, not anyone else, are responsible to look after you. This will be much more difficult, but has much more sense, is much more funny and will boost equality worldwide.

littleblue | May 08, 2007 | 10:40AM

First, a comment about rating systems. People like Dr. Deming warn about their validity, effectiveness, and fairness. The biggest factor in many people's work performance is the assignment. The years I received high ratings were the years I had good assignments and was empowered too. The years I've had average ratings were when I worked on very troubled contracts and under repressive work rules. The bottom line, many of the high performers are there by luck and selective assignments. The others are bearing many of IBM's problems on their shoulders, taking personal, professional, and career beatings in the process.


IBM's annual reports are a good factual source of information, # of employees. I've provided a link to an archive of recent reports. Its interesting to scan them over the years. Now some facts:


Year---Global Services---Whole Company

1997---109,000

1998---126,000

1999---138,000

2000---149,000--------------316,303

2001--------------------------------319,876

2002--------------------------------315,889

2003--------------------------------319,273

2004--------------------------------329,001

2005--------------------------------329,373

2006---127,000 *USA---355,766


Global Services is IBM's largest employer, both in the USA and World Wide. There was a big increase in employment in the last year. Its probably safe to assume most of the growth was outside of the USA. As the ex-USA workforce increases, we can expect more cuts in the USA. Its probably safe to assume there will be cuts in the USA in the range of 25,000 to 50,000. We won't know for sure until we can see the 2010 annunal report. Probably more than half of the cuts will come from Global Services USA. I'm guessing Global Services USA could be seeing cuts in the range of 15,000 to 30,000. Of course this is only the guess of one person and is no more accurate or inaccurate than Mr. Cringely's guestimates. What we do know is the actual number is probably a closely guarded secret and/or IBM doesn't really know how many heads will really be cut. Regardless 15,000, 30,000, or 50,000 is a very large number of jobs to be cut.


Do you see that big 26,000 worker jump in the last year? Its my guess this is the build up of workers in India, China, Argentina, etc. It is also my guess we'll see a comparable number of USA job cuts coming.


There are many factors motivating IBM to cut a lot of heads. We've talked about the management issues. We should not forget about some USA economic problems -- under funded pension funds, runaway healthcare costs, etc. As long as the USA government fails to take action, these problems will only get worse. More jobs, not just IBM jobs, will be lost. Maybe firms like IBM, Ford, and GM are early indicators of the long term problems facing USA business. At what point do people who do not work at IBM realize this is THEIR problem too?


IBM'ers here is another way to look at the problem. Go to the HR intranet site and run a pension report on yourself. Run it for the years you will be 50, 55, 60, 65... Look at the lump sum value. One of the things you will notice is it will take a big jump in the last 10 years of your career at IBM. What does this mean? It means IBM is waiting until the last minute to fully fund your pension. When you have 150,000 USA workers this is a HUGE financial liability. Every IBM worker is a liability to the company. If your future value to the comapny is less than your future pension and healthcare costs, your job will be cut. It is a simple spreadsheet calculation. Companies have been doing this for years. Firms call it "cutting fat" or "becoming more lean". The affected workers can call it age discrimination. When a company underfunds its workers pensions, that is usually a good indication they never intended to keep you until retirement. Run your own numbers. See it yourself. For you non-IBM'ers -- this is happening to you too. What is happening in IBM will probably happen to you too.


At a big GM management conference in the 1980's Dr. Deming warned the company about a number of emerging problems. He accurately predicted the problems the USA auto industry, and USA industy in general would face. Of course GM and other firms and our government chose to ignore the advice and we are all now paying for it.

10years@ibm | May 08, 2007 | 10:41AM

The day of corporate loyalty and employee value is OVER. The post that called all of us a small corporation is TRUE. ABANDON Loyalty to the firm and look after your OWN INTERESTS because NO ONE ELSE WILL or HAS THE SLIGHTEST IDEA about a level playing field. Bush would love to see every American working at Bangalore wages. So does management. Any firm - pick 'em.

STOP COMPLAINING HERE and move on and out, it is the only way to survive.

Sad too.

Outsource Critic | May 08, 2007 | 10:53AM

Here is a scenario for you. All IT people are now multinationals. Imagine there are now no Americans are in the IT department of some of the top fortune 100 Companies.

Now, imagine that some of them are terrorists. Less than a hundred would be a good number.

Any competent IT Engineer, Server SA, or other infrastructure support person could concoct a script to disable an entire infrastructure, wipe out configurations, and format (Destroy)company information.

Imagine what 14 individuals at 14 companies could do. No shots fired, no buildings collapsed, and absolutely no traces... Financial companies are letting multinationals have access on an unprecedented scale.

Americans have a "skin in the game if you will" and would suffer huge losses. Americans would never do something like this. They would be cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Would it matter to a foreign engineer. What would an engineer in one of these countries do after his task is complete? Fade off into the background, never to be extradited or prosecuted is a good possibility.

In my humble opinion, IT security is compromised when you locate all the engineers who support the infrastructures that support the financial world. Imagine Wall Street crippled when the 5-10 major firms have been attacked internally by the people hired to support the infrastructure remotely from their countries. India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, the Philippines. All of these countries have at one time hated America. How long would it take to restore systems and communications when the engineers are all remote to the infrastructures half a world away.

Please do not think me a racist or a bigot. I have friends that all came from these countries. They are all good hard working people, but they care about the infrastructures and systems here in the US because they LIVE here, WORK here and EXIST here.

To put the infrastructures in this country at risk to save a buck is just plain short sighted....

Worried | May 08, 2007 | 10:56AM

Great article!
Well this just points up how "the cheese has moved again" and we must all adapt. I've been adapting to this kind of thing since 2001. (9/11)

The thing is, if you look at it from the top down, this only makes sense if you understand the brutal nature of modern capitalism that has evolved in recent times.

C'mon ya'll - quit crying. Stop thinking like "employees". Employees are purely a cost, and if you do not smell or behave like money you are a COST - and must be reduced or eliminated according to The Bottom Line Is All in capitalistic thinking.

Forget about "The Social Contract" that existed with your mom and dad's generation,
when you could show up at a job site bright eyed and bushy tailed "ready to go to work sir!".

The reward was 20 yrs of security and a gold watch. Now, you're amazingly lucky if you get 20 months.

So, become a capitalist yourself and quit whining. I lost everything, and found a new freedom in workng for myself. It's amazing how liitle you know about making money when you see yourself as "just an employee" or "just a contractor". Think BUSINESS and it all makes sense! It's brutal, but that's how things are now. It's all about the bottom line. Start packing up all the crap you decorated your cubicle with and go get a 1099 setup and start working for yourself.

Yes you can.


miamitom | May 08, 2007 | 11:07AM

I was a Deskside tech for IBM from January 1st of 2006 until Monday April 30 my HR manager called me at 4:30pm and told me that "100 people are being cut today and I was one of them" he was sorry for the lack of notice but there was nothing that he could do. Everyone knows they can be replaced by someones whim. It's not right or fair to give a dedicated employee an half hour to remove your personal items from your laptop/desktop and cube. With that said anyone need a great Desktop support guy?

Hickory1815 | May 08, 2007 | 11:08AM

Reason why ibm is suffering is that too many are taking the time to read this crap rather than working their jobs. Where is the leadership?

hardworker | May 08, 2007 | 11:15AM

Reason why ibm is suffering is that too many are taking the time to read this crap rather than working their jobs. Where is the leadership?

hardworker | May 08, 2007 | 11:15AM

I can only talk about the part of the business that I know. I have never believed that this rush to offshore was inevitable though once it started, its acceleration certainly seemed to be.

IBM should have broken away from unprofitable customers long ago, certainly as early as 1996 when I joined them. I think we have suffered from weak management who have been reluctant to remind large customers of the terms of our contracts with them and so have led us to over-deliver at huge cost.

We have bid teams which go out and chase business and make all sorts of promises that, had they consulted the service delivery and technical personnel tasked with fulfilling these promises, they would have realised were unrealistic. The contract's signed, the bonuses are paid, the untrained, unmotivated staff do their best (but fail) and the financial penalties kick in. We cut staff, the good staff see the writing on the wall and leave and the cheap staff that replace them can't even deliver what we delivered last year. And so on, and so on...

I can't believe in LEAN because it seems already to be adding another level of bureacracy to an already almost paralysed organisation. It's destroying team spirit because it's putting people in a position where they have to tell colleagues "that's not my job" or "can you put that in writing or fill out form so-and-so?" From what I read now, these are its minor failings.

We've gone too far - none of the initiatives to put a finger on the global pulse will make any difference because so many people don't think IBM will be a viable player in 5-10 years and they're looking for the door.

11years@ibm | May 08, 2007 | 11:15AM

I may be the one to go, come next round. What is the severance package being offered these days?

Curious George

Curious George | May 08, 2007 | 11:15AM

Where is the next Jimmy Hoffa? American companies take from the workers. Get no substantial backlash from workers so they take a little more. This has been going on for 20-25 years now. Now Big Blue will set the precedent for companies going for the throat of their workers. All while those at the top of the pyramid benefit. Will a leader with the courage of Hoffa emerge from this pyramid of thievery?

Against the Wall | May 08, 2007 | 11:19AM

I may be the one to go, come next round. What is the severance package being offered these days?

Curious George

Not as much as Palmisano's. And, then, they announce tha baseball player, forget his name, is being paid $28 million. For what?!!! OBSCENE!

Carl Gallanto | May 08, 2007 | 11:24AM

to the tune of "Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women":

P B C's and Claiming and U-til-ization!
They'll drive you crazy,
they'll drive you insane!

relieved greppie | May 08, 2007 | 11:28AM

Change your name to vaschrwcmkitctn miwsqkltvbprjsi and demand $8.00/hour U.S. and your job will be safe or change it to jose alberto sanchez maria rodruguez and tell them you're illegal using some stupid american's social security number and get $9.00/hour U.S.

Rememer: It's activity and not productivity that counts!

been-there-done-that | May 08, 2007 | 11:31AM

Well, today is my last day and I have been a short than long term supplemetal (for almost 5 years total) and I was given 3 days notice. Regular employees were given 30 days or so and a very cold letter in a package the day that they were notified, no severance whatsoever.

Good luck, and maybe consider what the article says http://www.ibmemployee.com/ some of us will rejoin IBM for 75% of or previous pay and 50% of what we may have gotten through benefit. If some of us are rejoining I guess i must say noone to blame what the once who rejoin ;-)

former ibmdba | May 08, 2007 | 11:34AM

CARL ICAHN AND T. BOONE PICKENS, WHERE ARE YOU???? Buy IBM and fire the executives.

Carl Gallanto | May 08, 2007 | 11:34AM

Severance package?

A $100 gift certificate towards IBM Logowear and a sack of peanuts.

Ken | May 08, 2007 | 11:35AM

IBM is a company in existence to make a profit.
If it was a Tire company, it would look for the least expensive source of rubber.

If it was an Oil company it would look for the least expensive source of crude.

It is a service company, it is looking for the least expensive source of it's needed resource (people).

Also, Don't overlook another way IBM is cutting costs. They are hiring MANY entry level employees in the US to replace their soon to be excessed expensive veteran counter parts.

Just look at their hotjobs listings 14,845 open positions as of today (most of which are entry level and very few require any real experience )

http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/careers-3242-IBM;_ylt=AlSqnkC6D0AQtDxp_pjaxEqmRKIX

It sucks, but business is business.

Oh Well | May 08, 2007 | 11:38AM

Regardless of the mistakes our major companies are making, there are serious systemic problems with doing business in the USA. The IRS, heavy regulation, the double taxation of C corporations, and the way our government has taken a socialistic stance is forcing their hand. I believe I heard Hilary Clinton say the other day how she wants to "take those corporate profits and fund" some program... All the growing economies that are beating the pants off us have low or no cost education and flat taxes, and little in the way of lifestyle compared to us. They also use a fraction of the natural resources that we use (how many folks live here compared to the 6 billion on the planet?). They also have little in the way of good health care and nothing of a pension. In fact, they have a fraction of the social programs we have here. They could care less what happens to lab rats and they share little of our views and concerns. Life is as they say, a lot cheaper in other places. And that means labor too. Eliminate the corporate tax. Adopt a flat income and property tax system and vote for the losers in government that are opposed to stricter regulations, and find a way to educate our masses without going into debt for 25 years. Then you might just see a slight turn around in the off shoring game. Hey, we all know that the corporations will eventually rule the world, so why fight it? Either way, we have created this mess as a people, and it goes far beyond whatever IBM is doing right now. It is survival of the fittest, so we'd better get fit real quick. We are fat, spoiled and hedonistic, and someone had to say it.

on the payroll maybe? | May 08, 2007 | 11:43AM

I am part of global services and we have been through three rounds of layoffs in the past five years. When I first joined IBM in '89, they still preached their Three Basic Beliefs to the employees, the first belief being "Respect for the individual". Of course, this is ancient history now.

an IBMer | May 08, 2007 | 11:46AM

As Bachman Turner Overdrive said, "...keep looking out for #1" because the trash up there who work as IBM executives don't.

Gautham | May 08, 2007 | 11:48AM

Not that it matters to Execs but global outsourcing still has a long way to go before it's mature enough to eliminate 100,000 Global Services jobs. You can move a call center offshore because the work is generally mature and well encapsulated. Having worked with resources in India, I'll simply say that, by and large, Indians aren't Americans. I don't mean that to be demeaning; I simply observe that there are cultural and behavioral differences that impact the quality of work. When working with Americans, I find that they object if I'm overly precise in specifications. When working with Indians, it's just the opposite. I work with a number of American's who've been in the same subject area for a number of years and value their skills and knowledge in that subject area. The Indians I've worked with expect to be rotated every 18 months or so; their culture values breadth of knowledge, not depth, so they object to spending too much time in one area. And while I have no issue with them doing that, it costs us a lot of time, efficiency and effectiveness to be constantly retraining. There are other issues associated with global resources - time zones, communication issues, etc. - that I won't belabor but suffice it to say that our experience is that when sizing a domestic task for offshoring, we have to use 1.75-2.0 offshore resources for a task that would take 1.0 domestic resources. And we usually end up increasing the schedule but at least 20%. Maybe global rates are low enough to do this and still come out ahead, but that's not really my point. Our industry needs a lot of maturation to reach the point where domestic vs global resources are plug-and-play. And until that happens, the hype over the flat world will be an accountant's dream and a customer's nighmare.

lawdymama | May 08, 2007 | 11:59AM

@intheknow and other:

I have suspected for some years that, like I was told about the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), that managers MUST give PBC 3 ratings to a set percentage of the people reporting to them.

An ol' geophysicists I worked with 25 years ago explained that CSM "marked on a curve" in their classes: "2/3 of a class must fail", which worked to shed all of the less competitive students and only focus on the brightest and most motivated.

Now, to my eye, I recall that Gerstner's idea of the PBCs had three sections: "Win, Execute, Team"... and, shortly after Sam came on-board, Teamwork was eliminated. With the current model for the PBCs every employee in a departments is competing with the others for fewer and fewer rewards. PBC 1s were, for the most part, almost impossible to get-- they were perceived as political plums.

With competition in the "High Performance Workplace" the concept of teamwork started to break down-- and those most interested in "getting the job done" tended to get the lower ratings because they had a low Bhrownstone rating ("units of effort expended in an attempt to curry political favor") because they were facing their jobs and not kissing the bosses' butts. People who still try to support others-- who get better PBC ratings-- are the ones who are flushed out.

Imagine off-shoring a football team-- the quarterback stands alone on the field whilst the linemen are provided via projection TVs from India, China or wherever. This only works if the *other* team has the same make-up... but, against even an under-populated team of *real* and *local* players, the virtual team loses.

Of course those working remotely won't get bruises or other injuries.

At some point the only real people on the field will be the coaches... and any challenging teams that show up will automatically win BECAUSE THEY ARE REALLY THERE.

Of course the idea of someone working remotely to support a computer test lab sounds cool... but what good are they when an asset validation has to be done? Or a change to the cabling? Or problem determination/correction? Even when someone had the foresight to put virtualizable systems (p5s and big xSeries to run VMware) there's going to be plenty of unfunded mandated bureaucratic workload that requires physical proximity. Let's see a GPR able to help during an asset validation exercise...

And don't get me started on CLAIMs-- people close work-items before the work is done so their books will look good-- and there are decisions being made on that garbage data! Folks well above my pay grade are making plans based on this... and have forgotten the GIGO law!

And let's not forget how many projects have forgotten TANSTAAFL, thinking they can get newer hardware for free!

relieved greppie | May 08, 2007 | 12:00PM

as a GS employee i know that there is a freeze on all SARS right now. 14,845 jobs will have to wait until the bloodbath is over!

perception | May 08, 2007 | 12:00PM

I don't disagree with Mr. Cringely's overall view that IBM is making blindly short-term choices, but what they are doing is not LEAN and shouldn't be called that. One of the basic precepts of LEAN is that no headcount is affected. If you can't hold to that plan, you will fail before you get started because you need those people and their knowledge to make LEAN successful. This is nothing more than another form of 'churn' that produces nothing of value but makes it look like management is doing something.

Sadly, this just marks the next step in another company's rapid deterioration into irrelevance, where we see one rescue plan after another, and only the string of failed CEO's making any big money.

Bob | May 08, 2007 | 12:33PM

It could be that IBM has no intention of outsourcing 150,000 people, but now that this rumor is out they neither confirm nor deny it because:
1. When the real size of the layoff is revealed it won't look so bad;
2. When they don't give decent (or any) raises people are thankful that they still have their jobs;
3. It is a form of polical blackmail;
4. It is a form of social blackmail;

Similiar situations have happened in the past - resulting in unrest and eventuall organized labor (and soon after organized crime), along with its own forms of blackmail and corruption.

Bottom line: whether this assertion is true in whole or in part, it really is "just plain mean".

suspicous ... | May 08, 2007 | 12:51PM

To Oh Well

So, you are content with the formerly great IBM being an entry level pc company? Amazing how far your expectations have fallen. I can see the IBM boot at Circuit City or BestBuy with the Geek Squad there. Obviously, experience means nothing to you. I hope you enjoy your first job too and, remember, no raises!!!!!

pcscinc | May 08, 2007 | 1:02PM

To Oh Well

So, you are content with the formerly great IBM being an entry level pc company? Amazing how far your expectations have fallen. I can see the IBM booth at Circuit City or BestBuy with the Geek Squad there. Obviously, experience means nothing to you. I hope you enjoy your first job too and, remember, no raises!!!!!

pcscinc | May 08, 2007 | 1:02PM

suspicious ...

are you saying that organize labor => organized crime.

Couldn't disagree more.

una | May 08, 2007 | 1:04PM

Let's see, 150,000 x $100,000 (average package) = $1.5B? That's gonna hurt the bottom line.

How are the employees going to feel if they know there's a 50% chance they will be gone by the end of the year, now that's terrorism.

So what's left? A tired product line that is only profitable if it's proprietary. Poor designs, lack of needed features, poor price/performance and non-existent post-sales support.

All the customers I've talked to in the last couple years are VERY disappointed with IBM and their "you can pay me now AND you can pay me later" business strategy. I've heard that IBM has launched their new marketing strategy called "The IBM Agenda", very appropriate.

Walter | May 08, 2007 | 1:16PM

Don't know where you came up with the $100,000 average severance package, but for most of us that's a pipe dream. Either 1 or 2 weeks pay for each year at IBM, which for many of us is

fedup | May 08, 2007 | 1:19PM

Don't know where you came up with the $100,000 average severance package, but for most of us that's a pipe dream. Either 1 or 2 weeks pay for each year at IBM, which for many of us is less than 5 years. We lost our 20+ years severence pay we had built up with our former company 1 year after our "forced" move to IBM...

fedup | May 08, 2007 | 1:21PM

this company has been on a downward spiral since 2001..its time someone steps in and gets this company going back to where it was.. u lose IBM and u lose one of this countries oldest and inovative companies thats out there..not to mention all those jobs ppl are gonna lose because of mismagement. Organized crime?? more like organised idiots.

susie | May 08, 2007 | 1:22PM

Writing as a shamed IBMer watching the train wreck happening: LEAN does provide a good model for how IBM Global Services could do business. The problem is in the execution: pay the consultants big bucks going in, then drop them half-way through the conversion; execute the conversion done in hurry-up mode with no prior thought given to infrastructure; ensure that every team is isolated and will stumble across the same common problems one by one and then invent their own set of solutions which probably won't interface smoothly with any other team's (or management's future requirements); schedule a workforce reduction just as the teams are beginning to build those solutions; schedule week-long mandatory face-to-face team kickoff meetings but only at the last minute so the travel budget is blown on high-dollar airfares; hit the paying customers first instead of IBM's traditional method of tasting our own cooking before laying it on the public table; change the customer interface week-by-week as the teams try to adapt again and again; measure progress solely in terms of resource reduction, dropping all pretense of measuring anything relating to effectiveness or customer satisfaction; chase away customers instead of training the marketing staff to make and hold to good costing decisions ... all indications of sloppy management by slogan rather than than careful thought. It's not the worker bees who are being paid too much, it's management that is being paid far too well considering the quality of work they've done.

ByteMasher | May 08, 2007 | 1:29PM

In my opinion, it's a text book case of the failure of America's MBA "by the numbers greed" mentality. Perhaps we can learn from this example lead by the avalanche of MBA's invading IBM's upper-middle ranks 4 years ago. Puting a "business school" hat on, it makes great sense to move your employees into "associate contractor" relationships to avoid unions and to shed the cost "employee overhead" to the individual.

Roger Fraumann | May 08, 2007 | 1:30PM

Worried,

here's more to be worried about:

http://rimcollians.in/news/feb04/paddy.htm

Macro | May 08, 2007 | 1:35PM

IBM Execs have been cannibalizing the corporation since Guerstner arrived. They have mismanaged the business and sold company assets to prop up the bottom line. The execs are so ethically conflicted it is pathetic. They mismanage whole sectors of the business (hard drives, like the ones in IPODs, PCs, etc) then call tem 'marginal' sell them off, along with the employees (lowered costs) and when wall street is happy, the execs execute their options, make millions and are rewarded for the mismanagement! Don't know bout you- I don't own that stock nor will I ever buy a share again.

dave | May 08, 2007 | 1:59PM
sad beamer | May 08, 2007 | 2:14PM

LEAN = Layoff Every American Now

michaelg | May 08, 2007 | 2:17PM

Analysts squash rumors of 150,000 IBM layoffs
Global Services division reportedly the target, but analysts say layoff rumor inaccurate, ‘ludicrous’

By Jon Brodkin, Network World, 05/07/07

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/050707-ibm-layoffs.html

DumDum | May 08, 2007 | 2:25PM

As an employee of IBM Global Services, I've learned to embrace the horror of being treated like dirt under an executive's shoe. Sooner or later, their arrogance and greed will catch up to them. It's really sad that I've had to build a file of things they've pulled at American Express; just in case I get let go IBM is going to have some major things to answer for when they face off again with the AMEX lawyers.

You_Really_think_I'd_post_my_name_here | May 08, 2007 | 2:29PM

I worked for IBM for over 27 years and have retired from IBM. I decided to retire before my retirment was taken away from me like so many other things that where promised me when I was hired. Like my medical insurance. I have NO medical insurance from IBM. I worked in Global Services and know first hand anout the BAD contracts and such. I can see IBM not being around in the near future. I too have a very large file on IBMs miss givings and will use them if needed.

Roger Duel | May 08, 2007 | 2:47PM

Funny, because IBM can't even perform layoffs right. A friend of mine works in the LEAN program, which involves travel to other sites so she can make layoff recommendations (she transferred there to avoid getting laid off herself). However, in an attempt to save money IBM has clamped down on travel and now she can't even go to the site to help figure out who to get rid of.

TennSeven | May 08, 2007 | 2:59PM

I work for Nortel in a department called "Global Services" and guess what? We have the same problems here. We are losing our pensions and benefits at the end of 2007 as well. If this isn't part of a conspiracy to undercut and basically eliminate the middle class in this country I don't know what is.

anonymous | May 08, 2007 | 3:00PM

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Has anyone stopped to realize that for every job that gets offshored, large coperations save a great deal of money. Of course you have thought of this. But have you considered that for every American worker that is NOT working and paying into Social Security, companies are also NOT matching that money. Not only are the companies saving money by not paying wages, benifits, etc. but also robbing the SS bank account of their donations. No wonder SS is goig broke.

pj48b | May 08, 2007 | 3:04PM

DumDum...of course the so-called "analysts" would say that...they're probably just mouthpieces for IBM Executives who themselves say "IBM does not comment on layoff rumors".

The only thing that can save IBM and maybe any other US company is to untie Executive compensation from the share price, and abolish stock options as an incentive for quoted companies.

However, hell may just freeze over first.

I would love to quit and start my own company, but I'm just an underpaid H1-B (from the UK I might add) and can't do that. My wife is not allowed to work here so if my job goes we're royally screwed. It galls us to see illegal immigrants who work illegally protesting at their "treatment" on the news, when those of us who do things legally have no rights despite paying our taxes.

I love America and want to stay here. I consider myself an entrepreneur and would start a company and create jobs for real Americans if I could.

Alas, the way things are going I might find myself back in the UK employing Brits instead.

pinkslipsoon | May 08, 2007 | 3:05PM

there is one problem with laying off 150000 . As far as I know IBM does not have that many people employed in US :-)

raj | May 08, 2007 | 3:05PM

Calling all IBMmers: Here's what to do, ESPECIALLY if you are one of the "good ones." Find another, better job. Take your skills and experience with you. Hire on with your client, take a position with the competition, go into industry reporting, write a book (about how screwed up IBM is), or even get out of technology altogether.

I really mean this in a manner of respect and helpfulness. It will be good for you, and even though it will be small, if enough of you do this, it might add up to messing up a tiny part of their "plan" regarding who to keep around to transition knowledge to an offshore counterpart/replacement. Let them figure this crap out the same way you did -- with brainpower.



Hanging around waiting for the axe gives them the ultimately corrupting power we are all complaining about.



Happy Hunting. BTW, Bob...nice column.

TomTom | May 08, 2007 | 3:15PM

This article has some wrong numbers. First GBS "Americas" doesn't have even close to 150,000 employees. If this was to happend then GBS Americas would be non existent, well first they would have to hire 10's of thousands to make the 150,000 number then they would have to lay them off. This report is false. IBM GBS had a very strong 2006. We are hiring in the Americas not laying off.

Current employee | May 08, 2007 | 3:17PM

Pinkslipsoon. Send me an eMail. I would like to speak with you about your thirst for enterpreneural pursuits.

This was a well penned article. Time corrupts all decisions. I believe your comments around the incentives for executives is will founded. Behavoir is tolerated. We all know that people do what they are rewarded for in any position. I agree there needs to be a reassessment of our leadership principles. ENRON was the lynch pin to start this line of thinking.

Anonymous | May 08, 2007 | 3:17PM

Anonymous, ahem, how do I email you? :-)

pinkslipsoon | May 08, 2007 | 3:30PM

From the IBM website on core beliefs: note Paragraph 3....

*****
Since IBM's inception nearly a century ago, our company has been grounded in strongly held principles. Both Thomas Watson Sr. and Jr. came to call these our "Basic Beliefs," and they committed us to a broad definition of leadership, as a company that strives to be a trusted partner for customers, a reliable long-term investment, a progressive employer, and a responsible corporate citizen.

These beliefs guided the company through decades of extraordinary change, and grew into practices and approaches that became the qualities that people identified with "an IBMer." They also helped IBM become a model for other corporations, one of a few outstanding institutions identified with modern progress and beneficial innovation.

However, the world is very different today. The IT industry is different from the one we helped create. The expectations of society and of groups within society are changing. Our own expectations have changed, as has our workforce: Half of our people have been with IBM fewer than five years; we now hire recent college graduates as well as thousands of experienced professionals every year; and thousands more become IBMers through outsourcing deals and acquisitions.

Bob Eisenhardt | May 08, 2007 | 3:33PM

Catch up Raj, everyone knows that. The other aspect is that when IBM delete 15000 (10% of the screaming headline) it won't sound so bad. But it is - terrible. And its only the start - LEAN is running in every other geo as well.

euro blue | May 08, 2007 | 3:37PM

Uhhh---Current Employee says IBM GS Americas doesn't have 150,000 employees. As I recall, it had almost 300,000 employees when I was working there (until 2005). I'm just glad I got out when I did.

ThinkTankTed | May 08, 2007 | 3:37PM

As a contractor in the Atl office, I can see 150k people, IF it includes the support people as well. In my team alone we have 14 Isr's (all ibmers)and 1 front line mgr with 6 support people. I've been in this building since 2000 and I can honestly say I've never seen such a waste... for a IT company, the amount of paper work and h/c documentation in itself is staggering. And then there's the amount of time and labor that's put into a tiny $600.00 contract! Between pre-sale and post-sale. If I had not been here to see it with my on eyes, I would not have believed it. Crazy company. I'm truly surprised, IF this is true, it didn't happen years ago.

ContrinAtl | May 08, 2007 | 3:42PM

I was part of a major SW acquisition in 2003 from IBM. Needless to say, all the other postings talked about the top talent leaving the company and that is exactly what happened.

If IBM wanted to become more lean and efficient as a company, they could start by investing in true Organizational Development professionals to empower and retain the people they acquire. We experienced about a 75% attrition rate after the acquisition and had they held on to the folks, that particular SW Brand would be knocking it out of the park rather than reeling from changes and people in the mix who don't understand the domain.

Secondly, and this may sound funny, but it is true, IGS wastes millions of IBM dollars every year flying around the country for inefficient meetings. They could start some initiatives around running effective meetings and not filling the airlines' pockets by traveling at the drop of a hat and could save hunreds of thousands of jobs and actually get work done.

For amusement, take a look at how close HP is to IBM in terms of revenue and then look at how many more employees IBM has. There are ways to explain this off, but HP doing the same revenues with half the people just goes to show how inefficient IBM has become--and they customers are noticing and leaving with the employees!

blueskycolorado | May 08, 2007 | 4:02PM

150,000 employee layouts does seem a bit high. However, over the past few months, my co-workers have been dropping like flies, leaving me trembling in my boots. Nobody seems exempt from the 'LEAN' machine. Career IBM'ers as well as recent hires, and everyone in between, are getting the boot. My management is telling me nothing and my only source of information is coming from OUTSIDE of IBM (or the recently laid off employees). I think Sam has stepped over the line and won't realize this until it's too late. The United States workers have an enormous amount of talent, experience, and knowledge, and once they're gone, the remaining employees (and the off-shore employees) won't be able to handle the issues and problems. When the customers/clients begin to notice this, they'll jump ship and take their business elsewhere. The death spiral has begun......

Current employee | May 08, 2007 | 4:02PM

Reference the below link if you want real employee numbers.

Total Employee at the company: 355,766 (12/12/2006 Source is: http://money.cnn.com/quote/snapshot/snapshot.html?symb=IBM

To ThinkTankTed if you’re telling me you worked for IBM then you would know that we are divided into groups where GBS is one group. Your message says "it had almost 300,000 employees when I was working there (until 2005)." Well if you are saying there are 300,000 employees in GBS then you never worked for IBM and you do not understand how we are structured. Please put your sources to back up your numbers otherwise everyone reading this article should accept this as a made up story from upset people.

IBM America's has around 142,000 total employees, about 42% of the total employees world wide. Not all employees are in GBS in the Americas. This proves that this report is using false numbers. If this article was correct then the entire IBM Company would be layed off in America's. Reference the source below to back up the numbers used above.

Source 2006 annual report http://www.ibm.com/annualreport/2006/higher_value.shtml

It’s hard to argue with public facts created by external auditors. But hey if you want to believe this article that is referencing no sources for its data and people’s posted comments that have no source data to back up their claims then hey I can sell you a bridge in Nevada!

current employee | May 08, 2007 | 4:04PM

Customer satisfaction is an integral part of company success. I have to say that every single company I have dealt with who has offshored their customer service( Best Buy, Norton Antivirus) has been totally disappointing to me, to the point where I no longer will do business with them. Well-run American companies know that the winning formula for business success goes beyond dollars and cents. IBM and others are totally missing the boat here. My contention is not that offshoring is bad, my point is American business success hinges upon good old American business values including; making products that make a difference in one's life at a good price and of good quality and backed up by excellent "customer service" while not destroying the environment. China, India and the rest of the world may be able to produce goods at cheaper prices but, can they provide the rest of ingredients necessary to be succesful? In my opinion, not yet.

Luis Lleras | May 08, 2007 | 4:04PM

uhm... 300,000+ worldwide.. not just americas..

correction officer | May 08, 2007 | 4:25PM

It makes me glad to see that the majority of people on this site recognize that the globalization promulgated by the multi-nationals and the existence of countries and the protection of their people are at odds. Unbridled capitalism (also known as plain old greed) doesn't work. A new solution is called for. You really can't blame the government because you'll just turn right back around to the corporations, who bought the politicians to pass the laws to let them do this. Do you think that Sam has a hard time sleeping at night because the guy he just let go will have to foreclose on his home? Not any more than the CEO of Nike who hires Asians for pennies an hour to make sneakers that sell for over $100 while they live in shacks. Now, as for those who mouth the same corporate propaganda right back at us, about how wonderful it is for business and how everyone should just suck it up, those people are sad. They've swallowed the whole corporate propaganda sham hook, line and sinker. Just because it is, doesn't mean it has to be so. It shows a lack of inspiration. It also shows that their decades of intimidation and spewing of idiotic "theories" has worked. We need to organize and make a better future for all of us, for Americans and for our brothers and sisters overseas. This setup isn't working. We need some new thoughts, new leadership. Einstein said that we can't solve today's problems with the same mentality that created them. Perhaps we need a new political party that actually represents the American people. Perhaps we need to start putting restrictions on the multinationals for the benefit of the countries and for their own future existence. Perhaps we need to cutoff the corporate lobbies and give the people the direct responsbility to make legislation. Destroying a country's people, whether by war or by job removal, will destroy your present markets. We want more customers not less. It's time for a change.

gordonshumway | May 08, 2007 | 4:45PM

This story is somewhat accurate. IBM has 350,000 employees globally with about half in the US and half in other developed countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Offshoring will affect all countries that have IBM employees and not just the US. Typically IBM has about half of its employees within the US with the remaining other half being split 60/40 between Europe and APJ.

Rest assured, Japanese employees are every bit as expensive as US employees and many European employees in countries like France and Germany are even more expensive than the US due to work day limitations and significantly higher vacation and other traditional benefits. If anything, European workers will be hit even harder than US employees.

As a former and retired executive with IBM it pains me to see this for what it is, just another crack in the dam that will eventually result in the company being a shadow of its former self.

Dan Curtis | May 08, 2007 | 5:12PM

As much as I detest what IBM is doing and has become as a Company - as a former reg and now contractor w/Ten plus yrs experience - I find it endlessly amusing how you shit-for-brain libs (looking at you ibm employee)somehow find a way to bash Pres. Bush in your rants. You're f'n pathetic. What are you poor, pathetic losers going to blame all your problems on when he leaves office? And, yes, they will continue so looks like you'll have to come up w/a different set of excuses... Just pathetic.

subcontractor | May 08, 2007 | 5:44PM

It's ironic, or is it, that IBM just settled it's unpaid overtime lawsuit filed collectively via a class action lawsuit for 3 years of unpaid overtime due to a mis-classification of employment. Now, within days of payment, we are talking lay offs. The 65 million settlement split between US IBMer's who qualify amounts to little payment for IBM's abuse of "demanded" overtime.

And nothing has changed. There has been no meeting from management saying anything will change, in fact, it's gotten worse. Rather than asking for volunteers for overtime, with the reward being a larger bonus, I was just required to work a Fri evening and Saturday. I refused, willing to take on the consequences, nothing yet but I'm sure it's arriving soon.

So, where does that leave current IBMer's? We are at risk of being laid off (resourced - we love catchy phrases here at IBM), replaced by Indian labor, at 1/2 price, who will work 60-80 hr work weeks (daily overtime, weekends, holidays, etc.) and remember India was not part of our class action suit. In fact Indian labor wants so much to be in the US that to them working these extremes is more than acceptable. Remember IBM also separates them from their families in India and, with the time difference, they work while their families sleep. I've lived in Asia, believe me I'd rather be here.

In my early career days I hated Unions, perhaps I was brainwashed by Corp America to hate Unions in preparation for these current days. But now, it's clear, Corp America is taking ABSOLUTE advantage of the typical employee.

But it's not all Corp America's fault. How many of us want to pay the absolute lowest price for a consumer product (perhaps even an IBM thinkpad, which isn't made in the US nor is it call an IBM thinkpad any longer)and not caring where it was made, who made it, or the cost of production. Individually we focus on price. I'll repeat that PRICE, PRICE, PRICE.

Fortunately I don't count myself as one who shops that way, but the ones that do could be fueling the fire and contributing to the firings.

It won't get better soon because, so far, I've only seen words fly though cyberspace. Only thing I can say is, "These are my last days in Information Technology". I'll count myself as retired from Corp American when this nightmare ends.

Dave Darin, KFNX News/Talk, Phoenix.

Dave Darin | May 08, 2007 | 5:56PM

IBM went to pieces when it hired the former CEO of a tobacco company to run it’s business (clearly an individual with no ethics).

Among the best decisions in my life are:
- To quit IBM when things looked pretty bad in 1993
- To turn down the offer from IGS when my IT department was consumed by an IBM contract last month (actually, I assumed that things at IBM had improved and I did not realize how wise the second decision was until I read this article and the posts)

Paul (ex IBM East Fishkill, Atlanta, Austin) | May 08, 2007 | 6:12PM

Bush is the greatest tragedy to hit America period.

Bush sux | May 08, 2007 | 6:18PM

This is a symptom of what is wrong in USA today. Bush and the administration is allowing these companies to get away with murder... but then again why wouldn't he? Haliburton can do it... why not IBM.

You have to think of the economy in a macro sense (Bob Zapfel's favorite saying -- an IBM GM). Every country is like a balloon with many openings going in and out. Each opening is attached to the opening of another country -- a cartesian product sort of thing. The flow of air in each of those tubes is cash -- money. Some of the tubes are tied (embargoed). Some of the balloons have a greater capacity then others (big potential GDP vs smaller). Some balloons are full and some are not. India and the 'emerging' countries have large bags with little air. USA is a medium size bag that is no longer full. The air rushing out of the US and into the 'emerging' economies much faster then air is coming in -- in effect we are importing way more then we are exporting. A lot of these 'imports' are labor -- Indian and other offshore resources who work for dirt nothing. As long as the air is rushing out faster then it is coming in the USA economy continues to deflate.

Does this matter to Sam Palmisano? Nope.. not a bit. His goal in life is to get IBM stock high enough so he can dump his millions of dollars of stock options and retire rich. The more 'air' that leaves the US and enters the other emerging countries, the better for him. Less money in the US economy means that his millions are worth more. A failing US economy is good for him! Bad for the rest of us. Good for George Bush.. bad for the middle class.

Not only does Palmisano not care... he surrounds himself with the good ole boys club. Just imaging an exec management filled with bobbleheads just nodding. Palmisano is NOT interested in the truth... he is only interested in getting the stock price up -- just long enough to abandon ship.

Remember... Pamisano is a protege of his failed predecessor -- John Akers of the 1990's. Akers divided and sold off parts of the company in order to attempt to float it. That failed. Sam Palmisano does not have the management saavy to do much else. Proof in point... the selling of the disk drive division in San Jose, CA to Hitachi. There were production and quality issues. Palmisano decided that he did not want to play in that arean -- read here did not have the saavy to fix it. Who benefited? Look at the person next to you? Does her/she have an iPod. The 'defective' drives that were being built are in those units. Hitachi and their attention to detail and quality turned around the production and not made a FORTUNE on the iPod market.

Who lost? IBM stock holders because Palmisano does not have the business sense and leadership to fix things. he is adopting the tactics of his mentor... buy software companies and sell things he does not know how to fix.

More proof.... when Lou Gerstner left there wwas an immediate change in the wind -- absolutely immediate. Gerstner spent years with the LEAN methodology under his belt and flattened IBM management and cut out waste. IBM under Palmisano now has one the the deepest management chain (read here -- waste and good ole boy's club) in the industry. His first 'program' out of the shoot was 'On Demand', that sounds mean. Why not "On Request"? It reflects the harsh characteristics of the Palmisano regime.

Want more proof? Someone in this organization was married to an IBM manager who passed. In the 1990's and before IBM was FIERCELY loyal to their people. An event like that would be treated like a personal affront to IBM. What did the Palmisano dictatorship do? The wife of that manager was cut as part of LEAN (MEAN). So... why would people be loyal to IBM anymore?

LEAN = MEAN on all accounts. Palmisano is MEAN. What he needs to do is replace the N with a VE and LEAVE. Nobody at IBM will morn that loss.

r | May 08, 2007 | 7:32PM

Fascinating discussion

I'm an Australian IBMer, of 20 years standing, and I won't make the quarter century club. So for me this is personal.

My perspective:
1)Yes IBM is ruthless, but no more than most other corporates I see.
2)IBM has no choice in offshoring....if it doesn't do this it will lose its business to someone that does.
3)Whatever you think of Sam, he has been *very* public in articulating our offshoring goals and the company has repeatedly published intranet articles on what is happening. I find it hard to understand how any IBMer could be unaware of what is coming. If we're smart, we will listen and make plans.
4)Even if service by ofshored teams is not as good (debatable point) it may be better value for money. Mercedes make awesome cars, but I drive a Toyota.
5)America is a great country,but it's not the world. The information revolution is lessening the ability of rich nations to hog resources at the expense of poor nations. Our challenge as a global society is to drive the growth of a global middle class rather than a global sweatshop. Let America show its greatness and lead this transition! You might hate having to downsize your house....how does some poverty-bound third-worlder like to watch their children die of starvation?

I can see ways I could survive in IT (I think). But I have chosen a career change. I'm laying the groundwork, and I'm quite excited by it. It fascinates me how many people I know see the same issue, but don't make plans for it. Being prepared is the best way to remove fear and be happy.

Fearless.

Fearless | May 08, 2007 | 7:34PM

...add to this the case that the 4th largest global outsourcer (Affiliated Computer Services) is moving toward more India and Mexico 'offshoring'. Do you realize that the companies who are competing with one another are doing it the same way and that American computer support technicians and their families are the losers? It's not tennis shoes and towels: it's your healthcare claims and drug prescription being filled online that is in jeopardy... I see it from the inside as well, and it is grim.

Doug H. | May 08, 2007 | 7:40PM

Was a PM for 5 years and a DPE for another 1.5 years...what a f****** nightmare! This thread is like a bad re-run for me. ;)

I [finally] resigned in Q1 of this year, life is good again, really good!

Generic Poster | May 08, 2007 | 8:47PM

As a long time employee of IBM I am very disappointed with this kind of news. The really sad part is that I'm not surprised. Upper management seems obsessed with quick fixes with little thought of the future. As one earlier entry put it upper management will retire fabulously wealthy on the backs of other employees and the long term health of the business. Upper management needs to go to those people who actually work with our customers and find REAL solutions. But that assumes they really want to fix our problems. Think about what TJW senior would do! Cmon Sam you're a long term IBMer.

Steve | May 08, 2007 | 9:39PM

Bob,

A great job of investigative journalism. As you can see from the many comments here and the enormous press you've gotten, you have touched a nerve with many. Even IBM Communications has had to go on overdrive to get some shills out to find fault in your article and attack your character.

Kudos on your success and watch your back from now on, since you have taken a jab at the blue pig. The pig is very vengeful and immoral. Just ask the many journalists that IBM has eventually taken revenge against and somtimes gotten fired like DeLamarter, Malik, Mills and Friesen. Thank God you are with PBS and not the WSJ, although the August 1999 article on Jerry Churchhouse in the journal is what started the blue pig's slide from the inflated prices that caught many poor employees praying for options and hurt many misled investors.

This story was predicted by many in the late 1990's, especially many on the Yahoo forums that erupted after the 1999 pension heist when IBM Communications tried to take posters away from the stock forum to control and mislead them with a lawsuit that was a planned lost cause.

Some of us saw it coming in the early 80's with Opel and Cary. History also shows the immoral and evil side of IBM. After all, wasn't it founded by a pardoned felon who twice tried to illegally control markets?

What's next for IBM? The "Disease and Deformity Free" (aka D&D) girls exposee that was quoted by "hrcontractor2001 " n the IBMPension forum?
Sex always sells, especially when it comes to us nerds!

Keep going. Next is HP. This industry is full of poor conned hard working good folks led by selfish megamaniacs. The line between a felon and a CEO in this country is just how much you've paid in bribes toaccountants, fellow MBA's, B-School teachers and politicians.

Evil, immorality and crime have a business case already developed for business leaders. Read "Why Be Honest if Honesty Doesn't Pay" by Bhide and Stevenson, HBR September-October 1990.

Philby | May 08, 2007 | 9:49PM

Offshoring is not a Bush invention. Its not a Democrat or Republican thing. Companies are free to run their business the way they see fit. I dont agree with the decisions that are made, but I do whats required as long as they are giving me a check.

Me | May 08, 2007 | 10:09PM

Wake up and smell the curry little Hindus!! These actions are a pre-cursor to the real end game. We are selling the portfolio of SO contracts to Carlyle and EDS. We are also shopping the GBS business to an unknown boutique.
Looks like John Akers was right!

Hugh Jardonne | May 08, 2007 | 10:13PM

IBM is just one of the many who sell out U.S.jobs and then look to sell back to us foreign and Red Communist made products and services. The bigger issue is the empty skirts and suits who call themselves our State representatives who do absolutely nothing for the lost jobs in their state other than watch as the jobs continue to leave on their watch and the shelves fill up with products not made by the displaced workers.; and she would like to be president; Ladies and gentlemen are we in denial? Time to vote all of this dead wood out of office as a new broom will sweep clean. Good luck and buy from a company that does the right thing because the job you save may someday be your own.

Save A Buck | May 08, 2007 | 10:27PM

Thanks for the article. While it may have a mismatch on the numbers, the flood of posts by what appears to be real IBMers says more than the article. The situations, terminologies, acronyms, and tool references in the postings above are way too close to be made by outsiders.


If the current situation and forecast weren't so bleak, I'm sure we'd have a greater number of posts shedding a positive light on the corporation and defending it. This thread is famous in IBM and has been spammed across the Sametime network to everyone. Any IBMer is welcome to anonymously defend their employer here. Why so few positive posts? It doesn’t take more than a couple minutes to share a positive thought about IBM here.


What is sad is there does appear to be some shill damage control attempts, still nitpicking on the numbers, as if the vast majority of negative postings sharing internal experiences don't matter. All in line with what the fed up employees are saying: Leadership doesn't listen to its employees, doesn't care about its people, and will blindly keep trying to discredit and ignore the issues raised from the foundation.


I don’t believe the magnitude of the 150,000 number. I do believe we are seeing the start of a historical cut in the U.S. IBM workforce, in a haphazard approach, and short timeframe. I already see the damage this is causing on a very large commercial account I support. The customer is fully aware and very displeased, because they are on the receiving end of this too. Although I’ve read that this effort not only discards dead weight resources, it also discards dead weight (underbid) customers.

disposable resource | May 08, 2007 | 10:29PM

Reference to the comment made by 'ME'. I believe the street lingo for that is "prostitute for a dollar".

US | May 08, 2007 | 10:38PM

I am married to a "manager" at IBM and can offer firsthand effects to the practices that "Big Blue" has been employing as the first step towards this "Lean and Mean" policy.

On her account she has sixteen agents, who cover a 24 hour period. When she started managing this account she had 22 agents for a project that required, and for which the client had been promised 32 full time agents. Needless to say the client has not been overly impressed with the performance of IBM in this account.

When my wife was an agent, she typically worked a regular 40 hour week, which on occassion would have some paid overtime sprinkled in. Of course when she went into management, there was an increase in her "desk" time as well as numerous occassions where she would have to go into the field to meet with the client, but typically she worked a 55 to 60 hour week for the few months. However, since IBM has started this "Lean and Mean" policy, her responsibilities are no longer to simply manage this account. She has also taken on five other administrative positions, which have been folded into this simple "Low level manager's account". Typically her work week is about 70 to 75 hours per week, and 90 hour work weeks are not at all uncommon, but come about once a month. She has not worked under 70 hours a week for the past year.
She has received for all of this extra work a raise of 4% as a PBC1 - which raised her total salary slightly over 42,000/yr, which is the highest rate available for an IBM low level manager. I have been alternately infuriated and dismayed as I have watched the shabby treatment that this once proud company dispenses upon its management, particularly those that they consider the most valued.
I have also candidly stated to her she should start looking elsewhere for employment, as this behavior by her company is nothing short of exploitation, and in reality is little more than white collar indentured servitude. Now that I learn the plans of IBM to do away with jobs, even though last year their corporation turned in profits that were rather significant, but did not meet the artificially inflated projection that had been set for them, I am torn between feelings of rage and impotence.

While I fully understand the purpose of a corporation is to make a profit for itself, and its shareholders, it is disheartening when a company of IBM's stature and tradition treats its employees as vassals, while it plans upon making fewer employees do signficantly more as they shift American jobs to Communist China.

At some point one has to ask if the benefits that a company reaps from basing its business on the strength of the United States Economy, and the benefits it reaps from the infrastructure of these United States bestows upon it an inherent responsibility to act within ethical principals.

Avoiceofreason | May 08, 2007 | 10:40PM

disposable resource -- in reality, despite so many people querying them, the numbers are no longer the real issue. Whether it's one job or 150,000 is neither here nor there; the fact is from all the other comments here that IBM is clearly broken.

The positive thing is that so many people here are aware that IBM is broken, care that IBM is broken (vented anger here shows they care), and care that American jobs are being lost unnecessarily. Whether they are being lost necessarily or unnecessarily is a matter of opinion - personally I think there are better ways to grow a business than just chopping jobs and offshoring.

Perhaps some change will come as a result of this article and the comments giving people, whose opinions would otherwise not be heard, a voice. I sincerely doubt it, but I equally sincerely hope so.

I'm an ex-IBMer who has also been a contractor at IBM at various times in the past. There are many great people there who care about the company and know it's broken but can't fix it because the problems don't filter back above about 2 or 3 levels of management. I care because I don't like to see mismanagement destroy a company for their own benefit whether deliberately or misguidedly, it seems that nothing has been learned since Enron.

What comes down from the top on the other hand is very little of real substance but the latest Management BuzzWord or Strategy du Jour, be it LEAN, InnovationJam, Global Resourcing or what have you....usually leaving the foot soldiers scrambling to keep up, sapping morale, and screwing up productivity no end.

pinkslipsoon | May 08, 2007 | 11:05PM

Dear Pink: AMEN! Or, should I say, OM...... ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 08, 2007 | 11:56PM

EDS - EDs Bar and Grill - I used to work there when Henri Ross Perot was running things. Was a great company. Slowly, imperceptively, it changed into a company that I no longer wanted to work at - long hours, layoffs, meager pay increases, etc.. So, after 8 hard years, I jumped ship. Went to work for another company CITATION LUFKIN AKA Texas Foundries for 12 years until I got laid off. To heck with the corporate world. I'm getting into education - meager pay, good benefits, lots of time off.

Shane Allen | May 09, 2007 | 12:28AM

It was three years ago when the company I had worked for, for over 18 years outsourced it's entire IT Staff to IBM.

I was delighted to work for a large company like IBM and was told I would have a number of opportunities to learn, travel and grow with an exceptionally diverse and growing division known as Global Services.

At first everything remained what they called “Steady State” little did IBM realize we had several servers that were in desperate need of replacement and our world was far from a steady state environment. The techs like me were never asked what the environment was like at my company and did not have the ability to assist with the negotiations of the contract between my company and IBM. IBM had no idea that we mess they were getting into.

I helped maintain over 5000 accounts nationwide and over a dozen servers from coast to coast. Little did I know two of my co-workers had worked out a “deal” with IBM and were in the process of starting their own business. With IBM’s blessings they never showed up for work and still received a bi-weekly pay check, a few weeks went by and they never showed up again.

Myself and one of my co-workers practically worked ourselves to death trying to keep a failing system up and running and maintaining the hundreds of calls we received 24 hours a day from the Solutions Center. IBM provided us with a Manager who knew nothing about our needs and couldn’t care less about the amount of hours we were working. Our new manager provided us with what they called an Architect whose job was to provide us with solutions to our problems. “That never happened” this individual was unreachable and would not respond to a single call from the Solutions Center. Mind you, we tried our best and it soon became apparent to both of us that we were over our heads and without management backing us up with the 350,000 additional IBM helpers that were promised us, my other co-worker jumped ship and found another job. I can’t blame him, he either had to find another job, or his spouse of 12 years was going to leave him.

I on the other hand was determined to try and stick it out, I’ve never walked away from a job. IBM decided to reorganize and I was provided with a new manager, an architect and two additional co-workers. We worked through all the issues and after approximately 18 months, hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime, lost vacations not to mention holidays; my health was deteriorating health, and I was about to have a nervous breakdown we finally had things under control.

Fortunately, I was blessed with a great partner who was very understanding when I’d go to bed at midnight and get woken at 2 or 3 a.m. only to put in another 24 hour shift until the next night of 24 hour shifts.

IBM allowed me to work from home because of the long hours and the commute time I couldn’t respond to my calls within a decent time and IBM would get fined if we did not respond within 15 minutes of receiving a call. Therefore there were several months that I did not leave the house for fear of retribution. I literally worked in my sweats, slept next to my computer in a chair and made sure I called in and told my 2 other co-workers when I was going to take a shower.

After being bleed dry of all my knowledge and any desire to continue working for IBM I was told my position was being off-shored and I would be leaving IBM at the first of 2007.

I couldn’t have asked for a better blessing than to leave the hell hole that had become IBM.

At this time I’ve decided to go into real estate and property development, a dream I’ve had for years. I still have a passion for technology; however I pray I never have to work for another company like IBM ever again and would never with that experience on my worst enemy.


lipservice | May 09, 2007 | 1:12AM


Going to throw 2 more points on my last post.


8. For all of you politicians that might read this. You allow all of these abuses by these CEO’s and higher level managers. You mess over the voters who put you in office in favor of the corporate lobbyists. You allow jobs to go offshore to countries that do not have the same environmental, employment, and safety regulations that the US does. You allow Mexican trucks to drive across our borders and not be subject to a search until they are 20 miles inside the country. You do not require them to pass any safety inspections or keep the same log books that you require for US drivers. You expect the US worker to compete with that? The race is fixed before it even starts. What a bunch of twits. Of course the voters and particularly non-voters are bigger twits to let it happen. How about this. Don’t vote Democrat. Don’t vote Republican. Vote for an American. Vote for someone who actually gives a rodent’s posterior for what happens to the voters. I have news for all of you politicians that are selling out this country for a buck. Where do you think the money comes from to pay your salaries? Where do think the money comes from to finance your teapot museums, bridges to nowhere, and (gag) socialized medicine? Let me answer that for you. From taxes that are paid mostly by middle income workers. So when our wages go down your tax revenue goes down. Last time I checked there is no head count tax in the US. Your tax revenues are affected directly by the income of the middle class worker. It hardly takes a rocket scientist to figure that out.

9. For all of you offshore workers who are laughing about this whole thing and saying it is about time the Americans got smacked down a bit. What do you think is going to happen when the US purchasing power drops? Do you think we are going to keep buying you services and goods at the quantity and price we are now? I don’t think so. Your customers are going to be affected and that means that how much they spend on outsourcing will be affected. That means your jobs will be affected. So if your are lucky the drop in US wages will be slow and the retirement of the baby boomers will soften the blow but that doesn’t seem likely the way that companies are laying off their US workers. Just remember our economy tanks and your economy tanks. Welcome to the world of globalization. Isn’t it wonderful?

Chucky | May 09, 2007 | 1:25AM

If IBM is firing so many staffers, then why are they holding these career fairs? See http://www.techexpousa.com/ for details.

tux | May 09, 2007 | 4:16AM

The World of Globalization has began...PPl all over the world will be on par sooner or later. Trend is just shifting from one country to another.If cost of skilled worker will increase in India then Companies will start outsourcing to some other country.

peter | May 09, 2007 | 4:45AM

The World of Globalization has began...PPl all over the world will be on par sooner or later. Trend is just shifting from one country to another.If cost of skilled worker will increase in India then Companies will start outsourcing to some other country.

peter | May 09, 2007 | 4:46AM

hi all, I'm Davide Barillari an IBM employees representative. I need to collect all the information about the LEAN project and impacts on our workforce. It's really important to understand the IBM's strategy and implement alternative solutions to preserve employees rights and jobs. Pls contact me in private if u have news: it's very important.

Barillo | May 09, 2007 | 5:00AM

now that our chief Sam is in India, we all have
confirmation about whats going on. ** APA Newswire **


IBM chief in India to review new investments, expansion
8 Mai 2007
09:35 am GMT
Associated Press Newswires
Englisch
(c) 2007. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

NEW DELHI (AP) - IBM Corp. Chief Executive Samuel Palmisano met with Indian business leaders and executives from client companies Tuesday as he wrapped up a two-day trip to review the company's new investments and expansion here.

IBM is investing US$6 billion to set up new research facilities and expand its outsourcing centers in India. The company has hired thousands of engineers and software professionals since Palmisano unveiled the three-year investment plan last June.

Company officials declined to immediately comment on the visit and Palmisano avoided journalists after addressing Indian business leaders at a close-door meeting.

IBM sees India as a key base to support services for clients around the globe, helping the company fend off competition from low-cost Indian service providers that are increasingly grabbing worldwide technology consulting business.

It also wants to seize the opportunities in the fast-growing India market.

Currently, sales in India form a negligible part of IBM's global revenue, but the Armonk, New York-based company is beginning to win large orders from Indian companies.

In March, it won a 10-year contract to manage the information technology infrastructure of Indian mobile company Idea Cellular in a deal valued between US$600 million and US$800 million.

IBM now employs about 53,000 people in India, second only to the United States, where it has about 125,000 employees. Most of them are employed at the company's outsourcing centers that cater to IBM's clients worldwide.

7

image


Dokument APRS000020070508e35800133


employeefromeurope | May 09, 2007 | 5:43AM

As an IBM employee I am of course alarmed at the idea of all of our jobs being offshored. Of course I don't want to lose my job and my income. However, what alarms me more is the whole idea of handing the keys to the house, so to speak, to foreigners. When IBM picks up a customer account they are promising to protect that customer's data. Is anybody aware, or even care that turning over support of vital data to these support centers in the BRIC is a security risk?


There are terrorists out there who would love nothing more than to be given "root" privelages on these accounts. We should not be assuming that these foreign technicians are not fully capable of reaking havoc on our customer's systems.


While IBM would be held responsible if, or maybe I should say when, this happens. You Mr. Customer are responsible for this, too. You Mr. Customer are the one who is making unreasonable demands for lower pricing and demanding support from IBM that you could not get from your own employees.


IBM executives and the American CEO's of these companies are just setting themselves up for a terrorist attack. Not with bombs or airplanes but because they are underestimating the intelligence of these support technicians they will be handing them access to their most important business asset, data.

just1waiting | May 09, 2007 | 6:09AM

i say i still love you all !!!

Dishman Blaise | May 09, 2007 | 6:13AM

The difference between IBM and the Maffia is that the Maffia is organised.

Ah Well | May 09, 2007 | 6:19AM

Apologies for the above comment, i feel sorry for all who would be losing their jobs, I hope IBM reconsiders laying off just for monitory gains, well to be true today india, tommorow china or elsewhere... are'nt big-firms just responsible for Uncertainty in the lives of IT personals and their families.
------ Your policies stink IBM.------

Dishman Blaise | May 09, 2007 | 6:21AM

IBM: International Business Mafia

Dishman Blaise | May 09, 2007 | 6:25AM

I don't know who or what the source of this article is, i.e. who the author's sources are, but the author should have taken the time to investigate a little bit further rather than actually put these words in print and on the internet for everyone to read. There are so many outright falsehoods in this article that it's difficult to put any trust in anything else this author has to say:

(1) Look at your own numbers. First of all, IBM is a very profitable company - not only is IBM busy repurchasing public stock, not only does it have a huge cash reserve, not only is it the largest IT company, but it also has had record earnings in the last 5 years. How this is possible with "nonprofitable" customers is simply beyond me, and probably anyone with at least a passing knowledge of 5th grade algebra.

(2) There is NO company in the world that has ever gotten rid of 1/2 of its work force and continued to function. There is no company that has gotten rid of 1/2 of its workers in the midst of a growth period where it was gaining market share. In fact, if you look at your own numbers, 100,000 - 150,000 workers in global services .... mmmmh....that would mean probably 2 out 3 workers in global services are going to get the axe. That's really not logical - global services is the #1 area of profitability for IBM. Even a 1st year executive would see that cutting this work force is simply nonsense.

(3) The author also continues to proliferate that nonsensical myth that India is this incredibly magical place that is just loaded with high-tech workers that work for pennies. Manager's salaries have increased in the double-digit percentages for the past several years, to the point where they are now almost competitive with American workers' salaries. In addition, the talent pool is so small (less than 1% of the country is educated enough for basic office work), worker retention is lousy (at best), and the infrastructure of the country is stretched so thin that you have trouble starting any kind of business. Never mind keeping it. Apple just recently found this out the hard way, and decided to pull out of that market completely(!).

If this story wasn't so bleak in it's outlook it would almost pass for dark humor or maybe some kind of disgruntled rumbling/sarcasm. In any case, I have yet to find anyone else even MENTIONING this kind of nonsense anywhere on the web - that's all 15 billion pages of it!

HPatIBM | May 09, 2007 | 6:43AM

so then the report was false eh ?

wat a lovely waste of time :-)

i say i still love you all !!!

IBM: International Business Machine

Dishman Blaise | May 09, 2007 | 6:59AM

To HPatIBM...we have all heard "the numbers are wrong" before. But there is much truth in this article. If there wasn't some truth to it, don't you think IBM would be standing up and saying that this was all nonsense? What the IBM spokesman HAS said is that he won't comment on a rumor. Well, why not?

just1waiting | May 09, 2007 | 7:08AM

So HPatIBM...you think it won't happen to you because you work for a 'reputable' American Corporation in America? Well I joined IBM in the UK in 1994. They employed 12,500 staff in Global Services here at that point. Today all the workload is being mis-managed in India and South Africa and there are 1,000 (yes, read it & weep...ONE THOUSAND) Global Service employees left in the UK to 'front-up' the operation to the customers. Accept the wisdom...to Big Blue the Buck is everything, except for deciding where it stops. In fact, we now call the company Big Brown. Work that one out.

Eleanor D'Acquitane | May 09, 2007 | 7:16AM

i guess the website
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070504_002027.html
is giving us wrong information for its own gains
be careful whe wasting time people

GreedLock | May 09, 2007 | 7:18AM

To HPatIBM:

I beg to differ.

1. Profit is irrelevant to management objectives: it's all about the share price. And much of the profit is unrelated to operations. How long did the public numbers cover the hemmoraging of money in the PC division? And please don't bring up the "stricture" of Sarbanes-Oxley. It's a bad joke, a minor inconvenience when you're up against the complexity of a corporate accounting system that baffled even the Department of Justice in the anti-trust lawsuit days. The internal accounting system was originally designed to obscure the real results from federal eyes (see Watson, T.J., Jr.'s autobiography) has gotten so good as to obscure the real results even from corporate management.

2. You're right - no major corporation has ever cost-cut its way to profitability. If that's the case, why has it become the management equivalent of a religious belief? People don't really act on facts, they act on beliefs, and management believes that the American customer is too demanding and that the American worker is too overpriced. Hint: if the average offshore worker spent as much time in internal status meetings and doing politics as the American management system demands, they'd be reduced to our productivity levels in a trice. Deming was right: "it starts at the top."

3. Your comments about India may be true for now - but India's growing daily by virtue of our displaced investment, while our infrastructure continues to decay. And your point that Apple just "learned this the hard way" (joining a host of others) shows the power of the myth and the snake oil being peddled by the travelling band of management consultants. It's sad when outside slash and burn consultants spend more time with corporate management than the company's own workers.

The fault lies not in our stars | May 09, 2007 | 7:18AM

To HPatIBM: Let us just add a (2)A to your list...(2) There is NO company in the world that has ever gotten rid of promised employee benefits when it was still profitable and viable...oops, IBM has already done that! Hmmmm...

just1waiting | May 09, 2007 | 7:31AM

Some facts:
IBM Europe laid off appr 13000 staff in 2005; mainly in IGS and SO due to low profit contribution and having "overeaten" with low profit customer projects.

About over the same time, India staff has been increased to the area of 50k.

In Europe many admin positions have moved to former Eastern Europe (Bratislava eg) in parallel, gaining low cost wages.

SAM visits India this week, in order to reconfirm investments in the area of 6Bn (see APA news above).

The 150K figure is probably high, but on WW scale a magnitude off 100k is certainly at stake.

As such, I would guess IBM USA will see 20-30.000 job cuts in 2007/2008; and perhaps an additional 10.000 in Europe.

2008/2009 remains to be seen, and will depend mainly on the customer base. I'd guess we will see RFPs, in which customers will ONDEMAND data center presence in own country.

The other issues are the SW development labs; there, one can see the movements of development and maintenance jobs to China.

Our SW will soon be branded "Made in China" ?

or better:
Designed in USA, coded in Germany, and f**cked up in China.

Imagine : DB2 v10 Unleashed, Bejing Edition.

Also imagine appr. 200K IBM workers in USA and Europe looking for a new job in the next few weeks, certainly a productivity gain for our results.

employeefromeurope | May 09, 2007 | 7:33AM

the hammer blows to IGS morale just keep coming don't they? In our case (NSD), IBM has been actively moving work to South America - Brazil and Argentina specifically - since 2001/2002. The results on this have been mixed. It MUST be cheaper for the company to supply server and mainframe host and network support from countries which have universal, non-employer sponsored health care. It also seems to me that so far customers have not been exposed to the language/communication issues and technical deficincies which naturally arise from this effort; most of the work moved so far has been systems and network operations. Quite a bit of server support has gone to S.A. as well, but mostly these folks interface with other IBMers, not directly with the customer. P.D. takes longer but the customer doesn't know that.

There seem to be few life-long IBMers in NSD any longer. Frequently I work with folks who were hired in to IBM as part of an outsourcing agreement. The knowledge of IBM program products is often dismal. Not their fault in most cases, they just could not possibly get the exposure to these products that someone with a 20-25 year tech career within the company could get.

The article states that in most cases the decision of who will be cut has already been made. This was probably done by individual PBC ratings; a tragic mistake. IBM management - at least in my area of NSD - has very little clue as to who is doing the job, who is doing a good job, and who is unable to really do the job. Its all smoke and mirrors, or call it what it is : monthly accomplishments updates, monthly account status reports, weekly dept meeting chest thumping.
Best of luck to IBM and Sam with his - what is it? - 50k a DAY pension. I for one care less for them.

igsdude | May 09, 2007 | 9:07AM

It's sad watching the death spiral of a once great company. I really don't think it can be stopped, but that doesn't have to be a problem (for you).


Globalization has been fantastic for multi-nationals and bad for the public and smaller companies. Government may be by, for and of the corporations, but the public still have to give it their stamp of approval every 4 years. And they do: People get the government they deserve.


Manufacturing and clothing jobs have been moving to the third-world for a long time. The public haven't clued onto this: They enjoy the cheap junk at Walmart and sneer on those laid-off as not trying hard enough. (Some of the nastier comments to Bob's articles are typical of this.)


Now IT and business jobs are going to same way too. There have been some beautiful failures in outsourcing to India, and there will continue to be. Take great joy in those, but they won't happen badly or spectacularly enough to stop it in time.
I've worked with Indians and, sorry guys, you're not very good. Really. But if it isn't Indians, I've worked with Eastern Europeans too and yes, I found them to be very good. On the other hand it'd be more fun to watch IBM impale itself in India.


Executives don't give a damn what happens beyond the annual balance sheet or their options vesting. Employee campaigns or write-ins won't make a scrap of difference. Sacking employees always drives up the share price and Wall Street loves sackings. IBM is going to do this anyway. Unless you own IBM shares *A LOT OF THEM* you can't stop it.


Flip your laptop over. Does it say 'Made in China'. Do you do business with companies that have call centers in India? Then you're part of the problem.


Fujitsu still makes PCs in Japan, and Japanese buy them because they're superior quality. Japanese insist on quality, even at their 100 yen discount shops. America (and everyone else in the west getting screwed): Please Lose the Walmart mentality: Stop buying on price alone, and then complaining when your employer does the same thing.


The solution is patriotism and a public that can think for itself. It's funny to see lower and middle class folks who kid themselves they're investors/capitalists/businessmen, cheering on 'free markets' and 'what's good for XYZ is good for America!' They think this because the media tells them to think this. Question: Who owns the media? These people are like cows lined up at the slaughterhouse, winking at the butchers and kidding themselves they're not like all the other cows lined up with them.


Patriotism might work: I'm not talking about mindless foreigner bashing, nationalism, war, hate or anything dumb like that: The people of the world are interacting and learning more about each other and that's good thing. What I mean: Think of it as 'support your local'. I suggest every state, country and principality goes for it. When you buy something, buy local and be willing to pay more. If you can't get it, start a company or convince an existing company do it instead.


The good news: Think of the worst thing that can happen in a situation, and you'll realize it's not that bad. I left IBM in 1993 with many others. It *should* have been the dumbest decision in my life, but I'm staggered to be reading the replies to this. I started my own biz. So did my friends leaving at the same time. Some of us are richer than others, but every one of us is happy. No one regrets leaving. Never for a minute!


Companies like IBM and HP are in a death spiral. They treat their customers terribly, on the basis the payback won't come until after the next annual report. But is there anyone here who *doesn't* think they're in decline? These are long, slow deaths, and I really don't think either can be saved. So, as someone else suggested, get together with your colleagues and start your own business. Not all of you are cut out to run a business, but if you're as good as you say the ones that do will gladly take you. There is strength in numbers, and those customers leaving IBM will need to go somewhere.


Remember the old values that made IBM great (but this time remember to keep out the deadwood and don't sleep through the next revolution). Good Luck!

Benny | May 09, 2007 | 9:25AM

Do not have any real news to report? Need more creative topics that are worth discussing?

shank | May 09, 2007 | 9:31AM

Your poll poisons the well.
Yes: And it is about time!
No: That would destroy the company.

Mark | May 09, 2007 | 10:26AM

These multi-national corporations (MNCs) (IBM, Microsoft, Intel, HP, ...) are whining about "skills shortages" and that not enough Americans are entering the tech field.

How hypocritical, because they are simultaneously laying off experienced American tech workers, working them to death, and throwing them out the window once they reach the ripe age of 35.

Americans aren't dumb. Why should they spend $40,000 tuition and 4 years of intensive study to enter the tech field? The incentives simply aren't there.

Next time MNCs whine to Congress about "skills shortage", Congress should tell them: "No corporate welfare for you. You've made your bed, now you've got to sleep in it."

aspew | May 09, 2007 | 10:48AM

Give up on corporate career. No matter how good, you are not appreciated because you are a LINE ITEM EXPENSE to be reduced.

I have a paycheck job that required me to incorporate. I have done so and am actively finding ways to expand my outside consulting (I AM AN OUTSOURCER MYSELF??? GASP). Within a year, I want it as my primary support and chuck the life of the indentured servant.

If you have a job in corporate, you are a slave to management.
Use them for knowledge and insight. Only.
Be prepared for life on your own.

Bob Eisenhardt | May 09, 2007 | 11:05AM

misery loves company. i'm just glad to hear that it's not just my area in ibm experiencing the problems shared by others above. i guess this is normal! sad i have to see this on a public forum. guess ibmers are too afraid to post this stuff on intranet blogs and newsgroups, i don't blame them, i'm scared sh*tless too. the general belief by most i know is that we have nothing to lose, and it seems people are dropping offline a lot earlier nowadays. why kill yourself if you're already on the chopping block. if the magnitude of cuts is not true right now, the morale level will make it true.

anonymous coward ibmer | May 09, 2007 | 11:15AM

I was an IBM WH%#E until I got tired of being screwed every annual review when I was told I was above market pay but was never told what that market pay was. I can testify that the only interest IBM has is the dollar profit. All those IBM employees remaining should strike or quit in mass - unemployment is coming boys and girls get ready.

Dave | May 09, 2007 | 11:44AM

Why I don’t think IBM or any other blue chip stock company could afford to jettison over 100k employees in one year.
Assumptions: 100k to fire, 2 weeks severance pay per years of service, 5 years average length of service, $60k average earnings = $1,154,000,000.00
expense. If severance were not paid, the class action suit would be twice that amount plus at least a third more in legal fees or over 3.1 billion dollars.
IBM stock would drop at least 50%.
The following executives own at least these many shares now worth $103 at today’s price. If you start seeing a sell off by these people, start to panic.
If you were one of these executives would you risk this much wealth?

Officer No. of Shares $ Value
S.J. Palmisano 404,669 @ $103 = $41,680,907
D. T. Elix 134,427 @ $103 = $13,845,981
M. Loughridge 88,936 @ $103 = $9,160,408
N.M. Donofrio 188,627 @ $103 = $19,428,581

Plus some managers and all executives have massive stock options at risk. These run way into the millions. Lucent stock dropped from $74/share to less than $7/share, Unisys was $50 at one time now $8/share. This can happen overnight to IBM if the street smells blood.
One last thought, if the average person in 100k firing has $50k in their 401k and moves it to a self-directed IRA upon termination, that is 5 billion dollars sucked out of Hewitt and the market.

Lifer_no_more | May 09, 2007 | 11:58AM

Does this number include contractors? Which IBM doesn't owe a dime to in severance pay. I think many of the aforementioned number are... nor do the thousands and thousands of employees IBM employs as contractors count towards the "full-time" IBM headcount....

fedup | May 09, 2007 | 12:05PM

I recently joined the IBM fold, working as an SSR, on the front lines of providing IBM's "signature" service to its customers.

We are at the bottom of the food chain, yet we are expected to be the best face of IBM, provide exemplary service, **and** sell, sell, sell.

Probably more than anyone in the company, we are the day-to-day witnesses to the decline and imminent fall of Big Blue. Our field support call center teams are being outsourced or depleted, particularly those teams dedicated to specific accounts. The quality of our parts is a disgrace, and our managers lie outright or by ommission. Yet, still we are expected to be the best of the best. And you know what? We are.

IBM is collapsing under the weight of its bloated upper and middle management "teams," full of people who don't really work, but who spend the bulk of their time in meetings where they are fed the absurd corporate smoke-and-mirror line of "let's impove service delivery while hacking overhead."

I stand in wonder of two things; first, that there are people who are so stupid-or naive-as to believe the corporate line, and second, that IBM has the audacity to continue to present itself as the an icon of quality and service.

Very sad...

Jackie O | May 09, 2007 | 12:06PM

Ha! I quit IBM after 22 years on 4/30/07. I could see this coming a mile away! Booo yah Mr. Palmisano - I walked away with my pension! Guess you will have to do without my pittance....

22 years too long.... | May 09, 2007 | 12:33PM

Asian are smart and dominating in every course of bussiness/tech. You don't need to sorry "you're not very good" time will decide. If you come out from that mean third world psyche and greedy corporate maffia may be seen the better future in your homeland. Good Luck

Khaliq | May 09, 2007 | 12:43PM

Once again the FAT Cats are getting FATTER for "knowingly" destroying a business. As long as they are OK. This will be the final nail in the coffin to teach companies that outsourcing to third world countires will eventually comback and bite them in their arses.
Two lessons to be learnt here:-
Outsourcing to cheaper labour force, this labour source will eventually become comparative to your own at some point.
Lose customer which mean loss of valuable income. Easier to lose customer than to win customers.

In the UK big business is moving it's callcentre back to the UK from India, due to losing customers

Lax | May 09, 2007 | 1:02PM


Message from Alliance@IBM: re LEAN and coming job cuts

Over 1300 of our co-workers were just fired. And more is cominglots more.

Off shoring and LEAN are being used as clubs to force US employees out the door and increase the workload on fewer and fewer employees.

IBM spokespeople call this workforce rebalancing. We call it workforce abandonment.

How long will you wait to stand up?

Until you find out if the rumors are true?
Until you are asked to train another person on your team who soon becomes your replacement?
Until you are given 30 days to find another job in IBM?
Until you find out whether you will get any severance or a bridge to retirement?
Until you are gone from IBM and think you might sue IBM for wrongful dismissal?
Until your mortgage, kids tuition, or medical bills cannot be paid?

When it is too late?

STAND UP NOW for your job, your family, and your future. It only takes a small amount of courageand you wont be alone. 650,000 CWA members will be supporting you.

Tell IBM to stop abandoning good US jobs.
Participate in a nationwide 15-minute break to protest the job cuts:
Tuesday May 15 from 3:00pm to 3:15pm EDT (2:00 Central, 1:00 Mountain, 12:00 Pacific)

Stop work for 15 minutes. Dont answer the phone, dont answer Same Time.
We must stand together and tell IBM to STOP!

More actions to be announced on the Alliance web site. Stay tuned.



Alliance@IBM / CWA Local 1701 The employees advocate
www.allianceibm.org


unionyes | May 09, 2007 | 1:03PM

Oh yes, IBM WAS a great company- THE BEST - without exception! That all ended with the Gerstner rule. The "new direction" that was taken at that time, had no regard for the individual employee, and consequently, the primary ingredient in IBM's recipe for success, was thrown out- namely, company/employee loyalty and respect.
We can't relive the past nor predict the future, but to exist only to fulfill the expectations of Wall Street, is a road map to extinction. Does Palmisano really care in the long-run? I think not. His future is secured, along with the rest of the Wall Street money mongers.

Jerry D | May 09, 2007 | 1:08PM

400 years back the Western world conquered the rest of the world with colonization, Industrial revolution and inventions. The Eastern world were caught unawares, soaked on it's own glory, spices, diamonds and muslin.

The world has come a full circle and it is time the western world understands that there are people ready to do your job at comparable efficiency and at a fraction of your pay.

My single state in India alone produces more than 100,000 English speaking Engineers every year eager to work. The complaint is that not all of the Engineers are "Employable" but we have undestood our problem and are working towards improving their quality.... Have you understood your problem.....Time will say and I'm still young...

Siva | May 09, 2007 | 1:08PM

SIVA - India as a single state came into being in 1948. If you want to claim that 400 years of history has produced a superior single state, do you remember your own blood-soaked history? Punjab, Pakistan, the murder of Ghandi, Mountbatten's PLAN and the endless rivers of blood that followed.

Do not claim an enlightened land.

bob eisenhardt | May 09, 2007 | 1:26PM

t

yo | May 09, 2007 | 1:31PM

I have worked for IBM for over 20 years and was so impressed with the company when I began. The company has taken quite the turn towards not caring at all about the employee - their main assets. Overseas employees may be capable, but if loyalty and quality of life is lost, life isn't really worth living and the company will end up spiraling down to nothingness. The 'young' engineers overseas that see this as their chance will think better as they get older and want more security from the company they work for.

Bill | May 09, 2007 | 1:41PM

I do not work for IBM. I recently had a senior IBMer who applied for an IT job in my company. The IBMer said he earned around $175K and worked from home for 4 days a week!!...No wonder jobs are being outsourced to some one who will do the same for less than 5% of what he is being paid...

Ohm | May 09, 2007 | 1:44PM

Siva,

I personally don't have any pricipled objection to the (gradual) redistribution or evening of wealth from 1st to 3rd world countries. Nor, do I think it would matter if i did, as it is rather akin to being opposed to gravity or the weather. The economic forces at hand are basic forces of nature. The problem I have with the way that IBM is outsourcing is the thoughtless, irrational and much-too-fast way in which it is being done. They are not hiring well qualified technical people in India, of which there are many. Rather they are hiring the cheapest people they can get, who are seemingly poorly trained and hard to understand for those of us who speak english with an american accent. Moreover, they are not paying any attention to the quality of the work/support they are getting from their outsourcing centers. What many people on this site have complained about is the latter, that due to mismanagement (probably the strongest theme in this blog), the work coming out of India is of poor quality, but they are simply ignoring this and blindly forging ahead, rather than finding out why and fixing it. In India, as in the US, the problem is not the work force, but the lack of effective management thereof. Change will certainly be difficult for Americans to deal with, but the reckless and thoughless way in which this is being done is incomprehensible to many.

T. | May 09, 2007 | 1:47PM

TO: ALLIANCE@IBM

That is useless.... 15 minutes will not send a message... it will only strengthen their resolve after the 15 minutes is up.

3 months will... especially if it will involve multiple Multinationals companies.

steve | May 09, 2007 | 1:48PM

Dude, go easy on Siva. He's correct in the sense that the Asian continent is on the rise but what he doesn't realize is that it's China and east Asia first, India and parts of the Middle East, second. The east Asian economic bloc will be the force of the current (and future) centuries.

India's history is also a point of misperception because in addition to the British, another foreign power, the Mughals (of Turkic Central Asia), ruled them for much of medieval history. Many consider this "Afghan warlord/tribal king-like" era to be a true low point in a Hindu centric society. China, on the other hand, has been a united nation since the first Emperor, who united the five kingdoms back in the 2nd century BC. China's loss was only during the decline of the Qing dynasty, with the whole British-Opium war. So China's re-emergence is a repeat (or renewal) of history, whereas if India can hold it together, it'll be a throw back to a time which was only truely seen, back in the kingdom of Ashoka (the political progenitor of east Asian Buddhism) in ancient history.

RMM | May 09, 2007 | 1:49PM

As a reitred IBM employee after thirty years, I am devastated by the change in IBM. When first hired IBM was like a second mother in that they took the best care of employees and employees worshiped the corporation and worked like it was a family business. Today an employee is just a commodity to be used up, discarded and a cheaper replacement hired. The focus is totally on the price of the stock as the CEO reports only to the board of directors! I meet with several managers from IBM that I worked with for breakfast and they were talking about the coming layoffs. Several of the managers commented that they just don't care any longer as they are tired of the business climate at IBM and have their years in, so they will just retire if it comes to that. These are good people with years of experience and at one time very dedicated employees! Very sorry circumstances.

Jim | May 09, 2007 | 2:21PM

As a reitred IBM employee after thirty years, I am devastated by the change in IBM. When first hired IBM was like a second mother in that they took the best care of employees and employees worshiped the corporation and worked like it was a family business. Today an employee is just a commodity to be used up, discarded and a cheaper replacement hired. The focus is totally on the price of the stock as the CEO reports only to the board of directors! I meet with several managers from IBM that I worked with for breakfast and they were talking about the coming layoffs. Several of the managers commented that they just don't care any longer as they are tired of the business climate at IBM and have their years in, so they will just retire if it comes to that. These are good people with years of experience and at one time very dedicated employees! Very sorry circumstances.

Jim | May 09, 2007 | 2:22PM

15 minute work stoppage is the beginning. We will increase the pain and yes we hope other IT workers organize and do the same thing. maybe it is time for a nationwide sickout or strike.

unionyes | May 09, 2007 | 2:40PM

Like it or not, we (Software Engineers etc.) are THE most overpaid, undeserving piece of SCUM. (or was it SCRUM?). Imagine this, a COP on the beat gets how much for putting his life on the line. ($35K/p.a.).

You think we are worth 3 times this guys life just because we went to Harvard or some crap school like that? Let us start getting paid what we deserve & the jobs that are going out will stop. If an Indian or Russian guy gets paid as much, then that is the real worth of the job that we are doing.

So Stop grumbling, move on ...

Sammy Sosa | May 09, 2007 | 3:24PM

I am another former IBMer who is very upset by this article and the comments about the state of the business from the current employees. I started with IBM in 1980 after completing grad school and worked in a branch office as an SE and sales rep for 16 years, leaving in 1996 to start a reasonably successful software company. I loved working for IBM and respected the quality of the people. Most of my co-workers were talented, hardworking professionals who could have been successful anywhere. They will rebound from this setback.

As far as comments made from our friends in India; I would like to point out that the outsourcing industry in India would be quite small if they were outsourcing jobs from Indian banks, Indian retailers or Indian telecommunications companies. In fact, I would offer my congratulations to any Indian software company that is able to build any original and successful software or computer product. It's a short list.

In the meantime, its sad to see a few executives send the industry that U.S. engineers, programmers and technicians built overseas just to gain a few points on Wall Street.

Steve | May 09, 2007 | 3:25PM

test

frank | May 09, 2007 | 3:29PM

[quote]IBM doesn't want our customers to know any of this. Tell me, can anyone here tell me 1 single good reason we don't let them know?[/quote]

I would imagine they don't tell the customers would be the fact that the price tag the customer pays remains the same. The level of service drops. I am sure once customers find out, they will jump ship or IBM will face mass law suits for not keeping their service agreement. If I was a company that had my IT outsourced to IBM and found out that they tossed all their employees to get slave labor would you want to associate with such a company? Could you even trust a company like that?

I can see companies wanting to get out of their contract anyway they can. Then IBM will have a bunch of people in India and China to lay off due to lack of contracts.

Whatever | May 09, 2007 | 3:34PM

It is unfortunate if its true. I still have doubts on the grounds of business sensibility that its going to happen.
Even if all these layoffs are going to be compensated by hirings in China or India, the sheer burden it is going to put in terms of knowledge transition, infrastructure and loss of skill is immesnse.
At the end of the day since US still generates maximum of its revenue, it makes sense to put their hand where their mouth is.

AK | May 09, 2007 | 4:08PM

I remember several years ago when people were starting to realize the problem of outsourcing. IBM had a big layoff. A couple months later they hired the same number back, but this time half of the jobs were overseas. So they made of big deal of all the Americans they had just hired as if IBM was loyal to American workers or something. So the public relations message was, "look at all the Americans we're hiring" when in reality it was a huge job loss for American workers.

Johnny E. | May 09, 2007 | 4:15PM

Unfortunately, some inspirations hit at the strangest time, and, so... I wrote the rest of the lyrics...

To the tune of "Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women" I wrote:

I once was happy and I had a good wife
I had a skillset could last me for life
We had Palmisano who went on a spree
He taught us 'bout CLAIMing and 3 P B Cs.

P B C's and CLAIMing and U-til-i-zation!
They'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane!
P B C's and CLAIMing and U-til-i-zation!
They'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane!

U-til-i-zation is imbalance in life
A tech is a worker who can feel the knife
That's Sam's LEANing, believe me his lack
Get fired on one end, Indian's take up the slack.

P B C's and CLAIMing and U-til-i-zation!
They'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane!
P B C's and CLAIMing and U-til-i-zation!
They'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane!

Write on the cross at the head of my grave
To LEAN and shareholders lies a wage slave
Take warning dear stranger, take warning dear friend.
They'll write in big letters these words at my end.

P B C's and CLAIMing and U-til-i-zation!
They'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane!
P B C's and CLAIMing and U-til-i-zation!
They'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane!

relieved greppie | May 09, 2007 | 4:17PM

Any outsourcing firm never ever reveals to his client the profit of a billable line item. So if management has the choice of profit on 10 hours of work at $100 an hour (example) for client and has the choice of cost for either $80 an hour for an experienced IBMer or $25 an hour for an inexperienced by highly aggressive newly minted Bangalore techie ... well, they make the obvious choice. This is profit talk, but the CLIENT NEVER KNOWS this difference.

What the client does see are delayed projects, missed service level agreement dates, promises made and broken, downtime, poor service, long phone calls to Bangalore, shoddy work, extended time with more billing at those profitable rates (called "porking the client"), etc,etc.

The experienced IBMer of course could have done the job faster, better, cheaper for the client but NOT for IBM. And in contrast to the ancient claim of Thomas Watson ("Spend alot of time making the client happy") ... the current mantra is "Spend alot of time making shareholders happy."

bob eisenhardt | May 09, 2007 | 4:21PM

Visit any US IBM shop. It's already been largely outsourced with H1B's and L1's. This has been going on for the last decade and is only going to accelerate. I,Cringely may be off in regard to his time table but I've no doubt IBM will move as quickly as possible to gut the US workforce. Maybe they'll pull a Haliburton and move their headquarters too.

That's why I find it amazing anyone is in any way surprised by this. Maybe the sheer numbers are shocking but IBM has been telegraphing this intent for years.

Tom | May 09, 2007 | 4:23PM

Well if this does happen the customers will know for sure when it hits CNN. They will then know that IBM is trying to make make more money off their clients by dropping service levels. I would think most clients would check their service agreements and contracts very carefully after such a move.

whatever | May 09, 2007 | 4:29PM

If this is true , This should be stoped by everyone including hte govt. I am an indian but I don't like to see thousands of americans being laidoff just to make profits.. Company should have social responsibility towards it's country. I wish this turns up a rumor.

MK | May 09, 2007 | 4:29PM

People, you're missing the point (and sarcasm) of my question. I KNOW why IBM doesn't tell the customer. I'm saying I can't think of a single good reason to lie and cover for IBM anymore when things go to the dogs....

fedup | May 09, 2007 | 4:33PM

Please don't misunderstand, I have no malice or ill-will towards overseas workers - they are just trying to make a living same as we all are. But I think if overseas companies were to send all their IT work to the US just because it was cheaper there, they would run into the same problems concerning time differential, language, experience, etc.... all at a decreased quality product to the customer, loss of jobs to the detriment of the local economy, just so a few uncaring selfish fat cats at the top who live by the motto "You can NEVER have enough!" increase their yearly pay from plain ridiculous to plain ludicrous.

fedup | May 09, 2007 | 4:36PM

[fedup] increase their yearly pay from plain ridiculous to plain ludicrous. [/fedup]

"Ridiculous pay isn't high enough! We have to go to... Ludicrous Pay!"

"But, sir, the company hasn't been QA'd for that!"

"What's wrong, Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?"

relieved greppie | May 09, 2007 | 5:06PM

Hubby works for IBM almost 30 years now. Yes, it's restructuring some things, in a positive way, IMHO. And, yes, the pension plan is restructuring. I wish they had done the restructure YEARS ago, new plan more favorable IMHO.

Dispatch tried using outsourcing for their calls and it bombed. We're back to Americans. It's bad enough that our phone rings so often for calls, but when I couldn't even understand their English, it was too much for this writer.

Only my thoughts and opinions, not right, not wrong and we've all got 'em. KC -- USA

Kay Carrolle | May 09, 2007 | 5:11PM

So who is the bigger idiot Cringley or people who buy into this ludicrous rumor. This article is a step (a small one) above big foot sitings. Listen I have to run a flying saucer just landed in my back yard and Cringley is getting off of it. Wait big foot is getting off with him I am sure this will be his next article!!

Signed Yes idiots can be gainfully employed, and there IS a sucker born every minute!

Will | May 09, 2007 | 5:28PM

RE Will:

"...above big foot sitings." - HUH?!?!?!???
"Listen I have to run a flying saucer...." - HUH??!?!?!???
No wonder IBM is sending all the jobs to India / China. Thanks for clarifying, Will! ;-]

India's Business Machine | May 09, 2007 | 6:10PM

Sorry about your ignorance Will, but he's dead on on this one. I'm one of those who just got the boot after 16 years of loyal service. Trust me on this one buddy, the "talent" that is being brought in to replace the US employees is like hiring a landscape guy to remove your brian tumor. Everything he says is true. Most of the customers who have contracts with IBM have NO IDEA that their support is being transferred offshore and when they find out, they WILL file Breach of Contract suits over it. The language barrier is the least of the problem. The offshore techinical abilities are ludicrous, you do get what you pay for. And he's also right about Sam P and his cronies getting rich off of it, and they will sail off into the sunset fat dumb and rich as ever.

BigBlueTitanic | May 09, 2007 | 6:21PM

once worked for a small company (bank). new CEO comes in and announces outsourcing of IT plans within a year. Only about 35 in IT group. 4 of our top IT staff left in less than a month with the rest looking for new jobs. after 4th one left, the CEO resigned. He new the company was dead if 3 more left.
Replicate this with IBM and it'll be checkmate.

henry | May 09, 2007 | 6:27PM

There is another way: Bad publicity. Now I'm not a fan of FOX NEWS, but their spin is beautiful. Make it *personal*. Accuse Sammy of being "Unamerican", "selling out America", "betraying America" and doing more damage to America than a certain guy hiding in a cave in Pakistan. I'm talking pictures, web sites, abuse for Sammy when he arrives at airports. Get organized and get on the media. You're reaching out to Joe Sixpack, and forget the union spin, because Joe doesn't like unions. One cause at a time. The same with 15 minute sit downs: Sammy is going to fire you all anyway so that will 'only steel his resolve'. Make Sammy the most hated man in America. Come up with a nasty 'I sold out America' logo and stick it next to the IBM Logo. Make outsourcing and the H visa farce so unpopular that the temples in Joe's forehead throb with anger, and his Congressman feels it. Only when his Congressman feels it (and or IBM investors see their shareprice going south) will this be stopped. You have to make Sammy and his sleazoids management so unpopular he backs off, by threat of investor or those congressman finally looking after the people who elected them, not the corporations that give them suitcases of cash.


In other words: THINK!

Jace | May 09, 2007 | 6:32PM

this is how you solve it:
two weeks from now (around May 26) you have to decide on 10 people who you can trust to represent you and knows how to run a company. After that's decided, everyone stops working and demand to talk to the board of directors. Ask Board of directors to fire all executive mgt. and take their place. Go back to work. Slowly bring back 80% of jobs.

bob | May 09, 2007 | 6:58PM

Went thru this with another "family oriented" and corporate Icon "Motorola" As I see it from a senior mgmt position our precept was to out source manufacturing, parts suppliers and labor to the cheapest location on earth. We did so and now Motorola is a shadow of what it used to be. Selling off sectors to LLC's, which in turn rob the pension plan and decrease benefits all the while using these cheap resources to produce inferior and substandard products. IBM should learn from Motorola, but it won't, as the only issue is the profit margin and subsequent stock increse for the short term and a long term "Value of Operation" with it's customers.
Let's face the reality, there is a fraternity of CEO's that jump from company to company with the only intention of making their profit margins well enough to get a big Bonus, then move around the tech table and do the same to another company.
Someone said it earlier: Let's outsource CEO's CFO's and CTO's and see if their views change...they won't because you can't out source
these positions..They can only outsource us. God is watching.

Charles | May 09, 2007 | 7:07PM

All of us that are victims of this are going to better off. I have had so many inteviews since last week I was shocked. We'll make more money and be much happier. New challenges, more exitement, better treament in smaller companies. I was so upset at first, now I am actually happy about it. Being in the first round in RTP means less competition!

Amy | May 09, 2007 | 7:33PM

there was comment that John Akers was right . There is a lot comment about mismanagement Gertner rule etc.

John Akers almost killed IBM . when he left IBM had about 400000 employees in US and most of the revenues came from hardware .


Today it is a much leaner company and for a company of its size it is surprisingly agile and adaptive
Gertner saved IBM from near death and Palmisano is carrying on where Gertner left over.

Job loss is a highly emotive issue and whatever we say about the economy and unemployment rate etc, for a fired employee the unemployment rate is 100%

However the fact is outsourcing is here to stay. What IBM and everybody else is doing is responding to challenges posed by IT companies from outside USA who are growing revenues by 30 % every year and taking business from IBM , EDS etc. IBM and others are being told by its clients to offshore the IT work if they want more business .

IBM and Accenture and others are responding to this challenge by growing their employee base in low cost countries as well focussing on higher value added consulting in their core market in US.

It IBM and others does not adapt they will have the same fate as big 3 automakers in detroit. In 50's when toyota and honda came in everyone laughed at their quality and looks ( very similar to comments directed at Indian programmers now "You are not very good " , 'the quality is a nightmare"etc.) then in 70's when the oil crisis hit the value proposition of Camry and civic was apparent to everyone. and now of course Toyota is the largest automaker of the world , So the question is simple do you want IBM to behave like GM or do you want IBM to be as nimble as toyata . Do you want a lean IBM or do you want a dead IBM .

just like that | May 09, 2007 | 7:33PM

Why do all of my posts disappear? I was trying to buck up fellow casualties of this LEAN objective. But they always disappear almost instantly. What am I doing wrong? I am looking to commiserate with my fellow ex-coworkers.

Amy | May 09, 2007 | 7:49PM

Why do all of my posts disappear? I was trying to buck up fellow casualties of this LEAN objective. But they always disappear almost instantly. What am I doing wrong? I am looking to commiserate with my fellow ex-coworkers.

Amy | May 09, 2007 | 7:50PM

this reminds me off a piece in the NYTimes, regarding presidents who actually fought in wars being peace-presidents. in the same manner, most posters clamoring for offshoring and coldly dismissing threats of employment probably have never been unemployed, hungry, homeless, etc.

All CEOs considering massive job liquidations, therefore, should be required, by force if necessary, to live a year on the street, no home, no food, no job. their eyes would certainly be opened, hopefully creating an economy where job loss, like war, would be viewed as a last, desperate, resort.

John | May 09, 2007 | 7:51PM

To just like that,

Oh, now it's the clients fault... how convenient!

First, they told us we need more technology people so they lie to congress to bring H1 folks over. Then, they tell us to train them so that we offshore and so they can work on the boring stuff and we can do the interesting work. Then, they tell us they are better than us. After that, the reason is because we're costing too much. And now, the excuse is because the client says so. I see....

Please let us know when they think of another excuse.

kevin | May 09, 2007 | 7:59PM

Hey JustLikeThat...you say "What IBM and everybody else is doing is responding to challenges posed by IT companies from outside USA who are growing revenues by 30 % every year and taking business from IBM "

That is the same sad short term state of mind the entire management structure of this country is living under. A fad is a fad is a fad, and outsourcing/offshoring is a fad. No one seems to give a damn about long term security anymore. It's all about instant gratification and it is going to be the death of us.

BigBlueTitanic | May 09, 2007 | 8:24PM

By the looks of all the spelling errors in these comments, it's no wonder so many people are concerned about their future. You should be!

English 101 | May 09, 2007 | 8:48PM

I can fix this...

Get Al Sharpton a job at IBM and when they select him for a Resource Action, sit back and watch the fun !!

Go Rev Al !!

Iman | May 09, 2007 | 8:54PM

I'm probably older than most that are posting here, so I remember when companies valued their "American made" products and laborers. This is no longer true. It's all about making more money than the CEO's and stock holders will ever need and to Hell with our Country and Citizens.

It's time to raise Hell and let your politicians know just how you feel.

We have already lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs, and some people actually enjoy working at those jobs and some, well that's about all they could get....now they are gone!

This is a mess, and if you think it's ok than you too are a problem. What future do you think you will have, or your kids and grandkids?

Start yelling and screaming, till Washington goes deaf from your voices!

Bobc | May 09, 2007 | 9:09PM

FYI. It's being reported the next round of mass layoffs (resource action) is May 24th.

http://www.allianceibm.org/jobcutstatusandcomments.php

i81too | May 09, 2007 | 9:28PM

As a survivor of the lean process, it all seems to be unfortunately true, teams were all reduced by 50%, work was at the same level, and if you dont like it, leave. Not pretty for the survivors. One must remember the savings and its effects on stock prices, and short term profits. 150,000 workers, and estimating $40,000 annual salary equates to $6 BILLION dollars annualy. Perhaps more, if you include benefits. $6 BILLION dollars would make all CEOs drool. So the probability is that this is what is going to happen. Not important that IBM ceases to exist, "It's the Short Term Profits Stupid."
If anyone remembers the Satire of AT&T laying off 120% of their employees, Some one took that to heart at IBM

John | May 09, 2007 | 9:34PM

Wikipedia on IBM and Palmisano says nothing bad at all about this. The IBM entry doesn't even mention outsourcing or layoffs once! Not a word of criticism!!! Can someone, keeping to the Wikipedia rules about sounding impartial, update this please?


Also Palmisano's entry is missing a photo. The editors are asking for a new photo to be submitted. I thought we could use this one:
http://www.almaden.ibm.com/u/mohan/MohanSamShankerIndiaIBMGlobalBriefingJune2006.JPG

Sam the Assassin | May 09, 2007 | 9:35PM

Alright, layoffs always are lousy, but above all the hysteria please at least try to put something factual in the article. How could IBM be laying off 150,000 people in IGS in the US when IBM doesn't even have but about 100,000 people in the US in all of its divisions, with IGS being half of the company? Sheesh, at least try to write something AFTER the drugs have worn off. This is like Barack Obama and the "12000" tornado deaths last week. Maybe you're tired like Brack said he was.

Heywood Jablomue | May 09, 2007 | 9:38PM

To the Indians complaining about "racist Indian remarks", you have a valid understandable point, as long as...

You don't make similar RACIST ANTI-AMERICAN COMMENTS such as:
1 Indians are better engineers than Americans. Of course in reality, there are a spectrum of talent from genius to horrible in any population, American or Indian. The offshoring is due to labor arbitrage, not Indian superiority in engineering. Watch Vietnam or whatever other country claim Indians suck when Indian CEOs start outsourcing out of India.
2 Americans aren't intelligent, justifying it with some National test score. Newsflash: Public education is compulsory in the USA, whereas in India many kids are child laborers. Comparing the elite Indians that actually get to go to school & take a standardized test, with the whole USA, is disingenuous.

NoMamesBuey | May 09, 2007 | 9:58PM

People on here are knocking unions.

HOWEVER, take a step back & look at the American occupations that are relatively safe from extreme foreign competition & unfair work conditions

Occupations like school psychologists, physicians, lawyers, etc ARE UNIONIZED. They aren't called such, due to American right-wing stigma of the word "union", but their professional society certification process to practice in the profession prevent
1 extreme foreign competition
2 unfair working conditions by management (eg 70 hr weeks)
3 age discrimination at age 40+ if God fobid one becomes unemployed

I don't care if it's called a "union" or "professional certification", knowledge workers NEED something like this to advocate their interests. Unchecked, unregulated capitalism is not going to treat workers fairly on its own. Just look at 1900 era USA with child labor 80 hr work weeks.

NoMamesBuey | May 09, 2007 | 10:05PM

I am also sick of those who advocate SOME worker protections for American as
1 protectionist
2 lazy Americans
3 racist against H1B workers

From what I've read no other countries' governments actually advocate AGAINST their own workers' rights such as the USA.

A commenter on this board mentioned how an American tried to get a work visa to work in India & was rejected by the Indian embassy

Japan doesn't even let their own Korean-Japanese 3rd generations become full citizens. That is morally wrong, but my point is if they don't do that, they won't encourage offshoring or H1B visas anytime soon.

The EU doesn't allow such severe outsourcing.

I will laugh when
1 Indian CEOs offshore to Vietnam
2 Indians criticize #1, which hurts the just-forming Indian middle class
3 Vietnamese describe #2 as Indians' racism against Vietnamese

Hypocrisy is unfortunately widespread in every country these days.

NoMamesBuey | May 09, 2007 | 10:14PM

I called this 2 years ago, I also left IBM voluntarily because I saw the writing on the wall. We (myself and a number of other global services employees) have been pointing out that Sr. Mgt at IBM have been ridiculously out of touch for a very long time now, worse they neuter their people and middle managers so that logical decisions cannot be made. Everything that I read in the article is unfortunately dead on, maybe without regard to the numbers, but the attitudes of Mgt were conveyed perfectly. Underbid everyone, be unable to deliver, be unable to make a profit, then answer those two issues by cutting heads, firing people and rehiring them at half what they were paying AND expect them to perform the same way. Weasel things into the contract that should be common sense for delivering a given service and then charge extra for them. For the delivery aspect, it's easy enough to go to a manpower company and throw "bodies" at it, which essentially cuts your staff again, at least short term since now the experienced people are training people that don't know a hard drive from a jelly donut and are all seemingly on work release programs from the county jail.

The plan doesn't work, it hasn't for some time now. Then people like myself who are creative and can get things done with free tools and ingenuity are forbidden to accomplish the goal requested because I didn't use IBM specific applications that could be charged to the customer. So in the end things like the customer having to pay for a tremendous amount of man hours to complete the job that could have been completed in 1/4 the time using either the free tools, or in 1/2 the time using the usually cumbersome and ineffective IBM tools. The company and it's management is a joke at this point. I'm sorry to say, but they've taken a division that was booming 4-5 years ago and driven it right into the gound. Never have I seen such perfect examples of spending 10 bucks to save a quarter in my entire life. Sad indeed.

Former Tech Wiz | May 09, 2007 | 10:28PM

> 150,000


Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you skimmed through the other 900 comments before you added your own, you might have seen this was discussed earlier. So Bob will have a list of references on his next article. Doesn't change the crux of what he is saying, and the vast majority of posters here agree. How about a little focus on the issue? Same to the dork criticizing people's English.

Jace | May 09, 2007 | 10:32PM

IBM U.S. customers: Will you find peace of mind knowing that someone thousands of miles away with no loyalty to the U.S. will have full read/write access to your critical business applications and data as they learn on the job, trained by sacrificial U.S. lambs, and using procedures written by lame duck employees bitter at what's being done to them?

steve | May 09, 2007 | 10:52PM

The numbers are wrong, the numbers are wrong! Everything is false! All the 900+ postings don't matter!

shill | May 09, 2007 | 10:58PM

There are no layoffs happening. The sweat shop techies and low level managers spread lies and blasphemy. My secret service will root them out and whip them with tails of a 1,000 sacred cows! Death to the disgruntled U.S. technician infidels! Praise glorious leader Sam Palmisano and his stock options! alelelelelelelelelele!

IBM LEAN Prime Minister | May 09, 2007 | 11:11PM

Thanks for helping me to define just how stupid my management is (at an IBM Global Services competitor). If IBM is "so bad" lets look at how some of IBM competition is reacting to wild speculation of the pulpit; my management could not wait to forward the pulpit story around the corporate email management ranks as if it was already a fact. By the time it got to me, repeated over and over again, some in management thought that IBM was throwing in the towel on some of the contracts that both my company and IGS are bidding on. Lets get real! Even if IBM lays off say 40,000 employees, that still leaves over 80,000 plus in IGS.... Gee, that is still 10 TIMES BIGGER than my company. IBM did not go away in 1991 and it sure isn't going away in 2007 or 2008... And one other major overlooked item; Stockholders/Wall Street seem to like what IBM is doing, which strangely enough is 1000's of corporate customers too. Under the covers it still may be smoke and mirrors, but I doubt that market share of consulting services is going to change one bit. And for my coworkers, PULPIT DOES NOT EQUATE TO PROPHET. Everyone needs to quit looking at IBM and start looking in their own backyard; Although my company is smaller and thinks it is better, its not as well run as IBM, even on IBM's worse day.

The ego and arrogance of IBM's competition who buy into the Cringley dribble are going to get slaughtered soon enough. IBM makes costly mistakes, but it always fixes the company: Big stockholders know that, smart corporations know that, intelligent IT professionals know that. Laugh now.... Hope you enjoy your own trip to the unemployment line later!

Pulpit and BS: Is there a difference? It sounds the same to me.

4mer IGS but realistic | May 09, 2007 | 11:20PM

4mer IGS but realistic -

Why are you former IBM-IGS? Join back up if you believe in IBM.

IBMer | May 09, 2007 | 11:32PM

Telling that an obvious editorial hit piece is accompanied by a subordinate link to a link soliciting the organization of IBM office workers into a union...

Wyle E Coyote | May 09, 2007 | 11:40PM

"4mer IGS but realistic" makes no sense. He (I'll pretend for a moment no woman could be that obnoxious) rants about how dumb his IGS competitor is, and has nothing but praise for IBM and how they always put things right and can't be killed off no matter what!


So, dude, why did you leave? No. This doesn't make sense. I smell a shill. I'd guess it was Sam, but the spelling is impeccable.

Jace | May 09, 2007 | 11:42PM

Jace, scroll up and look at posts made May 5 - 6, you'll see someone who makes statements very similar to "4mer IGS but realistic".

steve | May 10, 2007 | 12:03AM

If IBM GS is so far above the competition and superior, then could someone tell me why Sprint (not exactly a tiny company) cancelled many of their contracts, rehired hundreds of people they had "outsourced" to IBM, and sued IBM for breach of contract awhile back?

So, I'm sure someone will counter that with the fact that Sprint recently lost a big government contract to AT&T and others for $20 billion. Right, they did. They'll find out just what they paid for soon enough.

andanother | May 10, 2007 | 12:11AM

The CEO Creed:

I pledge allegiance, to the DOLLAR,
and all the perks for which it stands:
1 vision, which makes me God,
Untouchable, with liberty and justice for nobody but ME.

I think they start each board meeting with this prayer. Since they ARE deeply religious people, followers of the worlds third major religion.
1) Chrisianity
2) Islam
3) Money

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 12:19AM

Make the Christianity, lest anyone start beating me up about my misstyped error.... :)

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 12:21AM

Nice pledge, fedup. You might add a line that says "Government by the Corporations, for the Corporations and of the Corporations"


Can someone get a reporter to ask George W. at a press conference if he supports "IBM CEO Sam Palmisano firing 150,000 :-) American and replacing them with Indians and Chinese?"

Jace | May 10, 2007 | 1:13AM

Memo To All IBM Employees;

Dear Employee:

As a result of the reduction of money budgeted for department areas, we are forced to cut down on our number of personnel. Under this plan, older employees will be asked to take early retirement, thus permitting the retention of younger people who represent our future. Therefore, a program to phase out older personnel by the end of the current fiscal year, via retirement, will be placed into effect immediately.

This program will be known as SLAP (Sever Late-Aged Personnel). Employees who are SLAPPED will be given the opportunity to look for jobs outside the company.

SLAPPED employees can request a review of their employment records before actual retirement takes place. This review phase of the program is called SCREW.

SCREW (Survey of Capabilities of Retired Early Workers). All employees who have been SLAPPED and SCREWED may file an appeal with upper management.

This appeal is called SHAFT (Study by Higher Authority Following Termination).

Under the terms of the new policy, an employee may be SLAPPED once, SCREWED twice, but may be SHAFTED as many times as the company deems appropriate.

If an employee follows the above procedure, he/she will be entitled to get: HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel's Early Severance) or CLAP (Combined Lump sum Assistance Payment).

As HERPES and CLAP are considered benefit plans, any employee who has received HERPES or CLAP will no longer be SLAPPED or SCREWED by the company.

Management wishes to assure the younger employees who remain on board that the company will continue its policy of training employees through our:

Special High Intensity Training (SHIT). We take pride in the amount of SHIT our employees receive. We have given our employees more SHIT than any company in this area. If any employee feels they do not receive enough SHIT on the job, see your immediate supervisor.

Your supervisor is specially trained to make sure you receive all the SHIT you can stand.

And, once again, thanks for all your years of service with us.

IBM Employee | May 10, 2007 | 5:24AM

Good news for indians and chinees.

cheers

candy | May 10, 2007 | 6:33AM

Be honest, I live in one other country that Big Blue has facilities, I can tell you that when the mother land transfers business down, just give us an imaging of investments but it is only illusion because they down here hire vendors with slavery salaries, and this messed up the salary market, and professionals that have been spent years and money upgrading their careers appear now on queue of unemployed qualified workers. We cannot find well paid job because of flood of sub employed works. Like over there, down here we are facing the same problem, more and more foreigners companies are moving to overseas, because of these low salaries, guess what ?? there worker in US that had a salary (monthly) about US$4,000.00 down here a vendor will receive US$400,00 (gross not wet). Is or isn’t a slavery salary?

Brian Macferson | May 10, 2007 | 8:18AM

Has IBM had any comments about this supposed planned firing of 150,000 employees?
If so what comment?
If not, why not?

bill | May 10, 2007 | 8:18AM

This is muck-raking yellow journalism. Spare me the inaccuracies.

I suppose this makes me evil.

tommy boy | May 10, 2007 | 8:22AM

For FedUp: Remember Mel Brook's SILENT MOVIE, and the morning prayer by the executives of ENGULF & DEVOUR......

4mer IBMer - I do hope you enjoy the financial pleasures of life when YOUR job is outsourced someday.

Cheaper - Faster - Better is a myth. No stock price has ever gone up directly because of outsourcing. It has publicity impact, nothing more or less.

And outsourced IT generally equates to
Expensive - Slower - Worse.

reisen55 | May 10, 2007 | 8:28AM

we have been personally told by management that moving to India would benefit us and to look for other jobs externally.

jd | May 10, 2007 | 9:28AM

Inaccuracies? My mom has been there as long as I can remember and is worried about her position, her back-up has just been released after 35 years! hmm, doesnt sound like an inaccuracy to me.....And how does one find another job when they have a high scool education and have been with Global services since? She know how to do her job and do it well, but these days her job would require a degree, so not going to be easy to find something else, so I wish for her sake that it were it inacurracies, but not looking like such!!!!

RM2447 | May 10, 2007 | 10:10AM

It's amazing simply amazing, it shows the world that evil exists in all matters. Even in a large corporation. Yes the executives will walk away with a large pay out of money, much which most of the folks who are the front line will have nothing. Bad business and unwise decisions by the leaders of any corpation lead to this. Prephaps more leaders should be reading the book of Proverbs from the Bible.

Sam | May 10, 2007 | 10:20AM

Lifer_no_more posted:

Officer No. of Shares $ Value
S.J. Palmisano 404,669 @ $103 = $41,680,907
D. T. Elix 134,427 @ $103 = $13,845,981
M. Loughridge 88,936 @ $103 = $9,160,408
N.M. Donofrio 188,627 @ $103 = $19,428,581

Roughly $85 million for just 4 guys.

Just a little idle dreaming here.... let's see, let the poor guys keep $10 million apiece, (I don't want their standard of living to go so low that their poor daughters won't be be on Paris Hilton's Fave 5 list anymore), that still leaves $45 million, divide that by, say, $45,000 yearly salary for some of the people being laid off and presto: There's 1,000 of your 1,300 laid off workers that still have jobs, and guess what: Didn't cut into company profits/wall st 1 tiny little bit....
I understand moves a company makes to improve profits, etc, but the problem with large corps today is that the profits all go into the pockets of a few. Tell me, Mr. AT&T Whitacre, just how much would your standard of living suffer if your $158 million retirement package was reduced to $15.8 million, with the rest going back into retaining workers, restoring lost benefits, etc...? When is enough enough?

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 10:54AM


My wife has been with these evil doers for ten years and everything that you have written is true and quite possibly sugar coated. The reaming people have it so bad that sometimes we pray that she will be the next one laid off. I worked in the corporate and private sector and I can tell you I would not have lasted 5 minutes if I did my job like the management crew at IBM. I am shocked daily at what goes on in this company. Everybody run cause big blue is gonna blow. Blow hard!
t

t | May 10, 2007 | 11:02AM

Although I place little faith in this article given it was written by an on-line reporter with no facts or proof to back up his claims, the content of the article does not surprise me. What does surprise me is the number of IBM'ers or ex-IBM'ers that immediately turn on their company when things look bleak. Mr. Gerstner brought us back from the brink of extinction. Although people didn't like the lay-offs/job actions he completed, it was necessary to keep big Blue "dancing". Although I have only been here for 7 years, maybe still a little green, I still believe that the guys and gals at the top are there for a reason. They have proven themselves time and time again. I can't fault them for making mistakes along the way as I know I have made many. I only hope that this, in a seemingly time of need, we IBM'ers can remain focussed on the job at hand---Servicing our customers!--- and let the conjecture, heresay and on-line chatting continue without impacting what IBM PAYS us to do - Work.
May I remind you of our Values:
*Dedication to Every Client's Success
*Innovation that Matters ? for our company and the world
*Trust and Personal Responsibility in all Relationships

Let's not forget that these values are what seperate us from everyone else.

Nick K | May 10, 2007 | 11:17AM

Just make sure they get rid of Rob Hilgert--he's definitely dead weight.

AB | May 10, 2007 | 11:39AM

My company has been a long term customer with IBMGS and have undergone a number of transitions and none for the better.

The selling of services that are agreed to contractually by IBMGS Sales/Mgmt but not agreed to or supported by IBMGS support staff cause massive problems. The satifaction is very low and are moving to other companies to fill the need.

Nick, the values you list... 2 of the 3 do not show as true to customers.
*Dedication to Every Client's Success
*Trust and Personal Responsibility in all Relationships

Hopefully the company will wake up before it is to late for it in total.

Andrew | May 10, 2007 | 11:51AM

I am right in the middle of what this is doing to the U. S. workers. Maybe Sam (and he is not the only corp exec) needs to take a step back and see the harm he is imposing on the U.S. economy and so many people. I stood behind this company, now I just do what I can to take what I can get and build my skills. I don't care about IBM anymore. When you have a company who's employees don't care, you have a failing company. It may take a while but it will happen unless something changes. Sam has been the worst thing to happen to IBM. I know of 14 people all in the same building who got their walking papers within the past week. Nice job Sam. Way to be MEAN AND LEAN.

IBM-employee | May 10, 2007 | 12:09PM

To Nick:

Yes, you said it perfectly: Remind us of OUR values. However, those values do not apply at the top. Just us worker bees. The values that apply at the TOP are the $85 million split among 4 people, while thousands making $40,000 year are laid off, have severance packages & pensions taken away, benefits continually cut, etc...
Do you even have a CLUE as to what #3 MEANS????

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 12:11PM

IBM and IBM customers (yes customers) authorized moving work to low cost countries. We as consumers can take control, but most of us are too contented in our little world to take action.
1. Call IBM customers (like Disney), and tell them if they do not stop doing business with IBM, you will not support their business.
2. Call your political and government representatives (at all levels), and tell them to stop all contracts with IBM, and give those contracts to businesses that support job creation, not job erosion.
3. Last but not least,stop purchasing products and services from IBM and IBM subsidiaries.

Could someone provide a list of IBM subsidiaries and customers, so we could stop supporting those businesses?

Also with respect to the previous "*Trust and Personal Responsibility in all Relationships" comment, the LEAN initiative is so covert, that trust at IBM is a misnomer. Basically, it's each man for himself, and at the end of the day, low morale means low productivity, less profits, and less millions for Palmisano and his circle of friends.

F.A. | May 10, 2007 | 12:17PM

This isn't just the beginning of the end for IBM (and it's US staff) but it's also the beginning of the demise of the US---and the standard of living for its population. Any and all transferable jobs will be moved somewhere cheaper--and the "Great US of A" will become nothing more than a delapidated 2nd world country....Here's to selling our future and that of our children right down the drain.

Zak | May 10, 2007 | 12:47PM

IBM faces two issues on this: (1) the legal issues of doing such a massive layoff, and (2) the political issues with customers and employees alike. Who is going to want to work for a company that is going to do this kind of thing? Not many, if anyone at all.


However, this really goes back to what Corporate America is all about - stock prices. Pretty much every company out there currently evaluates themselves based on their Stock Price - (i) how does it compare to 1 year ago? (ii) how will it compare to one year from now? (iii) how can we make 1 year from now look better than today? Additionally, they do not usually look out more than 5 years - so they have no long term vision for the company or its projects.


This view is too short-sighted and will ultimately kill business. Companies are selling assets only to rent them again so they can charge it to the client differently and cook the books; this is not only bad business for the long term, but also raises questions of ethics, etc.


This round of LEAN from IBM is likely only the first of many companies to come. Though it is interesting that you like it to off-shoring work at a time when many companies are bring work back after having off-shored the work and decided that (a) the quality was not good enough, (b) they were not getting their money out of it, and (c) they were losing customers on account of it.

TemporalBeing | May 10, 2007 | 1:25PM

Food for thought.. Indian companies are looking at places like Vietnam and Philippines to further cut cost. I won't be surprised if in 5 years Indians start loosing their jobs because salaries in India are slowing becoming on par to US and Europe. Moral of the story.. Each one of us has to figure how to remain competitive. By the way 60+% of IBM revenue if from out of US.

Shine | May 10, 2007 | 1:28PM

This IS NOT the same IBM that I joined in 1963. Having been with them for nearly 22 years, I left in the early 80's to try a startup; but I considered IBM my "corporate mother", having learned much there, having seen many examples of how to do things right, having received lots of excellent technical and managerial training. But most of all, learned "respect for the individual".

I saw things starting to change in the 80's. Reagan-nomics, so to speak. The company was becoming one beholden to Wall Street, not its employees and customers. And the company has gotten meaner and uglier over the years. Quality has suffered. The IBM name no longer is synonymous with the biggest and best.

It's a shame. I defended IBM for many years, but no more. It's killing itself .. and it's probably about time, too.

Tom Longman | May 10, 2007 | 1:29PM

Everyone inside IBM knows the IBM pyramid is ridiculously steep. Way too many managers. Way too many levels.

To fix this situation - the managers simply need to reduce all those levels and flatten the pyramid - by firing managers.

Well THAT ain't gonna happen folks.

phoenix ibm | May 10, 2007 | 2:33PM

I would like to comment on the cost of living in India.It is true that basic necessities like food and shelter would be cheaper in India.But products of the global economy like a laptop,car,sports shoes,electronic items ets would be costlier in India(after converting the costs to a common currency).This despite the fact that we earn many times lesser than you people.For example to buy a good laptop I will spend my complete salary for two months.I would be a fraction of a month's salary for a software engineer in US.To buy a video ipod I would have to spend half my monthly salary.For someone like me buying a car would be an ambition of a life time. But you people can buy a car anytime.It is an unfair world.

Karthik-from India | May 10, 2007 | 2:45PM

Hi,
I am a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Radio National News) where I cover the workplace for our listeners across Canada and in the US.
I would love to hear directly from someone working inside IBM about PROJECT LEAN (this is the humourous segment of my post as per Ground Rule #3.) You can respond via this email - frank_koller@cbc.ca - and then if we can create a comfort zone, we could speak privately by phone.
thanks
Frank

Frank Koller | May 10, 2007 | 2:48PM

Dear Karthik from India
It is an unfair world and if you feel you are getting the short end of the stick you can (a) demand higher wages or (b) move to America where you can be employed at higher wages and be outsourced as being too expensive anyway.

I have no sympathy for you. Not every American drives a sports car, not every American lives in a beautiful house, lives in great wealth, etc.

Go bleed in your country, be grateful for the blessings of life and do not expect IBM to be faithful to YOU for any long time either.

There are millions of Chinese workers just waiting for YOUR job too.

bob eisenhardt | May 10, 2007 | 3:01PM

Karthik -
I do sympathize with you, but only to a point. 150 years ago, before the Internet, before unions, before globalization - this country was just the same. Most people working hard just to put food on the table. We did not have the standard of living we enjoy today.

But no multi-national corporation came and bailed us out. We did not sit around and cry "unfair". We got to the level we are at by hard work, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.

If only some big corporation had come in from another country and given us all of their jobs.

Again, I wish you the best, but don't sit around expecting it to be handed to you on a platter. Contrary to what you think, many Americans do not expect that, either. What WE expect is that when the company & its employees, suffer, the CEO's also suffer. When the company & its CEO's reap millions, the employees will also benefit.

Instead, it works like this. When the company is suffering, the employees get the shaft, and the CEO's reap millions. When the company is profitable, the employees get the shaft, and the CEO's reap millions.

You will find this all out in due time. Best of Luck.

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 3:11PM

On the matter of project LEAN... We were told that it was the management's feeling that support organizations had been over-delivering (haha), thus the SLA's would be lowered. Lower cost, not quality work is the measuring factor. Offshore resources have proven to be severely sub-standard on any engagement I have been on, and heard of. US talent continues to pick up the slack and fix the garbage that hits our shores. The massive lay-offs are certainly in the works and started with any and all supplemental employees and most US contractors with expiring contracts. Next came full-timers, and I did hear that some execs are also targets.

Another IBMmer | May 10, 2007 | 3:11PM

This is happening. I have gotten word everyday of another person gone on our account...AMEX. We are down to the point that if someone is on vacation & another calls in sick we are lucky to get a toilet break never mind a lunch...and on a 12hr shift....well , it sucks.

Lean may work when building widget's on an assemblyline, but from an computer operations standpoint we are 'firefighters' it's boredom with panic mixed in here and there. If I save one machine from going down or get one running better because I killed some user's CPU sucking job I saved my customer ALOT. Our production machines cost 100's of 1,000's of dollar's in lost processing time. The fines to IBM are huge for an un-scheduled outage. But my $48k pay is to much for them???? 1 save a year from an unsceduled outage would pay for my whole team!

I do believe that we Americans are the cause of most of this countries issues. Why do a couple of 30yr old people that do not plan on having a family feel the need to buy a 3,500sq ft home? Why do parents think that their 16yr old needs a new BMW to go the school in? We want it all, and we want it now.....we will pay for it later. Most of us live beyond our means...I am no exception. We have driven this economy for decades, we have gone from the most saving nation to the largest debtor nation in the world. With 3 teenagers in the house and the Wife working day's and me nights, it is very stressful to have to wonder month after month, year after year if you are going to be next on the list. My manager has already said that he would have to put names in a hat to see who gets let-go as all the 'fat' has been trimmed.

As Danny Glover liked to say to " I'm getting to old for this shit'.

need my job | May 10, 2007 | 3:18PM

This is happening. I have gotten word everyday of another person gone on our account...AMEX. We are down to the point that if someone is on vacation & another calls in sick we are lucky to get a toilet break never mind a lunch...and on a 12hr shift....well , it sucks.

Lean may work when building widget's on an assemblyline, but from an computer operations standpoint we are 'firefighters' it's boredom with panic mixed in here and there. If I save one machine from going down or get one running better because I killed some user's CPU sucking job I saved my customer ALOT. Our production machines cost 100's of 1,000's of dollar's in lost processing time. The fines to IBM are huge for an un-scheduled outage. But my $48k pay is to much for them???? 1 save a year from an unsceduled outage would pay for my whole team!

I do believe that we Americans are the cause of most of this countries issues. Why do a couple of 30yr old people that do not plan on having a family feel the need to buy a 3,500sq ft home? Why do parents think that their 16yr old needs a new BMW to go the school in? We want it all, and we want it now.....we will pay for it later. Most of us live beyond our means...I am no exception. We have driven this economy for decades, we have gone from the most saving nation to the largest debtor nation in the world. With 3 teenagers in the house and the Wife working day's and me nights, it is very stressful to have to wonder month after month, year after year if you are going to be next on the list. My manager has already said that he would have to put names in a hat to see who gets let-go as all the 'fat' has been trimmed.

As Danny Glover liked to say to " I'm getting to old for this shit'.

need my job | May 10, 2007 | 3:19PM

@bob eisenhardt
@fedup

I only want to clear the misconception you people have-that everything is very cheap in India so we settle for lesser wages and take up your jobs.
The reason our wages are less because our necessities are less and many things which are bare necessities for you ,like a car, is a luxuary for us.

Karthik-from India | May 10, 2007 | 3:20PM

Why this outcry..
What should IBM do then?
Increase the value of the product and services?
I think this is just part of globalization. Come on guys.. we can not stop invention and once we invent then send it off to cheaper manufacturer. Whats wrong with it?
Cursing chinese,indian,east europeans is not going to solve the ouflow. We MUSt take this in positive way.

IBM Global Services | May 10, 2007 | 3:22PM

What do you expect from a company that allied itself with Nazi Germany?

http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/

Disgruntled | May 10, 2007 | 3:25PM

Whats wrong in sending jobs to MEico,China,India and East Euope?

Do you need job for
American Dream == Huge Gas gulping vehicle + Wooden house + Planes to go 100 miles

Effect = Global warming + wars in/across continents ?

Stu UK | May 10, 2007 | 3:32PM

@fedup
"But no multi-national corporation came and bailed us out. We did not sit around and cry "unfair". We got to the level we are at by hard work, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.

If only some big corporation had come in from another country and given us all of their jobs."

Agreed, let no mui-national come and employ us at your cost.But let them also not sell their products to us.As you have said we ourselves will work hard, make our own products and improve our living.
You want to sell things to us, and stop us from being self reliable.But you don't want us to join you in the process.I am sure even a burger from your country is not sold at a discounted rate in my country

Karthik-from India | May 10, 2007 | 3:33PM

Warren Buffet has said that selling the equity of the US (including human capital) is a long-term mistake. It took over two centuries to acquire it.

I guess many of you knuckleheads know better...

Steve Yakoban | May 10, 2007 | 3:35PM

Disgruntled:

"In the IBM case, the lawsuit was timed to coincide with the marketing campaign for a sensationalist new book by Edwin Black, "IBM and the Holocaust," from which the "facts" behind the legal charges were directly drawn. Among these charges was the assertion that leading executives of IBM USA "consciously participated in the commission of crimes against humanity."

The campaign to tar IBM received a significant boost when the Anti-Defamation League hosted a press gathering for Mr. Black, and duly issued its own statement announcing "shocking documentation" that IBM "was instrumental in facilitating the implementation of Hitler's extermination of European Jewry."

But there is no such documentation. Like several other American firms, IBM USA continued to trade with Nazi Germany beyond the point of decency. By the time war erupted, its tabulation equipment was in wide use in Germany (as it was in the Allied countries as well). But the actual evidence that IBM's machines were in any sense "instrumental" in rounding up and murdering Jews is exceedingly thin. Still thinner--indeed, nonexistent--is evidence that IBM's U.S. executives were deliberately marketing their machines for genocidal purposes.

Even Mr. Black, who in his book charges that IBM USA "made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success," has been beating a hasty retreat from his own words. Asked on camera whether there were actual documents that inculpate past or present executives of IBM USA, Mr. Black could only stammer: "Well, I'm--no one is saying that. What we are saying--no one is saying that at all."

As for Mr. Hausfeld, three days after his case was filed he felt compelled to admit, as the Associated Press reported, "that he lacks documents to prove U.S. officers of IBM knew their machines were used to exterminate Holocaust victims." Several weeks later, seeking to disengage from a case that now threatened to backfire, Mr. Hausfeld claimed that his motives in filing had not been in the least pecuniary. "We were asking only for documents," he told an interviewer.

But the legal papers Mr. Hausfeld filed in this suit show otherwise: a demand for "disgorgement and restitution of any and all profits" earned by IBM from its "active role in the Holocaust." From this disgorgement, the papers specify, "costs" and "attorneys' fees" were also to flow."

Me | May 10, 2007 | 3:47PM

Karthik-from Indai,

I too feel I must add a comment to your misconceptions about America.

You have some sort of Hollywood vision that everyone in the US lives life easy and drives a fancy new car. Well it aint so. My father was born during the "Great Depression". He grew up in basically a shack in a part of the country that has quite cold winters and very hot summers. Similar to how many of your poor live (I've been to India for months at a time on work so I have seen this with my own eyes).

The only thing my father had going for him was that he lived in a country where pubic education was available. No company came along and gave his father a job. No company came along and gave him a job. He had to work hard and change the world around him. He had to put himself through school. No free ride.

Sure, I have it easier than my father, but my father EARNED THE RIGHT for his children to live better. I have worked hard to get where I am and to hold on to what I have. I have never taken a dime of money from anyone, even while unemployed.

Finally to get some stability in my life I ended up starting my own consulting business. I have 5 employees and I give them the best possible benefits that I can. One of them has a wife dying from cancer. At times I have helped pay their bills out of my own pocket. Most everything I own is used.

So next time you start having your Hollywood visions of America just remember we were once also a colony of the British Empire. Our resources were also taken from us. America had to dig itself out of poverty and NO ONE HELPED US. We had to build this country up to what it is today on our own WITHOUT the help of outside companies coming in and giving us jobs. We had to create brand new industries and avenues for wealth creation.

Honestly I do feel for the people of India. I've spent months there and see how many people have to live. But I also realize that India still has a lot of problems with corruption in their government and commerce. Things don't have to be so bad in India. The people can change it if they so feel.

But remember, with prosperity will come new problems. As you become able to buy those iPods (that you are, for some reason, so jealous about) you will become less desirable to the corporations that are currently your masters. Relying so heavily on your outside masters to come in and give you jobs is just making you more vulnerable. Some day your masters will grow tired of you.

Welcome To The Real World | May 10, 2007 | 3:55PM

Karthik,

I work for one of those large US corporations that hires Indians by the truck load.

I can assure you that Indian workers are viewed as a temporary measure. China and Vietnam will be cheaper than you soon and they are quickly coming up to speed.

After China? There are already plans under way to increase education levels in Africa. You don't really think word wide education efforts are done out of the kindness of people's hearts do you? LOL!

Really you are just one stone in the path to the cheap labor pool that corporations are really eyeing. Africa.

TheBigBossMan | May 10, 2007 | 4:02PM

IBM is just a microcosm for what is happening in the USA. We've become a nation of entitlement and laziness, and contribute to the very things we complain about. We complain the CEOs are making money at our expense, but we shop at Wal-Mart and buy the cheapest possible products (including food) no matter where it came from or what impact it has on the health of the country.

In a few years when George Bush is out of office, who can we blame for all our problems?

Bill P | May 10, 2007 | 4:05PM

It's also interesting to read about the decline and fall of the Roman empire and see too many frightening parallels to where the USA is currently heading.

Bill P | May 10, 2007 | 4:11PM

Just while catching up on the most recent comments here, I've received two LN's from admins who are leaving tomorrow,compliments of LEAN.
"Just Another IBMer" hit the nail on the head: "...daily calls from the bean counters, "give me 20 people we can release", "no give me 30", now it's all contractors, if you provide support but do not work in a billable job you are gone, now or in the very near future. Regulars will be next on the block, 2nd line and 3rd lines already have been told they are gone, length of service, who cares, you're gone, 1 performers -- who cares -- you're gone...".

I'm on a team call as I type this. Announced by team lead: "LEAN has been reduced from a 19-week process to a 14- week process for Waves 1, 2, and 4, and a 9-week process for wave 3." So yes, it's all happening within a year. (May be old news to most; we at the bottom of the totem pole are usually the last to learn anything!)

As a 57-year-old Admin, I have few hopes of making it through the next RIF. More services once provided by the Admins are being automated. And On-Demand Support has been set up, runs like a call center; you just call a central number and get the next available IBM robot to provide anonymous admin services for those who have lost their support in these resource actions. Can't be long before all those except SJP and his buddies will be the only ones to have personal admin services. And this on W3 today:
"Volunteers are needed from India and CEMA (Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa) to help for an hour or two. IBM-HR is considering a new self-service tool for employees and managers as a front end to SAP. You can be the first to look at this system and help us understand its strengths and weaknesses - no experience is necessary." CYA folks in RTP.

The tech support from India is such a joke. When I've attempted the calls, if I'm able to translate/comprehend/just plain ol' understand, the problem ends up being "escalated", and guess where? To the office directly beside of my cube. But I can't just wander in there; without a ticket from India, they won't even look at my laptop.

I'm definitely looking...hope to be waving buh-bye before being shown the door. Good luck and my deepest sympathy to those of you hanging around.

anonymous admin | May 10, 2007 | 4:16PM

Yes, I agree, the American consumer has only him/herself to blame for many of their spending habits, regardless of where it came from, or the impact on this country.

But, really, what does that have to do with CEO's making 50, 100, 150 million $$? Do you not think that is just a little disproportionate when they are laying workers off and cutting benefits by the truckload? I'm not against the CEO and top execs making more than the worker bees - but lets get real, such ludicrous payoffs while cutting worker benefits has no basis other than greed at the expense of your fellow man.

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 4:22PM

Given IBM (in total) has only 140,000 employees in the US, including Services, Sales/Mktg, R&D, Developmeent, manufacturing, etc - the premise of this lousy information means IBM would employ negative 10,000 folks in the US.. please get some actual facts about a company - any company - before blasting it.

Fred Funk | May 10, 2007 | 4:23PM

Anonymous,
Waves 1 and 2 are done and have been for awhile. Wave 3 is in progress currently and due to be completed June 1. It is (and has been since my involvement) a 9 week project. Wave 4 is currently being planned.

Me | May 10, 2007 | 4:35PM

After reading these comments, I realized Why these people "LET GO". These IBM guys are bunch on complainer. When IBM offered you job with high pay, Bonus, stock etc.. etc.., You same people praising Sam and management.

Now Since you are "LET GO", You are start crying And talking bad about India.


Grow UP guys, India and China has not done anything wrong. Those people are also like others working hard, smart at lesser pay.


You guys(Including author of this blog) need to take Economics course/class. It is simple Demand and Supply rule. India and China has cheap labor and Sam is buying something(services) at low prices from these countries.
Why you guys feeling got hearted.


One of the problem is Exchange Rate. $1 = Rs 41.00 Meaning of that one dollar equal to 41 Indian Ruppes. This doesn't look right to me.

Guys Stop complaining and start applying for new job. Our Company is hiring, We need programmer with some experience.

Simple Guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 4:38PM

Thanks, "Me". Like I said, we're always the last to know anything!

anonymous admin | May 10, 2007 | 4:38PM

This "job offer from IBM" you talk about was not quite exactly that. It was "take this job, or you are considered to have quit your previous job, forfeiting all severence pay/packages". Weren't really given a big choice there. Then, after a year, the severance pay is gone anyway....
I didn't "praise" Sam at the time, and I'm not doing it now....

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 4:51PM

When does wave 4 begin and end?

IBMer | May 10, 2007 | 4:52PM

Hello Simple Guy from India,
Please add yourself to the list of people that are clueless on this blog. You have no idea how annoying it is to clean up the mess of the offshore teams IBM loves to give work to. I personally find myself compelled to do work that is NOT even mine, and do it with a smile. Why ? because it has to get done, and every ibmmer shares the same will do and can do attitude that has kept us employed for years. I am not losing my job, and in fact, I am on my way up in the company. But like other people at IBM that have been here for a little while, I see how horrible the quality of the company's deliverables has become, and how strained our top talent -- including me -- are trying to pick up the slack.

still in ibm | May 10, 2007 | 4:55PM

One more thing to add.

In USA Lay off is not New Management startgy. You Guys teach them at Harvard. May be Mr. Sam learned it from there.

MR. Jack Welch did that many times and He is your Hero. He should have been punished, But You Guys gave him Bonus, So that he can go and marry again and again.

I think American needs Self-Evaluation. Wal-Mart is importing tons of good from these poor countries and you guys are buying, enjoying them.
That time you don't feel any shame.


Your global policies are screwed up as well as your domestic policy. You think you are the only people in world who has rights to live and enjoy.

Simple Guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 4:56PM

I am not sure when wave 4 starts, I have heard June 1 and July 1.

Me | May 10, 2007 | 5:00PM

This from an Indian newspaper on May 9th.

Deccan Herald - IBM chief parleys with Indian CEOs IBM will be investing $6 billion to set up new research facilities across the world including its research centre in Bangalore. IBM has also an ambitious plan to expand its outsourcing centers in India.

rico | May 10, 2007 | 5:04PM

Hi Still in IBM,
I have one simple question for you. Did start solving all the problem and all issues right away As soon As you join IBM.
May be you also gone thru some training some on job training and then become more efficent, That's why you are still in IBM.

So dear, Why do expect other people will start right away. They will also take some time to become more productive. May be more productive than you.

Simple Guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 5:12PM

Exactly right. It takes time. But IBM doesn't believe so. What took years to gain in experience they think can be handed off in weeks, or a few short months.

So, to answer your statement, YES - IBM DOES believe that you will start being productive and performing at the level of people with 20+ years experience within a few months at most. Hence all the layoffs as soon as they get a contract, and get overseas people hired.

So get with it. You're way, way behind.

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 5:16PM

Simple Guy from India:

If I go only by your English, I'm not sure whether you're really from India. While the gist of most of you are saying is not entirely false, the tone is a little awkward. If cheap labor were the only factor behing moving jobs out of the US, even India and China would face the exodus (of jobs) a few years down the road since wage inflation is quite high there. Blaming a country or their citizens or generalizing faults with them (India, China, Vietnam or the US) is a waste of time since movement of labor is a demand/supply issue (as you pointed out) which may turn "against" any country anytime.

Another guy from India

Another guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 5:21PM

Thanks To Still in IBM,
Finally, You belived in me. You also think that Indians will also be more productive.
Good thinking.

I want to clarify one small thing. I am also against "Lay off" in USA. But that is part of your culture. I feeling sorry and angry for that.
But You guys think other countries should not develop. That is wrong.

Once again "Lay off" is bad, But Americans need to change their domestic policy, etc..
Look at your health care system, Another mess... Doctors and (Some MP Lawyers) getting richer and richer. For simple fever they charge Hundereds of doller.
And these Docotors playing golf ($165.00 per round) . Look at insurance industry , making tones of money (And what is their real products)

I can go on and on..

Simple Guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 5:37PM

Sinful Greed

Greedy people take pleasure
In amassing great treasure...
Worldly wealth is their primary goal.

But, what shall it profit a man
To gain the world if he can
At the high cost of losing his soul? *

All who take from their brothers
With no thought for others
Shall one day incur the Lord’s wrath.

But those helping the needy
Heap shame on the greedy
Who walk upon Satan’s dark path.

These takers all would do well
To not let their heads swell...
Refrain from feeling smugly superior.

For their struggle for wealth
Through deceitful stealth
Only leads to a life that’s inferior.

Paul has made it quite clear
That as end times draw near
Before Jesus returns to us again...

Arrogant men filled with pride
Shall not try to hide
Their blatant addiction to sin. **

They will be lovers of self
Seeking ever more wealth...
Does this sound like someone you know?

Corporate execs spring to mind
For greater greed you’ll not find
Than the grossly overpaid CEO.

At four hundred times the pay
Of the average worker today
The money they take is obscene.

While the worker slaves harder
To buy food for the larder
The new corporate directive is...’LEAN’.

* Mark 8:36
** II Timothy 3:1,2

John McKee | May 10, 2007 | 5:38PM

IBMers exit NOW and move out before they use you and then (when is the right time for them...) to throw you to the unemployment lines... Surprise them before they surprise us. If Osama Palmisano wants to move IBM to China or to India thats fine, why then he does not Manage By Example, why isn't he stand down and let go of the millions that he is earning and let another CEO from India or China to run the business. I guess he can't do without the servants, the boats, and the luxury... while some of us will not have money to feed and provide for our families... What a shame !!!

An IBMer who had believed | May 10, 2007 | 5:39PM

I totally agree. That's the point of half the posts here. Greed has taken hold of the already rich like a fever, and is getting worse.
Which has to do with the current layoff situation, and the complaints about being worked to death with little/no support. Experience just CAN'T be handed off as fast as the IBM greedy execs would like it to be. They might just have to wait a few years before they upgrade the 80-foot yacht to a 100-footer. The poor, poor, saps. I can only imagine the shame they feel when they pull in the harbor and discover another CEO's yacht is 10 feet longer than theirs.... tsk, tsk....

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 5:42PM

I find it interesting how many of the people on here claiming to be Indian seem to use the American English spelling and traditions rather than the Indio-British English spelling and traditions.

Trolls possibly?

Nieus | May 10, 2007 | 5:44PM

Nieus,

Same with alot of people that claim to be with IBM. What do you expect.

Me | May 10, 2007 | 5:54PM

Nieus, it so happens that a few Indians are also in the US. They've studied here, worked here and contributed to the economy and overall progress of the US significantly - doctors, engineers, MBA's, pharmacists - u name it. :-)

Another guy from India

Another guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 5:57PM

VERY well said, Me. You never know how many of the folks here are really ex or current IBMers and/or were laid off for wrong reasons.

Another guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 6:00PM

Another guy from India,

Why do you take such offense? I am only pointing out communication "style". It has nothing to do with your argument.

Nieus | May 10, 2007 | 6:07PM

Nieus,

LMAO! I think the troll was trying to quickly shore up his act ;-)

Bob the code builder | May 10, 2007 | 6:08PM

>dingdingding I think we have a winner ;-)

JenniferAniston | May 10, 2007 | 6:10PM

Nieus, sorry, my tone must have come across as sarcastic. Simply put, what I was trying to tell you was that most of the Indians who have been in the US long enough have forgotten the Brit effect on their English.

Another guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 6:11PM

Bob the code builder, interesting you found the original comment so funny. Long before you realize, the "act" will be offshored. Now, I'm LMAO!

Another guy from India | May 10, 2007 | 6:16PM

It is just that smug and imperious tone that we Americans hear when dealing with an Indian customer service rep that piss us off so much - that and the "Indio(sic)-British" English accent is sometimes almost impossible to understand. By all means though, please continue, as it means that those jobs will eventually be "re-sourced" back to people best qualified to do them. Now, THAT's the right reason to be laid off! (How was my spelling?)

NOT an Indian | May 10, 2007 | 6:16PM

"Indian customer service rep that piss us off " -- incorrect English.

Correct version: "Indian customer service rep WHO PISSES us off.."

+

"Please continue.." - as if you had a choice.

TTT

Ting tong tung | May 10, 2007 | 6:22PM

You know if Indians lost that British-like accent I think a lot of people would start warming up to them. The Brits can be a bit fruity-tooty and all uppity when they speak ;-)

Indians, just thank the gods the French didn't colonize you. Then no one would even talk to you ;-)

That brings something else to mind. Why do the Australians, New Zealanders, and even the Indians so so British while the Amurikans sound so different. Was it the influence of other nationalities?

P.S. Can't we all just get along?

RandomActsOfCoding | May 10, 2007 | 6:33PM

Again, I have nothing personal and no disrespect meant to Indians or any overseas peoples or nation. It is IBM and their greedy execs cramming impossible demands down our throats to discard us at their leisure that I have the problem with. And, overseas workers will soon taste that as well, unfortunately. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Can't we all just get along - with the execs?
No, because they are a world unto themselves, with no idea nor do they care the least how many lives are trampled upon to add to their insatiable greed...

fedup | May 10, 2007 | 6:43PM

Can someone provide this site with Sam P's email address so that we can ask him what his future direction for the company is?

Thanks!

Concerned IBM Stockholder | May 10, 2007 | 6:49PM

> It is just that smug and imperious tone that we Americans hear when dealing with an Indian customer service rep that piss us off so much


Having worked with Indians, this is cultural. If you're a superior or an equal, you will be treated with respect. If you are inferior, you will be treated like dirt. This is why they speak to customers so disrespectfully. They're just treating you the way the company treats you. If the company tells them "Don't honor the customers warranty", doesn't it follow the customer *is* dirt?


Indians are about to learn a nasty lesson about the world of business: Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword. Good Morning, Vietnam and China!


> sometimes almost impossible to understand.


Here's a hint: When you get an Indian Call-center (if you're not paying for the call) tell them their English is really bad and you can't understand a word they are saying. Repeat it back to them and get it all wrong. You'll have them in tears and yourself in stitches. (This is a very nasty thing to do to a 2nd language speaker, so only use it with call centers please!)


PS. On the web, everyone speaks American English.

Jace | May 10, 2007 | 7:03PM

SJP = sam@us.ibm.com

GPS | May 10, 2007 | 7:06PM

As a retired manager at a fairly high level of corporate America and a close relative of an IBM employee, I have followed, with interest, the management ploys of IBM at his workplace. What they've displayed for the past few years is a low/midlevel managerial ineptitude of almost comical nature.
What they're doing with these global layoffs is clearly job-shifting to the third world for profit's sake. They are also ridding themselves of the functional Injuns while maintaining the disfunctional chief level. I might add, they're doing this with a cold, nasty ferocity with which I'm not familiar.
Their(IBM"s) short term profit levels will probably look good. I'm just delighted I don't own that stock!
Their customers are the ones who will suffer long-term but probably think they got a good deal with that low-ball IBM bid for their business.
They'll probably feel safe knowing they can sue IBM for non-performance. Sad, but when IBM goes belly-up who'll pay?

prefer none/employee relative | May 10, 2007 | 7:13PM

Thanks GPS. Now I suggest that anyone who referenced Sam P. in their blog, rant, vent, article, comment, diatribe, etc. contact Mr. Palmisano at the above email address and complain to the source himself. I plan to!

Thanks Again!

Concerned IBM Stockholder | May 10, 2007 | 7:16PM

"Respect"? Hah! I think respect should be earned. So, if/when an Indian refuses a job taken from an American (or anyone else) they will have earned respect. Until then, they are complicit in the theft of a livelihood. This is true whether they live here, or in India. Oh, and please don't respond with some nonsense about Indians creating jobs, these jobs don't offset those taken. Nor does anyone really believe that Indians are somehow superior technicians, they are just cheaper.

NOT an Indian | May 10, 2007 | 7:29PM

IBM SUCKS

screwed | May 10, 2007 | 7:49PM

NOT an Indian, what are your options?

Am an Indian | May 10, 2007 | 8:12PM

Do these Indians at these call centers really see themselves are superior? Surely you are joking!

I mean answering a phone is as low as it goes in any industrialized country. Phone jockeys get paid less than skilled labor.

That said, I have been told (by truly intellectual Indians) it is the remnants of the caste system that drives this attitude. The majority of people that answer phones there went to "college" (more like a DeVry or U of Phoenix in the US...not a real college). They were able to afford or "qualify" (as in they had connections) for such schooling because they came from an upper caste.

So what do you do when you have more upper caste people than upper class jobs. They get pushed down to the low class jobs, but continue to live with the attitudes of the "upper" caste.

It is all quite fascination to watch upper caste types deal with their lower place in life.

The rude awakening of their jobs drying up and going to China, etc. will be most interesting.

Book 'em Dano! | May 10, 2007 | 8:14PM

This strategy has got to fail; otherwise every other U.S. corp will soon follow suit. When will we start outsourcing and offshoring C-Level execs? It has got to be cheaper than their bloated salaries, fat parachutes and pig pensions. Who's gonna be left to buy your PCs, cars, etc?

Fred | May 10, 2007 | 8:57PM

Am an Indian: I think that quotes of Gandhi seem appropriate, even prescient here. I apologize for paraphrasing him, as I am unable to find references: "... You British have imposed on our hospitality long enough, it is time for you to go home...". Another favorite (again paraphrasing):
"I do not want my house to be walled in on
all sides, and my windows to be closed. Instead, I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any."

I read these ideas as declarations of passive resistence against the intrusions British imperialism. (Nothing against the Brits! Consider that we both have two things in common, our countries have both been freed of British dominion, and we both love the British.) So, what is outsourcing if not a kind of economic invasion? We the affected have not asked you here, but non-the-less have been asked to pay and pay for the costs of your "stay". To some extent there has been a positive impact, but I think this thread suggests that we are coming close to a point where enough is enough - and this sentiment will only be more strongly felt (and expressed) as our economy begins its inevitable downward turn. My options? OUR options are to use whatever means are available to us. We certainly have more options than I infer from your question. We do not have to accept "too bad" as a final answer. So, I'll (finally) answer your question by saying that we will begin by asking nicely, (with apologies to Gandhi) "You have imposed on our hospitality long enough, it is time for you to go home and develop your own markets, your own ideas, your own technologies, your own capitol and your own jobs - And we promise to never take that which you will have worked so hard to achieve." Similiar assertions to IBM, their customers, others with similiar designs, stockholders, our politicians, etc. will make a good beginning. We could conceivably move to more assertive means, perhaps involving boycotts, unions (or something that looks like them.) - you get the idea. And at the end of the day, perhaps we will ask you what your options are. I can only hope that you are as gracious, we will see.

NOT an Indian | May 10, 2007 | 9:07PM

I am within Global Services. Deny it all you want, this summary nails the situation. I can not think of a contract I am working with , since early 2006 for certain, that has been properly bid or had expert due diligence done prior to the transition. It was all short term 'grab the money and run' efforts by the account teams casting their nets. They are part of an internal ponzi scheme of doing and saying whatever it takes to land the next 'great' account, watching that account flounder in unprofitability and customer dissatisfaction, while dragging in the next 'great' account to shore up the $$ lost in the previous ones. Now, that pyramid scheme is catching up with them so they are axing 'their greatest asset' - their staff.

Bloated? Inefficient? I guess so. I am not a c-level excec so I can't be 100% accurate, but from what I have seen it seems that way.
Look at what they are offshoring and what they are keeping if you want examples of the bloat and inefficiency. A team is 100% offshored but the management structure for that team, and that account, remain fully onshore. Who costs the most per hour and , to the customer, delivers the least direct benefit? Administration. But that is remaining onshore. Of course c-level staff are as well.

Well, good luck Mr and Mrs C-Level. You are burning the bridges that once sustained and grew Global Services business. Accounts that have made the painful move to outsourcing have not made their operations into commidities that can be shipped to other outsourcers - you'll be competing against smaller efficient outsourcers who did not offshore everthing.

Once the work is offshore, and the next 'cost action' or 'job action' occurs, where are you going to go then IBM? From India to China? With further errosion of your customer base? Your customers are not happy with what you are doing now and you want to do an extreme version of it at a rapid (pre-2008) pace? Good luck keeping your accounts, profitable ones as well as unprofitable. Perhaps you should find and remove the staff that signed up these accounts and did a kindergartenish due diligence & pricing.

at-ground-zero-in-GS | May 10, 2007 | 9:41PM
whatever | May 10, 2007 | 10:08PM

Well lots of you have blamed indians pointing out how bad their english or technical skills are.I have spent many years here in the US and have plenty of experiences with absolutely incompetent customer service or dumb folks.At the same time I have come across plenty of smart and generous Americans.The same thing is true about Indians.What works to our disadvantage is that the computer industry in India is still very new as compared to America.Yes,there are serious issues-incompetent people,people doing jobs they are not skilled in,cultural differences etc. However,as the industry in India matures some of these issues will get resolved.
The present situation is very bad for the American middle class but you got to know that the whole concept of capitalism and the multi national corporation was started by America.These corporations made their millions outsourcing work to cheaper markets long ago....unfortunately greed and lack of ethics are rampant in corporate America.

indian | May 11, 2007 | 1:46PM

"unfortunately greed and lack of ethics are rampant in corporate America"

Similar to the Indian and Chinese governments, eh? ;-)

"you got to know that the whole concept of capitalism and the multi national corporation was started by America"

Yes. And by that very same logic Americans get to "reframe" the concepts of capitalism. And they will.

Americans have known for a long time that pure "buyer be ware" free for all capitalism doesn't work for long. Competition quickly dries up. Human rights disappear. That is why Americans have been practicing Socio-Capitalism for decades now. That is capitalism (hopefully) encapsulated by the rule of law as defined by the people for the greater good.

What we have seen today is an attempt by corporations to break the social contract and social control. This is one reason they have tried to fly under the radar using the labels of "Free Trade" and "Globalization" and circumvent US laws. Part of this circumvention also means going to countries where the governments are willing to run loose and free.

I think the Indian people don't quite understand what "dancing with the devil" means. Your new masters are the multi-national corporations. Welcome to the new empire that rules you. Enjoy it while the good times last.

CoalMine | May 11, 2007 | 2:23PM

All I know is a great deal of clients have gone over to companies in India and various other companies like Cap Gemini for example and they are coming back to US support.

I am sure there are lots of very smart people wherever you go. Sad thing to say is.. "you get what you pay for as well".

Look at it this way. You can buy a Ferrari from overseas, but what happens when you receive a Volkswagon? And then they say well sorry you bought it overseas and you are stuck with it for 5 years!. You would never do it again LOL.

whatever | May 11, 2007 | 2:29PM

The problem is that executive compensation is not tied to company performance in any meaningful way. It should be "increase profit = better compensation" but over some sensible time frame to prevent short term profitability spikes which are EASY to achieve.

For example make a year end bonus payable as 20% cash, the rest as four chunks of stock restricted for 1, 2, 3 and 4 years. If the company is on solid footing then cashing the stock a year or three later will actually be more rewarding. On the other hand any short term "business magic" will punish the stock within few months.

Obviously the devil is in details but this is a workable proposition. It will not prevent layoffs and restructuring and moving jobs around the world but it should prevent short-term -- or as one of the commneters said "myopic" --planning.

Martin Naroznik | May 11, 2007 | 2:51PM

Indian Tech Support: Not only are YOU being used for cheap labor, but you think that graduation with a newly minted tech degree and a phone gives you automatic brilliance!! And arrogance too, so remember it takes YEARS to develop any proficiency in a given trade. And remember that IBM is loyal to IBM - NOT YOU - and that other third world countries and whole populations are waiting to take YOUR job...

unless the silly, stupid Americans begin to wise up and take those jobs back. It's happened.

bob eisenhardt | May 11, 2007 | 3:26PM

I heard that people from Silicone Valley (SJ) will now work for below minimum wage with no benefits just to keep from starving.

If they are 50 or above they will work for free just to say they have something to do.

really....

Bill | May 11, 2007 | 4:06PM

Isn't the answer to take all of this great talent and start new and better companies (like google and youtube as someone further down points out)?

America is about the startup making it big not huge corporations.

Steve Flynn | May 11, 2007 | 4:12PM

IBM US Hires Indians on H1B without 4 year college degree and promotes them as Delivery Managers and DPEs so they can pay less. Case in point..dont blame indians.. its the greedy execs and inefficient HR which hires without checking credentials.

truth | May 11, 2007 | 4:13PM

One thing I have always found odd is why would these IIT grads and other Indian college grads bother getting a BS CS/EE or MS CS/EE just to get a brain dead phone jockey job?

Question | May 11, 2007 | 4:16PM

Ha ha ha...I went to grad school with a few IIT grads (their parents had money so they could come to the US). I really didn't find all the hype about IIT being the MIT/Harvard of Asia coming to fruition with these folks. I tutored them on basics to get them up to speed. What was clear is they had learned to memorize, memorize, and memorize raw facts, formulas, etc. but they really didn't grok the subject matter in its totality. They were completely void of the Gestalt .

The sad thing is I don't know if at their age they were too old to learn to think more creatively, more abstractly, and in the large. They had acquired coping skills specifically designed to get one to pass standardized tests. The skills had been nearly beaten into them. It was almost like brainwashing.

TheExperiencedGrad | May 11, 2007 | 4:26PM

On Tuesday May 15 from 3:00pm to 3:15pm EDT (2:00 Central, 1:00 Mountain, 12:00 Pacific) the IBM union is planning a 15 minute strike.

Does this sound very affective?

What will everyone taking a coffee break at the same time really do?

Is this the best the Alliance@IBM union can do?

This has to be a joke!

IBM wants to get rid of these folks anyway so would even a strike accomplish?

Where is that good old American union creativity?

While Alliance@IBM has done good in spreading the word and keep people connected, they have also really done NOTHING that would worry or scare an executive.

If anything they are showing just how weak American unions are today. You'd almost think that these unions are in bed with the corporations. The corporations slash and burn while the unions keep the employees "organized" in such a way they don't pose a threat to operations.

I was feeling sorry for the IBM folks, but they aren't taking any action. They even have a union and it seems most them are sitting on the couch drinking pee water light beer and watching American Idol.

Do Americans Have Any Backbone Today? | May 11, 2007 | 6:08PM

Do Americans Have Any Backbone Today?,

The answer is sadly an over whelming NO.

You wouldn't believe how I have tried to get my coworkers (not at IBM) to join a couple of these tech organizations. Most just act like joining a union is something only for unskilled labor.

I have tried to point out that Boeing and IBM have unions. Still they just have this dazed look in their eyes.

Even as we had coworkers get laid off from cuts that ended up turning into (nearly secret) offshore engineering operations people just didn't want to rock the boat.

Well, I have had it! I love technology. I wanted to be a scientist or engineer since I was a child. I took all the hard classes, got my BS and MS, did everything the "right way", and now what? With how this whole IBM thing seems to be going down, and the IBM nerds acting like scared little girls I've decided it is time to ditch the loser gimps that have no backbone.

I've officially talked to our director about going into management and surprisingly he was excited (engineers never seem interested he said). They are going to pay my way through an MBA. I'm all for free tuition, more pay, and getting to slap the nerds around.

You won't freaking join me in trying to change things, then to hell with all of you!!!

Embarrassed To Be An AmeriCAN'T | May 11, 2007 | 6:24PM

--IBM US Hires Indians on H1B without 4 year college degree and promotes them as Delivery Managers and DPEs so they can pay less. Case in point..dont blame indians.. its the greedy execs and inefficient HR which hires without checking credentials.-- These comments are absolutely correct, I was in IBM for 6 years(finaly project off shored) and seen many dumb ass delivary manager who never has any degree from any colledge.. and guess what finally the client pulled out of ibm ( they chose to pay heavy panely rather than staying with the crap ibm was giving them) hahahaah,,,

snr | May 11, 2007 | 6:25PM

Dear Embarrassed,

This is what we have been saying. Americans cry fowl, but then they do nothing to fix things in their own country. This is very puzzling to us. Americans seem to embrace their pioneering and wild west past, but that vital energy is missing today. And I don't mean any disrespect by that. I in fact find American history quite interesting. So much progress and change in such a short period of time is quite exciting to consider.

I wish you the best of luck with your MBA and management. Someday I too may take this path, even though I too love the technical side of things so much.

A part of me is actually rooting for the men in white hats to come riding in and save the day. It's something I hope America never loses.

Basaveshwar Aggarwal | May 11, 2007 | 6:37PM

And the stock price just continues to climb - closed at $105.98 today... they cut, we bleed, they profit.

Gee, wally | May 11, 2007 | 6:59PM

Woo-hoo! Glad I didn't cash in my last set of options yet!

Does anyone have a guess when it would be best to exercise stock options to maximize profits?

I'm guessing as soon as the next wave hits all expectations will be factored in.

SIGLead | May 11, 2007 | 7:15PM

I am a contractor at IBM and just got the notice I have been LEANED. What they are doing is a perversion of LEAN. All they are trying to do is beef up the stock prices and make the highest layers of upper management rich. In the long run it will make IBM much more like GM than Toyota. How ironic for the LEAN process that it is being severly misrepreesented and misapplied. IBM may do well in the short run but in the long run I cry for them. I know many people at IBM that are great people and I am sorry for them. I am better off being laid off now than later.

colotom | May 11, 2007 | 10:57PM

I am a contractor at IBM and just got the notice I have been LEANED. What they are doing is a perversion of LEAN. All they are trying to do is beef up the stock prices and make the highest layers of upper management rich. In the long run it will make IBM much more like GM than Toyota. How ironic for the LEAN process that it is being severly misrepreesented and misapplied. IBM may do well in the short run but in the long run I cry for them. I know many people at IBM that are great people and I am sorry for them. I am better off being laid off now than later.

colotom | May 11, 2007 | 10:58PM

Children of IT.
What many fail to realize is that this is not just going to effect IBM, but EVERYONE
who works in US-IT. Some may characterize this as economics for IBM to survive. Well consider this- a flood of 100,000+ IT workers looking for jobs in the USA will surely drive down EVERYONE's salary! Forcing pressure on all US companies to adjust their market rates down. Which in turn means no raises to "Keep up with Market Rates".

Supply and Demand folks. Economics 101! And Commoditization of IT Jobs. So in 5 years, all your high-tech jobs, 4 year degrees, certifications will all be worth jack. The supporting IT industries will suffer as well!

Children of IT.
IBM LEAN Rythm and Big Blues!

DC | May 13, 2007 | 12:22PM

I see quite a bit of anger in the e-mails here, and when you do, that's because the truth is hitting home. Folks, Cringely is the messenger here, don't lash out at him, lash out at IBM you silly twits.


Some of the e-mails from IBMers, and ex-IBMers, and soon to be, strike me as right on the money, as someone who enjoyed the smooth direction under Gerstner, but found Palmisano a bit lost.


A few points:


1) e-business became grid computing? Somehow that just doesn't have the pizazz.


2) This isn't mentioned much, but no doubt the 20%-30% margins that Tata, Wipro and Infosys enjoy are a huge factor - they are eating IBMs lunch.


3) The e-mail about IBM being management heavy is exactly right. There are a few good ones, but seems to me IBM hires great graduates, but the good ones leave, the poor ones become CYA managers. So this is typical. As a salesperson once told a back-office clerk at a retail company "I'm out here selling shoes to pay your salary." That hit hard, but much truth.

Bottom line: sell your IBM stock. It's gonna drop like a lead balloon, like Home Depot, when they had the brilliant idea of cutting staff to boost stock price. The race to the bottom indeed.


Not happening (maybe a bit in the future) - the

Robert Sullivan | May 13, 2007 | 4:52PM

I see quite a bit of anger in the e-mails here, and when you do, that's because the truth is hitting home. Folks, Cringely is the messenger here, don't lash out at him, lash out at IBM you silly twits.


Some of the e-mails from IBMers, and ex-IBMers, and soon to be, strike me as right on the money, as someone who enjoyed the smooth direction under Gerstner, but found Palmisano a bit lost.


A few points:


1) e-business became grid computing? Somehow that just doesn't have the pizazz.

2) This isn't mentioned much, but no doubt the 20%-30% margins that Tata, Wipro and Infosys enjoy are a huge factor - they are eating IBMs lunch.


3) The e-mail about IBM being management heavy is exactly right. There are a few good ones, but seems to me IBM hires great graduates, but the good ones leave, the poor ones become CYA managers. So this is typical. As a salesperson once told a back-office clerk at a retail company "I'm out here selling shoes to pay your salary." That hit hard, but much truth.

Bottom line: sell your IBM stock. It's gonna drop like a lead balloon, like Home Depot, when they had the brilliant idea of cutting staff to boost stock price. The race to the bottom indeed.

Robert Sullivan | May 13, 2007 | 4:54PM

What's all the fuss... It is consulting folks, if IBM drops its 100K workforce AND its non-profitable customers then what is stopping these folks to regroup under smaller banners and go after the customers who got dropped and service them! Smaller services shops are better managed and operated and presents better value for customers anyways... This is not a dooms day scenario but an opportunity for people to do business directly with customers. IBM keep 50% of the money it receives from the customers and consultants do the work. Well, customers can now pay 50% less and still get the same people working for them!

Capitalist_2007 | May 13, 2007 | 5:44PM

RE: Capitalist_2007

EXACTLY correct! Consulting is the name of the game, and the game is, Capitalism! Let's see these Fortune 500 IT shops pull the plug on IBM and go back to direct & hands-on business computing innovation, at half the cost & twice the quality!


India's Business Machine | May 13, 2007 | 10:19PM

It is laughable to see so many insecure, xenophobic folks blaming Indians as opportunistic, stupid, incapable of innovation etc.

Blame management, Indians, India ... everyone and everything except the shallow consumption-crazed, credit-loaded society that America has come to be. Look at the mirror folks. The answer to your problems lies there.

These xenophobes should be ashamed that in spite of coming to work via poo-laden streets on our bullock carts with oil lamps and powering our computers using hamsters, we are able to out-think and outdo you SUV driving, warmongering, McDonalds-fed, overweight Walmart shopaholics.

Karthik | May 14, 2007 | 3:39AM

Folks....

In spite of the impending layoffs, i don't think IBM will drop it's customers so that smaller consulting firms can hope to scavenge!!... IBM's smart enough to get the customers understand that the 'world is flat' and that they taking these measures in the best interests of the customers - to shed costs within IBM and hence the cost to customers... It's probably the way to go, i guess.... Tomorrow, if China/ India etc. become costlier compared to other geographies, work is likely to move out of these places too (though i'm not sure if there's any place that's more cost-effective than China for tech-related work!!)

There's little point in blaming Chinese/ Indians (like many of us in this forum are...) as it's ultimately the companies that are choosing to take those steps and are not forced by China/ India...
For examople, it's like Target/ Kmart (the mall giants) blaming Americans for the growth of Walmart... Walmart provided better value for money and hence many Americans shifter their loyalties to Walmart. How else could Walmart become so much bigger than Target, Kmart et al?? Why were many of the Americans not concerned about future of Target/ Kmart while shifting their loyalties Walmart? They didn't!! The same formula is now being used by likes of IBM now...

The other aspect is that American engineers pay is significantly bloated when compared to their contemporaries in the east (even after adjusting for lifestyle and cost-of-living differences) .... And that cannot remain to for too long when the world is fast becoming a big, flat playground and when american companies are seeing a lot of cost advantage by moving work to the east!!!

I guess i'm correct here! Isn't it?

Let's hope the economic situation in the country gets better soon...

Avon | May 14, 2007 | 8:42AM

Kinda says it all, doesn't it, folks?

Here's an idea: I say we live up to Karthik's expectations and get Pakistan to declare war on India. Problem solved! :-D

"..we are able to out-think and outdo you SUV driving, warmongering, McDonalds-fed, overweight Walmart shopaholics." -Karthik

Red | May 14, 2007 | 11:06AM

So Many experts here suggests that, When Company Offers Jobs to Indian in India, than they should refuse. And they should just say Oh... We don't need a job. We don't need money.

Because programmers in USA need them more, because they want to drive hummer H3 or some big SUV. They want more becuase they need money to play Golf in those expensive glof course...., etc..

Good Guys that's way to go...

Simple Guy from India | May 14, 2007 | 12:00PM

No, it has nothing to do with you Indians out-thinking and outdoing anyone. I blame our short-sighted, outright greedy business leaders that have transferred intellectual property out of American hands into non-American's lap. Indians, Chinese, whoever, doenst matter. And I dont mean just IBM, all of the so called American companies who have decided to screw their own country and hard working folks in the name of almighty $$. All these people care for is the $$'s and how to satisy the insatiable Wall Street. To top it all off, our politicians are standing on the side just watching these corporation destroy the future of this country. Their loyalty is not with the country or anyone, just to the $$'s

Arsenal Fan | May 14, 2007 | 12:03PM

I am a senior programmer for IBM and I manage a team of Indian programmers abroad. From what I've seen of Indian developers, IBM may be paying peanuts but they are also getting what they pay for. Of course there are some very talented coders in India, Brazil and China. IBM is just unwilling to pay enough to hire them.

What I've consistently found is that GR's (overseas workers) are only staying with IBM for a short time while they gain experience and then they move on to other better paying jobs.

I have no problem with outsourcing. What I don't like is management's thinking that you can replace a seasoned US programmer for 20 inexperienced Indian programmers.

Gary | May 14, 2007 | 12:19PM

Columbus took a wrong turn in search of India and landed in the New World. Later his followers called it America, named the locals as Indians(Red), beat them blue and black and then reduced them to a manageable population.

Now they are going to face a Blue Billion from the real India. Hey All, let's watch the second match......

Mathew George | May 14, 2007 | 12:30PM

Guyes, India is no cheap today.

I work in a small company in Bangalore. I just do c programming (no java, no C++) on solaris and make $50K. I am sure none will pay me even $100K in any state in US

So India is no cheap and we to see (eventually) going jobs to china.

indian_unix_c_prog | May 14, 2007 | 12:58PM

"we are able to out-think and outdo you SUV driving, warmongering, McDonalds-fed, overweight Walmart shopaholics"

Who's the bigot here?

Is this what you tell yourself to feel better about stealing another person's livelihood? For the record, the sort of guy you have stolen from isn't awfully "well paid", they are IT support - i.e. ordinary folks. The difference between most of them and you (evidently) is that they are mostly humble, modest people who work hard to make ends meet. You are just an -er- egoist. Oh, and if it weren't for these guys having the decency and professionalism to TEACH you how to do your freshly stolen job (before they were laid off) you'd still be walking through that pooh covered street.

Just a guess here - you secretly hold on to the cast system, don't you?

Thought so.

Oh, time for lunch, gotta go. I think I'll have a hamburger in honor of your cleverness, Karthik.

Karthartic | May 14, 2007 | 3:23PM

I find this diatribe quite amusing. Considering that Software contributes more profit to the bottom line that either Hardware or Services, I find it interesting that Mr. Cringley would sound the alarm without having anyt commment on Sofware. IBM is an extremely complex organization, and streamlining would have both positive and negative impacts on it as an organization. However, before flying off the handle, I believe Mr. Cringley should understand that entire picture, and not just pick IGS where he may have sources on one side of the discussion.

abba zzzz | May 14, 2007 | 3:23PM

Simple Guy from India: News flash: The IT guys we are talking about:
1. Can't afford Hummers
2. Don't play golf
3. Aren't that well paid
And for the record:
We aren't all fat, blonde, loudmouthed, shop at WalMart, eat at McDonald's, wear cowboy hats or ride horses anymore either (mostly). Do yourself a favor and look up the word "stereotype".

I can't wait until someone forces you to train your replacement and then "LEANs" you out of your job. Then "simple guy from Vietnam" posts that he had no choice but to take your job, and that you deserved to be fired because you waste your money on a motorized scooter, whereas he only rides a 20 year old bicycle to work.

Allow me to offer a bit of advice for your consideration: You will only have your job for as long as you are cheap. Therefore, view every pay raise and every new benefit with dread. I estimate that your new career will last 1 - 2 years, and the longer it lasts, the less certain it will be. Welcome to our world, enjoy.

reality check | May 14, 2007 | 4:08PM

Unions use collective action to drive a point home. The IBM union organizing a nationwide same time 15 minute break is a way of teaching IBMers how to act collectively instead of just whining.
Some may call it ineffective but the alternative is to do nothing.
I expect we will see more activities ratcheded up as employees learn to fight.

beamer | May 14, 2007 | 4:32PM

To reality check,
OK if Vietnam Guy gets the job, I will be happy.
I will not cry like you.

I can happily ride motorcycle or bicycle, But about you. You don't know how to ride bicycle.

And once this world out of "OIL", You need to ride bicycle anyway...

One last thing, Vietnam Guy will replace your job not my, because you are more expensive than me.

Simple Guy from India | May 14, 2007 | 4:36PM

Simple Guy from India:

Grow up. This board, and the jobs being discussed, are for adults.

fedup | May 14, 2007 | 4:50PM

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?amt=1&from=USD&to=INR&submit=Convert

U.S. Dollar Exchange
Rate Indian Rupee Bid Ask
USDINR=X 1 May 14 40.570 40.570 40.570 40.590

I once read where if the rupee reaches 35-33 to the dollar, the party is over for India, Inc., ast least as far as the great American cash cow is concerned.


Babette | May 14, 2007 | 5:04PM

fedup: I think we should encourage "Simple Guy from India" to have his say. He's doing a good job convincing everyone that he is indeed not an innocent, benign, "simple" guy.

reality check | May 14, 2007 | 5:18PM

As a long time ibm employee, I have seen much change. Since 1993, many that stayed with IBM realized that constant change - 'permanent white water' was going to be a constant. There is a strategy, it is tied to globalization. The world is flat. It is painful for many. It may not succeed if workers fight back or if nationalism and protectionism prevail. As a matter of policy, governments could do much more to enable a 'level playing field' in regards to worker's rights, but that would require receptive governments and an engaged polity - where citizens have a voice and say.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globally_Integrated_Enterprise

http://www.ibm.com/ibm/governmentalprograms/samforeignaffairs.pdf

bethesda thirtyblue | May 14, 2007 | 6:43PM

Have you all checked your 401k (or other investment funds) lately? The bottom line is we ALL benefit and participate in these types of actions as investors. People are blaming Wall St.....well, hello, we ARE Wall St.!!

Two Faced?? | May 14, 2007 | 7:13PM

I agree with everything being posted - as someone who has been LEAN'd from IBM that part is pretty much all right on.

What is being left out of the discussion, especially by the Indian citizens participating, is that India has a massively protectionist economy, US companies (like Wal-mart) can't open stores there, China pegs its currency to the US dollar and won't let it float, Corporations can not invest in asian business or stock markets freely.

Its one thing to say the world should be flat and we should share our jobs and etc - great open your markets to honest competition from US brands, allow free market currency fluctuations, stop trying to reap the benefits of our global capitalism without extending us the same opportunities to compete in your markets.

LEAN'd IBMer | May 14, 2007 | 8:38PM

try applying for jobs in India. I doubt they'll give working visas.

mark | May 14, 2007 | 8:51PM

Look, India's new Business Machine (a.k.a., I-B-M) has driven Information Technology Commoditization for over a decade now. We (i.e., merican ITers), are in the same exact boat American Textile Workers found themselves in, during the 1960s, 70s, & 80s - All their high paying jobs were commoditized and sent to Mexico! Exactly because they cost too much! That is a tough economic fact.

My advice to all merican ITers: Adjust and evolve into something else or be, not 100 times, but 10,000 times better than your closest IT competitor. That alone will keep you employed (although, you may have to take a pay cut.). Hey, no one ever said life was easy!

So, just relax and go to McDees for a Big Mac & a Coke, or something!!!

;-]

India's Business Machine | May 14, 2007 | 10:21PM

How do I get my resume to Bill Morita for the XIBM startup? You will not give yourself stock options worth $100 million or anything will you? If you go for $900,000 I think I could live with that.

Mike (ex PSD IBM'r) | May 15, 2007 | 12:43AM

Friday is supposed to be the next round.

Back up your email, take your personal items home, get your papers in order.

HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Anonymous Commentor | May 15, 2007 | 4:03AM

I beleive you !
If you look at how the IBM stock has performed the last 5 years, just look at a graph of it. As a European former investor in IBM I saw the dollar go down and also the IBM stock didn't rise much. Result: I lost money on my safe IBM investment, kept it for some years and then decided not to wait for another more years. I sold it at the end of the year, when historically the stock price is higher than in summer season.

Also if the US-economy would destabilise because of e.g. foreign debt, it would be wise to have build up bigger capacity and portfolio in economies that are more stable for the longer term (despite the crisis in 1998).

Hopefully, the US will be getting a better financial situation because a crisis will affect Europe in a negative way. Even though Europeans are nowadays spreading their investments.

Emile Van Den Hoogen | May 15, 2007 | 7:44AM

I'm not a current/former IBMer, but as a long-time IT person who has been through my share of layoffs, my advice is to check with a lawyer about your non-compete contract. States vary widely on how far they can go, particularly in "right to work" states. For example, in Ohio since 2004 the state supreme court set the limit to only 30-60 days, and a layoff pretty much dissolves the non-compete. Even if you can't offer to work for the particular customer you were servicing as an IBMer, you can likely compete with IBM to work for its other customers. IANAL, so check with an attorney in your locale.

Old Unix Geek | May 15, 2007 | 7:46AM

Cringley predicted the end of the GTC in Austin last year and now it is coming true. LEAN is being used to replace its employees with cheap Indian labor. We claim more hours than worked to make up the difference for employees that are not here. Yes, IBM is still hiring but not Americans. They are H-1 visa people. They preach diversity but only hire from one group while the real diversity they had in the US is an endangered species. IBM is becoming all marketing and no substance. While upper executives discount contracts to make their numbers, employees bear the brunt of their disasters. We get small bonuses and no raises because they discount contracts to make their numbers and their bonuses. The top 2% get all the benefits and we get longer hours with no rewards and fears of layoffs and lost pensions and benefits. The major media reports on growth in the economy but don’t report on the substance that there is no growth in the wealth of the middle class and the growth of wealth of the supper rich. IBM built a mature business with people that made the company a giant and its executives rich beyond imagination. The only thing I can compare this to history is the time of Nero and the Roman Empire. When Nero fiddled and burned Rome and reaped its wealth and blamed the disaster on the Christians. Today we have the destruction of a mature, professional , highly skilled workforce being destroyed and blamed for it lack of profit growth and the upper 2% reap all the rewards. The US employees are the new Christians fed to the lions so their masters can justify their greed and gluttony for wealth. What we need is a LEAN program that is tied to CEO salaries that is tied to real revenue growth not cost shifting and market share growth not skills transfer to cheap labor markets.

JD | May 15, 2007 | 9:09AM

You're an idiot. IBM has less than 130,000 people in the USA and couldn't lay off more people (150,000) than it has working. Out sourcing models work great for some tasks such as help desks and human resource services, but much of business consulting and high-value I/T work involves face-to-face client interaction. You can't outsource that to India. I believe the MOST IBM could cut in the US would be somewhere in the 20,000 to 30,000 range.

IBM in Colorado | May 15, 2007 | 10:11AM

JD - I seem to be agreeing with you on the short-term outlook of the top management in many of these companies that are using outsourcing as the new magic wand to improve/manage shareholder confidence....
Though i don't think that's gonna work in the long-term. It's one way the likes of Sam P of IBM, Rick W of GM etc. can hope to hold onto their jobs for some more time... Of course, they are trying to show outsourcing as an obvious means to an end!!... But to which end is the trillion$ question??
One issue is that they're not competent enough to bring in the required growth through 'better' means and, in a way, are doing that at the cost of other people's livelihood... If they're unable to manage the growth they project, why hire people in thousands at one point giving all that glib about being visionary, employee-centric, blah blah... and then lay off people in thousands when they need to justify quick growth??
True, the world's pretty dynamic but then you are given the top job because people/board thinks that you can do the job better than others.... For example, outsourcing is a no-brainer today (Just try a smaller version of it with a fifth grader)!! The top guy's real test of ability is to be able to grow the company with the set of people/employees they've got on board making all those promises. Else why do they need to take home those big, fat pay packets and stock options??
The trouble is most of the top management guys manage for short-term and have become really, really glib to separate wheat-from-chaff!!
There has to be a balance between short-term and long-term outlook!!

What do you guys think??

Avon | May 15, 2007 | 11:00AM

IBM in Colorado - that's the whole point people are trying to make.
"but much of business consulting and high-value I/T work involves face-to-face client interaction. You can't outsource that to India."
But IBM IS. Hence the drop in quality, longer hours for those left, fudged metrics, etc....
People seem to think there are certain positions that can't be outsourced, and won't be. Well, you're half right. They CAN'T, but they WILL.

fedup | May 15, 2007 | 11:45AM

"There has to be a balance between short-term and long-term outlook!!"

Not according to the executives. Their motto is:

GET RICH QUICK AND BAIL.

Their only concern is themselves and how much they can get away with, JUST LIKE ENRON.

I love it when the executives say their main concern is looking after the stockholders. OF COURSE! That's because THEY are the major stockholders. DUH!

red | May 15, 2007 | 1:20PM

"There has to be a balance between short-term and long-term outlook!!"

Not according to the executives. Their motto is:

GET RICH QUICK AND BAIL.

Their only concern is themselves and how much they can get away with, JUST LIKE ENRON.

I love it when the executives say their main concern is looking after the stockholders. OF COURSE! That's because THEY are the major stockholders. DUH!

red | May 15, 2007 | 1:25PM

Basically if you are still at IBM and don't have your resume out right now you are either crazy or an idiot.

Got Out Just In Time | May 15, 2007 | 1:53PM

True. There are rumors that a number of the smaller satellite office will be shutdown completely. I heard that the Beaverton Oregon office is a dead man walking.

OSUGrad | May 15, 2007 | 2:00PM

Can ALL IBM employee go on STRIKE,
So that management will listen to us.

We will put demand not to fire anybody, and find a win-win solution, that will increase company profit as well as employee can get their job.

That sounds great... Let's DO it.

Do we have GUTS.

IBM thought | May 15, 2007 | 3:16PM

One more thought...

Let ALL employees DONATE $1.00 each To CEO fund to Mr. Sam P. every month(probably), In return he will not fire anybody.

This will make Mr. Sam P. rich and he will happily keep ALL employees.

Great.

Let's Do it.

IBM thought | May 15, 2007 | 3:32PM

360,000 employees X $1/month X 12 months/year = 4.32 million $$/year. Sorry, but that's not enough for Sam. He can pocket alot more getting rid of everybody....

not enough for Sam | May 15, 2007 | 4:55PM

Upper management is pushing this and they don't realize that once we are gone, they are in danager of losing their jobs also. LEAN is not good for the customer/business/IBMers...we are in a death spiral if someone does not look at what the results will be as a result. 150,000 is a high number but it will not be all at once, it will be in small numbers back to back...so you miss this one...they will get you on the next one.

Jo | May 15, 2007 | 5:05PM

Demand that the Senators put IBM and other U.S. based companies on the list to be questioned about H-1B visas:

From: Grassley Press
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 1:09 PM
To: Grassley Press
Subject: Senators Seek H-1B visa details

U.S. Senate

For Immediate Release

Monday, May 14, 2007

Grassley, Durbin Ask for Details on Companies' Use of H-1B Visas

Top Nine Foreign Based Companies Use Nearly 20,000 H-1B Visas

WASHINGTON - Senators Chuck Grassley and Richard Durbin today
asked the top nine foreign based companies in 2006 that used nearly
20,000 of the available H-1B visas to disclose further details about
their workforce and their use of the special visa program.

geekie | May 15, 2007 | 5:43PM

So who here works for IBM and is NOT sending their resume out?

Where I work we just got hit with massive number of resumes from IBM. We literally got nearly 100 in a single day! That is in just ONE day...and the week is young.

Survivor with a Job | May 15, 2007 | 7:06PM

I have survived this round of layoffs, but with all the folks that got the axe and all my co-workers that are leaving, I'm outta here also as I don't want to be left holding the bag!! I've gone from a team of 22 to 11 in the past 10 months, and the workloads aren't getting any lighter!
Rumor now is that management is getting the axe on 5/24, to bad they don't start with all the Execs that get their millions in bonuses. While as a top performer, I haven't had a raise in 3 years.. pretty pathetic!

Juming Ship! | May 15, 2007 | 7:27PM

I have survived this round of layoffs, but with all the folks that got the axe and all my co-workers that are leaving, I'm outta here also as I don't want to be left holding the bag!! I've gone from a team of 22 to 11 in the past 10 months, and the workloads aren't getting any lighter! Rumor now is that management is getting the axe on 5/24, to bad they don't start with all the Execs that get their millions in bonuses. While as a top performer, I haven't had a raise in 3 years.. pretty pathetic!

Juming Ship | May 15, 2007 | 7:28PM

Ha ha ha! Americans are too obese and lazy! IBM employees won't fight for their jobs. I love it.

More for me foolish fat Americans!

Indian Dream | May 15, 2007 | 10:54PM

I am feeling that managers of Global Services don't care how to make project successful, how to match the customer requirement at all.

I know a owner of project of Global Services, he don't know the architecture, but he know in the project, how to make no experienced person oftenly fight with expereienced person, how to make experience not easy to work, finally, all of supperman left, absolutely, the project failed, why not?!!!!!!!

gege | May 15, 2007 | 10:59PM

"Ha ha ha! Americans are too obese and lazy! IBM employees won't fight for their jobs. I love it.", says 'Indian Dream'!!!

To 'Indian Dream' - First of all, you are a big, ugly black mark on India and Indians as you've chosen to make such really, really dumb statements and then named yourself "Indian Dream"? You must be one of those pea-brained, four-legged ones with a human face!!....
Dodo, your weeny gray cells couldn't do any better than that!! Sadistic guys like you should be with some terror group and not in the professional arena...

If you clear your little brain first and then fill it with the right info, you'll learn that not all Americans are obese and lazy... And whatever some of them might be, it has been Americans who've been one of the key drivers of IT which in turn means that they are the people who're paying you indirectly (especially in case you are an IT pro). There might be some real jerks among them (some top management morons, Dubya, and likes)... However, america as such has been a big growth driver of the world economy.
So get your facts right - yes, you can do that only if your tiny one allows you to get them right.... Wondering how a user of internet can make such dumb statements!? Gosh!!

And in today's world, there is nothing like an 'American' and an 'Indian'... That divide is slowly getting eroded. Given our globalized world where everything is interconnected, if one of the global economy drivers is suffering, others will soon hear the music!! Ah, forget it, even basic economics might be too much for you...

Also an Indian! | May 16, 2007 | 2:22AM

You are totally right. "Taking a pure business school look it even might look good". This is exactly the problem. Since controllers have taken over the management of all major companies they are just playing with the resources as in a simulation at school or as in one of the famous online games where you can act as a manager of a virtual company or football club. For them it is the same. They just have to move away before everything collapses.
But as long Wall Street honors this approach it will hardly change.

Jack.X | May 16, 2007 | 4:03AM

As a former IBMer, this article lets me know that the only thing that matters is the bottom line to the execs who are making the big money off of the stock shares that they hold or are given based upon their position in the IBM hierarchy. At no time where any of these changes truly necessary but just driven by a group of people who want to fatten their pockets so when they leave IBM they never have to work another day in their lives. This kind of action will take IBM down and they will have to go through another executive change with someone who wants to get back to the homegrown approach to doing business and not trying to fatten their pockets on the backs of those who really do the work that keeps this company going.

maverick | May 16, 2007 | 9:22AM

From the Washington Post Editorial page, 5/16/07


What Offshoring Wave?
By Robert J. Samuelson
Wednesday, May 16, 2007; A15
Remember the great "offshoring" debate? It was all the rage a few years ago. Modern communications allowed white-collar work to be zapped around the world. We faced a terrifying future of hordes of well-educated and poorly paid Indians and Chinese stealing the jobs of middle-class engineers, accountants and software programmers in the United States and other wealthy nations. Merciless multinational companies would find the cheapest labor and to heck with all the lives ruined in the process.
What happened? Well, not much.
Every so often, it's worth revisiting old controversies to see whether the reality matches the rhetoric. In a recent paper, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics did just that for offshoring (a.k.a., overseas "outsourcing"). He reviewed many studies. His conclusion: "The heated public and political debate . . . has been vastly overblown."
For the United States, Kirkegaard examined a survey on "mass layoffs" from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to see how many stemmed from offshoring. The answer: 4 percent. That included both manufacturing and service jobs.
In 2004 and 2005, the BLS counted almost 1 million workers fired in layoffs of 50 or more. That isn't a huge number in a labor force of about 150 million. Moreover, most causes were domestic. The largest reason (accounting for about 25 percent) was "contract completion" -- a public works job done, a movie finished. Other big categories included "downsizing" (16 percent) and the combination of bankruptcy and "financial difficulty" (10 percent). Only about 12 percent of layoffs stemmed from "movement of work" -- a category that would include offshoring. But two-thirds of those moves were domestic.
Kirkegaard located a similar survey for Europe. Although the cutoff for layoffs was higher (100 workers), the results were similar. About 5 percent of job losses resulted from offshoring. The other 95 percent involved bankruptcies, "downsizing," domestic outsourcing and firings after mergers.
Among wealthy nations, Japan was the only major example of a possibly larger effect. It may have lost factory jobs to China. From 2001 to 2006, Japanese manufacturing employment dropped by 1.3 million, to 11.5 million; meanwhile, jobs at Japanese manufacturing affiliates abroad rose by 900,000. But Kirkegaard thinks Japan's loss of manufacturing jobs could also have resulted from greater productivity -- fewer people making more.
It's true that offshoring doesn't measure the full impact of globalization on U.S. labor markets. That effect would also include trade and investment by multinational firms. Still, with the unemployment rate at 4.5 percent, it's clear that globalization hasn't crippled the U.S. job machine.
One reason for modest offshoring is that it's not so easy to do. It involves more than just changing phone numbers and switching computer hookups. A survey by the consulting firm A.T. Kearney found the following problems: cross-border differences of culture and language (80 percent); lack of skills offshore (49 percent); customer complaints (49 percent).
As communications technology improves -- and companies gain experience -- offshoring may increase. Some economists still expect it to explode. Writing in The Post, Alan S. Blinder of Princeton said "offshoring may be the biggest political issue in economics for a generation," threatening "tens of millions of American workers." Indeed, some studies examined by Kirkegaard estimated that roughly one-fifth of all U.S. jobs could theoretically be moved abroad. But just because a job can theoretically be relocated doesn't mean that it will be.
Adjustments occur. Developing countries need skilled workers for their own economies, not just exports. India's entire information technology industry employs less than 1 percent of the nation's workforce, reports the International Labor Organization. As the global demand for services -- engineering, programming -- rises, so will the wages of foreign service workers (engineers, programmers, accountants). That will make offshoring less cost competitive. Finally, if countries run big trade surpluses from offshoring, their currencies should rise. That, too, would reduce their cost advantage (and explains why changing China's artificially undervalued exchange rate is important).
Losing a job is a wrenching experience for anyone, but the lesson here is that most job loss has local causes. The offshoring obsession reflects its novelty and the potential threat to white-collar jobs that seemed inherently safe from foreign competition. In our mind's eye, globalization is so powerful that it's sweeping everything before it. The reality is that, though globalization is increasingly important, it's still a weakling compared with the domestic economy. The antidote to job loss is job creation, and that depends decisively on national economic policies and conditions.
It's easy to blame all our economic anxieties and problems on globalization, because that makes foreigners and multinational companies responsible. Though satisfying, it will also be self-defeating if it diverts attention from fostering a healthy economy at home.

bethesda thirtyblue | May 16, 2007 | 9:42AM

Bethesda

Nice copy and paste job.
Write something original, like most do on this board.

bob eisenhardt | May 16, 2007 | 11:00AM

Thank you Bob, I already did - go read it.

bethesda thurtyblue | May 16, 2007 | 11:56AM

Thank you Bob, I already did - go read it.

bethesda thirtyblue | May 16, 2007 | 11:56AM

I am another indian protest against comment wrote by "dream Indian".

I am sure, he is not an indian.

I have full faith in USA. It is very good country. I worked there for several years and than came back to India.

I really respect USA. I am sure those people who are fired will get another better jobs.
America and American will always find rise to the TOP.

They have shown world again and again that they are genious and fair player.

Americans has done lot of good thing for world.
I respect them for that.

Also I wish good luck for IBM exemployess for their future jobs.

I feel sorry for them.

God bless America.

Just Indian | May 16, 2007 | 3:24PM

No I am the real deal. I don't bow to the Arian Nazi invaders. America has no culture or class.

Indian Dream | May 16, 2007 | 5:48PM

Dear Indian Dream,

Ummmm...I believe that northern Indians and much of the religious heritage in India comes from an "Arian" people. They are also the people that became the Persians.

Of course "Arian" is usually used in linguistics not the genetics of a group of people. Any how bumble brain take some time to study the Indo-European family of languages. Surprisingly enough there is a linguistic (and culture many times follows language traditions) connection between India and Europe going back thousands of years.

Sooooo, what do we gather from Mr. Indian Dream? Real or not?

D'OH | May 16, 2007 | 6:18PM

Dear "Indian real deal Dream":

What a nice little hate monger you are!? I hope your brainless blabber provides some comic relief to folks here! It did to me!

Back to the topic and on a more solemn note, my heartfelt sympathies to IBM folks (some of whom are close friends) affected by this untangling (and increasingly commonplace) story of corporate greed and deception.

-Atmaram Bhende (Bombayite/Mumbaikar)

==========================================

==========================================
No I am the real deal. I don't bow to the Arian Nazi invaders. America has no culture or class.
Indian Dream | May 16, 2007 | 5:48PM
==========================================
Ha ha ha! Americans are too obese and lazy! IBM employees won't fight for their jobs. I love it.

More for me foolish fat Americans!
Indian Dream | May 15, 2007 | 10:54PM
==========================================

Atmaram Bhende | May 16, 2007 | 8:06PM

Dear "Indian real deal Dream":

What a nice little hate monger you are!? I hope your brainless blabber provides some comic relief to folks here! It did to me!

Back to the topic and on a more solemn note, my heartfelt sympathies to IBM folks (some of whom are close friends) affected by this untangling (and increasingly commonplace) story of corporate greed and deception.

-Atmaram Bhende (Bombayite/Mumbaikar)

==========================================

==========================================
No I am the real deal. I don't bow to the Arian Nazi invaders. America has no culture or class.
Indian Dream | May 16, 2007 | 5:48PM
==========================================
Ha ha ha! Americans are too obese and lazy! IBM employees won't fight for their jobs. I love it.

More for me foolish fat Americans!
Indian Dream | May 15, 2007 | 10:54PM
==========================================

Atmaram Bhende | May 16, 2007 | 8:07PM

THIS IS HAPPENING IN ALL OF NORTH AMERICA NOT JUST THE US. LAYOFFS HAVE STARTED IN CANADA ALREADY. SOME CUSTOMERS ARE ALREADY REFUSING TO GO ALONG WITH THE NEW LEAN STRUCTURE.

Kd | May 16, 2007 | 8:46PM

I am an employee for ibm, I work very hard at the job i love very much. With jobs heading south of the border to South America, I have to wonder a couple of things.

1. when is there enough profit? I have seen greed consume our society for the few wealthy companies. It reminds of a first peoples saying that goes as follows:

only when all the animals die, plants wither and become no more, when our waters become undrinkable, and the air we breath becomes poision. then and only then will the white man realize that they cannot eat money.

2. I see the point where ibm will be heading towards a big fall when it comes to their clients. The grass roots people who are on the front line and know what is going on, and how to do their jobs well are being the brunt of lean. I dont see cuts in higher management levels where to me, the ibm company is a top heavy company. I see that this will definately impact our clients and that in turn will cause our clients to seek services else where.

I love my job, I enjoy the challenges it brings every day, and I am sad and disheartned to see my duties and responsiblities going to south america all for the sake of more profit. I guess time will indeed tell what will happen, this is one thing that i really dont want to see happen.

I believe that in order for ibm to be successfull they will really need to rethink their strategies.

frank | May 16, 2007 | 10:56PM

IBM has addressed this with us, and yes they are making cuts, who knows how many, I only hope its not everyone. Seems kinda of far-fetched number if you ask me. I like my job, but am close to retirement, wanted a few more years, but who knows it may be the best thing that ever happened to me, corporate american is really starting to get on my nerves anyways, money is good but its such boring stuff. Let there be life after IBM.

Shelly | May 16, 2007 | 11:32PM

My group went from 15 people to 5!!!

I wouldn't count on retiring from IBM.

I'm still here, but these sorts of events just crushes...CRUSHES moral.

I've got my resume out there now. Moral is awful. Everyone is looking. Awful.

Still Employed Some How | May 17, 2007 | 12:05AM

I have been with IBM for almost 5 years. I was part of an outsourcing and have experienced cuts on the various contracts I have worked on. IBM is top heavy. To many project managers, service delivery managers and project execs. Not enough technical workers that actually do the work, only people beating on the few left supporting "contracts that are not making money". I am also tired of no salary increases for many reasons from no funding to a contract not making money. It sickens me every time I hear of Sam's stock options, bonuses or pay raise.

Mike | May 17, 2007 | 11:29AM

I too am an employee of IBM and as painful is it is for some to realize, The IGS sector isn't where the money is. Very little profit is generated there and it's high cost and high risk. IBM is a technology company. I look to see them getting farther and farther away from being a services company. IMHO.

anony mouse | May 17, 2007 | 2:18PM

Yes internally IBM seems dead. No raises. No promotions. EVERYONE sits and spins in place.

Remember Friday 5/18 there is supposed to be another significant cut in people in multiple locations. Keep the information coming in about what you see.

Good luck to all!

No more raises | May 17, 2007 | 3:46PM

That's the truth. Lay off all those 'managers' and Sammy could call himself Daddy Warbucks (if he doesn't already).

I think executives play a game of 'Keeping up with the Jones'. They see another exec making TONS of money and so they do what it takes to keep up.

Screw you in the process.

Red | May 17, 2007 | 4:17PM

From: Evangelist Faith Hopewell

Beloved,

Compliments of the day to you ! By this e-mail, I do sincerely
apologise for my intrusion of your privacy. However, I have a serious
concern with which I believe you might be of help and for this reason, I can not but reach out to someone - a fellow Brethren.

I am Mrs Faith Hopewell, the mother to Gerard St. Germain and Yvette St. Germain who both died untimely in an Egypt Air crash of 2003. You can view this web site for your perusal and find the names of my children who also perished in that ill fated air disaster.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/egyptair/article/0,,196602,00.html

I am from the country of Ukraine and married to Saudi Arabian Diplomat Edward Hopewell. I lost my husband tO a protracted illness 20 years ago and I have been working as an Evangelist till date. We are dedicated
Christians and decided to serve mankind to the best of our ability.

Since the death of my children ( Gerard St. Germain and Yvette St. Germain) , I have lived with the memories, fighting effortelessly
to lead a normal life but all to no avail. I suffered mentally and
psychologically and shortly was diagnosed of Cancer. I lived with the scourge praying earnestly for divine intervention. Just a month ago,
the doctor informed me that I have just about a month more to live. I
was shocked. I accepted the news in good fate.

Brethren, it is in this regard that I write to you, having sourced your
address from a database in my late children's internet dozier after
fervent prayers.Before their death, my family had a joint deposited sum of $2.5 Million (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) with a Finance/Security company. I have wholeheartedly decided to donate the entirety of this fund to any devoted believer or organisation and to achieve this, I need a devoted Christian individual that will utilize this fund adherently for these purposes:

1: For the propagation of good christian works
2: For the sick, less-privilledged and destitute
3: For the Widows and the motherless babies e.t.c.

These are the wishes of a dying woman. They are the desires of my
heart, hence my decision as I do not have a child to take over my
inheritance. All I need from you is Truthfulness, Honesty and Sincerity assuring me that you can in all honesty and obedience utilize the funds for the purpose with which it is meant.

In any a case, a quick response from you will be highly appreciated as I am already on a count-down and may not have ample time to finalize the procedures. Any delay in response may compel me to source for other measures or perhaps choose the alternative which I will not be happy to. Please, do not see this as a strange possibility or an unbeliveable
opportunity to make wealth, rather see this as a rare chance to assist
the less priviledged in truth and in spirit with a substance.

I await your immediate response.

Thank You and God Bless You richly!

Yours Sincerely

Evangelist Faith Hopewell

faith hope | May 17, 2007 | 4:38PM

The last post on May 17 from Faith Hopewell. Please don't buy it, have discernment and operate in wisdom. This is not a legitimate post. I've seen this before and it's a ploy. Most people will get that. Thank God!
Now as for IBM-why did these companies get fat in the first place? Now that they have to diet to survive is it a reaping of corporate excess and greed? Maybe they weren't supposed to be so fat to begin with?

Annie | May 17, 2007 | 5:24PM

Friday is just around the corner AmeriCAN'Ts! Will you be the one cut?

I can't wait!

Indian Dream | May 17, 2007 | 9:01PM

Here come the replacements!

"Senators propose infinite H-1Bs for advanced degree holders"
http://news.com.com/Senators+propose+infinite+H-1Bs+for+advanced+degree+holders/2100-1028_3-6183954.html?tag=nefd.top

That's right folks, the senate is pushing for an INFINITE number of H-1Bs as long as they have advanced degrees. You are going to get replace with Third Worlders that paid nothing for their Third World education and you have to pay $40K+ for EACH advanced degree.

And I say "each" because you will need two or more to compete with a CHEAP Third Worlder with an advanced degree.

How many advanced degrees are you going to get after getting laid off?

Doesn't Pay to be American | May 18, 2007 | 5:26AM

I would LOVE to see the same article written about NORTEL as they are doing the same. I personally have been tasked with training my Mexican graduate replacements. I have to bring them up to speed in an accelerated timeframe from traditional new employee training so that Nortel can lay me off. Another department refused so they laid some of them off overloading the remaining employees with work forcing them to migrate the work to Mexico. Isn't this illegal? Forcing me to train my replacement? The Mexican new hires don't even have a telephony background! When we were actually hiring people, these replacements wouldn't even qualify for the job. Nortel says they want to keep the best employees but that is false and I have been witness to it. Basically, if you make more than your counterpart (because you are smarter and have earned your way up the pay scale) you will be targeted first. (Attempting to calm down) I HOPE SOMEONE LOOKS INTO THIS AND WRITES AN ARTICLE ABOUT NORTEL TOO! And look into one of the top Nortel executives man-handling a female in her car because she "honked" at him! Nortel quickly swept it under the rug internally. Believe me, if that was me, I would of been fired faster than Nortel paying off it's new CEO's $11 Million dollar bonus to Motorola.

Joe Worker | May 18, 2007 | 8:21AM

Indian Dream: Your ONLY plus on the job market is that American Management (not us, the workers) love to exploit you. How does that feel? Do you love slave labor because employing Indians at 1/10 wage is the ONLY thing management considers you valuable for.

And from my experience with several outsourcers, third world support is a "Can't do" proposition. Bad, poor cut-rate service and you get what you pay for.

And your racist comments are way over the top.

Do you think the Mahatma would have agreed with you?

bob eisenhardt | May 18, 2007 | 8:42AM

IBM: The Tragedy Of the 21st Century Company
http://www.247wallst.com/2007/05/ibm_the_tragedy.html
Last paragraph states:
But, IBM's plans reveal a sort of self-loathing. The things the company cannot do with better products and services, it will do by pushing out people, cutting their benefits, and buying in shares. It is the poor man's way to build an attractive investment

Shell Shocked | May 18, 2007 | 9:39AM

Have people actually drawn comparisons between Digg and IBM? Do you know how retarded that is? Why don't you use your local snoball stand as a metaphor for corporate America? That makes sense, right?

But to the IBM point, this will be a fun ride. I'm working for IBM GS today, haven't been layed off yet.... looking forward to a surprise vacation, though.

Looks like we're all going to be OddTodds.

exablaze | May 18, 2007 | 10:48AM

All Arrogant Indian Technicians: please read
From Accenture:

Several Indian firms are offering incentives to retain employees as companies compete for scarce talent with wages rising by about 10-15 percent a year.

We may soon see how "loyal" IBM and others are to YOU.......happy outsourcing.

BOB EISENHARDT | May 18, 2007 | 11:04AM

All you IBMers out there quick send a message to congress about the latest "comprehensive immigration reform" bill. Bill Gates and his cronies are asking for unlimited H-1B's to replace you.

geekie | May 18, 2007 | 12:09PM