IBM Layoff Rumors Fly Fast and Furious

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Rumors are flying fast and furious that IBM will lay off more than 100,000 workers sometime in the next few weeks. But news sources are reporting that the cuts will more likely be on the level of 10,000 jobs.

The original report of mega-layoffs came from Robert X. Cringely, a self-described “Silicon Valley iconoclast,” who wrote in Forbes about an IBM reorganization codenamed Project Chrome. In Cringely’s telling, Project Chrome will result in the layoffs of 26 percent of IBM’s workforce, accompanied by a major restructuring of the company’s assets. The employee cuts will supposedly hit IBM’s mainframe and storage divisions the hardest. (Cringely’s reporting derives from anonymous sources.)

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“In saying the company is in a transition and is going to go through the biggest reorganization in its history, will this really fix a very obvious customer relationship problem?” Cringely concluded. “No, it won’t.”

IBM told Cringely, in an update to his original article, that the cuts would come to only a few thousand people, not 100,000.

Separately, an unnamed IBM spokesperson told TechCrunch that the layoffs would roughly total 12,000 employees—even as an anonymous source suggested the number would be much higher. “After we published this article, a source approached TechCrunch, telling us the layoff number was 10 percent of the workforce (or 43,000),” the publication reported, “and that the layoffs would be conducted in approximately 10,000 employee increments per quarter until the company righted the ship.”

Whether or not any of these reports prove accurate, it’s undeniable that IBM is frantically attempting to transform into a firm that can better compete in a cloud– and mobile-centric world. Between its recent partnership with Apple to push iOS devices and apps to the enterprise, to its work in artificial intelligence, Big Blue clearly wants to push beyond Oracle and other business IT rivals. But what is the human cost of that reinvention?

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11 Responses to “IBM Layoff Rumors Fly Fast and Furious”

  1. jgalt2000

    I think IBM isn’t moving fast enough. They need to lay off a LOT more people, so taht they can go out of business SOONER. That way they can get out of the way of people who are competent and capable enough to actually do the jobs that IBM have proven themselves incapable of.

  2. Rebel1IBM

    No the issues directly a mess up of upper management decisions, or lack of poor ones made. IBM is not the Company it used to be. They use to invest in their people and products. Provide real training and could keep the good ones with incentives. This is all gone now they been so bad of stepping over dollars to pick up pennies and forgot how to do business and how they existed for decades. Now it catching up with them. Their products are overly complex and required large investments to setup and support along with new staff members to maintain. This has cause a slowdown in sales and services, as many customers just not looking to make the investments. Sure they will survive but not going to be the IBM I knew and loved.

  3. Former Big Blue Alumni

    The problem isn’t competency. The problem is the drive for profit is higher than the drive to build relationships with customers. IBM’s extremely young, and mostly overseas workforce yields results that are not conducive to costomer-centric relationships. Making the “almighty dollar” your goal and placing inexperienced PMs in roles is a going trend in U.S. companies. After all, we are a country whose reality TV shows have titles like Revenge and Greed! You do the math. Mahalo…

  4. This is not new. IBM is experienced at laying folks off. They have a long history of putting profit first, people second. Look back to 1991-1992 when they laid tens of thousands during the john Akers days and several more waves as the economy ebbed and flowed around the planet.

    Hopefully, they’ll have fantastic severance packages for the people, and the families, that will be hurt by this!

    After all, it’s not personal, it’s just bidnez.

  5. They’re not rumors, it’s the truth !!! I am an IBM employee (well, until Feb 27th). Lots of us will be let go within the next month. Like the comments above, IBM is not the company it used to be. It no longer cares about its product or its employees. Now, it’s all about the “mighty dollar” and looking good to its investors, client and competition when behind the scenes it’s a company with poor managers, a bunch of temp employees who don’t know their trade and products that are over priced and too complex and are “backed up” with poor customer support/service by people overseas who have taken our jobs for 1/5 of our salaries. Good luck to all my IBM friends, hope you can jump off the ship before it sinks.

    • BillyBob Johnson

      Like every other major corporation, they only care what Wall St. thinks of them over the next 3-6 months. Nothing else matters. American corporations will go the same way as the dinosaurs, because they can’t see what’s coming up ahead because they’re too focused on the ground below their feet.

    • Good luck to you and all employees affected. I worked for a corporation with a heinous “stacked ranking” employee review process. They made my life so miserable that I laid myself off. It was labeled as retirement but I was pushed out the door (with no severance). Had to leave for self respect and mental health reasons.

  6. Mikey Potown

    I would rather live in a refrigerator box in the woods than work for this company. I have, and have had, many friends and colleagues who’ve worked there for decades, and have seen the culture there go from optimistic and supportive to Draconean and miserable. Karma catches up with all.

  7. Pathetic. Since the days of John Akers, up to now, they’re going to hurt people by laying off thousands upon thousands of people. Oops, forgot!! It’s nothing personal. It’s just bidnez.

  8. Steve D.

    Worked a IBM for a number of years, till I got outsourced by IBM last June. Its the American way of doing business. Fire Americans and hire cheap labor and talent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Once upon a time, IBM stood for “respect for the individual”. Those days are totally gone, so when that went so did my loyalty with the company. Yes, its all about “bidnez” now. Now IBM is still a 1st class company, with tons of talent. It is very hard to stand out in a company filled with smart, hard working, overachieving
    people. What is wrong with IBM and the other 1st class companies is that they could care less about USA and its people. They all got started here, made their name and $$$ in the USA, with our unmatched pool of talent, economy, laws, and infrastructure. So how do these companies repay us now? They “offshore” the work to low-wage countries and “teach them” how to do it. That is economic treason! They now say “its too expensive to hire US talent”, so IBM now has more employees in India then they do in the US. Imagine that, an american icon like IBM. Not only that, IBM bows down to Wall street who “wants it” that way. IBM also lobbies congress hard for TPP trade deals that continue to send jobs oversees. Thats what is wrong with IBM. A company that became great in the good old USA, now thinks it can have its cake and eat it too (yes, the top brass and wall street live here, but all the workers, they can all live in 3rd world countries). We need politicians who will “tax” companies that make their products oversees, like what Ford is doing in Mexico. “If you sell it here, you better design and build it here” should be the way its done. I think only Donald Trump made a reference to this, so he gets my vote. Meanwhile, IBM needs to remember “where” they achieved their greatness, and act accordingly.