back to article IBM will erase 100,000 workers - man with one name

IBM could layoff - get out your really, really big box of tissues - more than 100,000 workers, according to some guy at PBS. A PBS writer calling himself Cringely claims that IBM's hush-hush 1,300 person layoff this week could be the start of a not so quiet mass cleaving. Under a project dubbed LEAN, IBM will allegedly gut at …

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Anonymous Coward

Don't consider it impossible

Usually I don't post anonymously but after 29 years with IBM, I need to be circumspect here ...

Listen, don't consider this impossible. I would think that if you asked anyone who'd worked for IBM more than about 15 years or so they'd tell you that the thing that has changed the most over the years is that quite clearly, the corporation simply does not give a damn about the welfare of the workforce.

What it does care about is pumping up the stock price, thereby plumping the pockets of the upper executive ranks.

If that group of swine thought axing 100,000 of us would put a nickel on the stock price or a dime in their pockets, they'd do in a heartbeat with no qualms whatever.

IBM's not its own unique culture any more and hasn't been for quite sometime. It's just another place to get a paycheck.

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Anonymous Coward

Do you actually know who Bob Cringely is?

"some guy at PBS"

Do you actually know who Bob Cringely is?

This guy knows more about the industry, then you could, even if the industry folded itself in half, and lodged itself somewhere dark in your pants - the same dark place your article seemed to emanate from.

Go watch Glory of the Geeks and Triumph of the Nerds - 3hours of documentary, plotting the rise and numerous falls of the computer industry from it's humble origins, to the pointy-hat-skateboarding dotcom boom. Oh, and the story is told by his friends and previous employers - a few whose names have filtered down into your padded cell you may recognise: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, half of Xerox PARC, Larry Ellison...

Go get an education.

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Anonymous Coward

It figures

What a way to boost margins... Sack the folks who've been busting their balls, or boobs (not a sexist here) to build up big blue, only to have the carpet pulled out from under them, in the name of "share holder equity". But does the share holder actually benefit? Briefly. Does the economy benefit? Briefly, from all the cash the execs blow on their bonus's by hiring Habu or Wang to read from a script, inadequately, I might add.

Why don't they just pull a Haliburton and close shop in the US and move all operations to the far east and just stop prolonging the inevitable?

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Anonymous Coward

Probably not as bad as Cringley said, but even half is a massacre

As the person who posted this "Don't consider it impossible

Posted Saturday 5th May 2007 00:57 GMT " said, I also generally don't make it a habit of posting anonymously on sites... but after spending my adult life so far at IBM (the entire time, in IGS), since before I could even vote, I also need to hide my identity in this case.

I have a very hard time believing that 100k jobs could be offshored, outsourced, or outright eliminated in the next 7 months. But I do think that it's going to be way worse than IBM is making it out to be. They wouldn't have an incredibly scary acronym (LEAN) all ready to go if it was only 1,300 jobs on the line. 1,300 is nothing to a company with 350,000. I'd venture to say that half of the people I've worked with in a significant capacity over the years have already received pink slips. Luckily, so far no one I currently work directly with has.

IGS is undoubtedly bloated, and undoubtedly mismanaged. Our contract bidding process is a joke. There's no sense of direction. And (for IBM as a whole) Sammyboy just keeps selling off divisions, for good and bad reasons. It's hard to have faith in a company like that. Yet we still do. Sure, we go to work every day, we make fun of the company, make fun of how badly organized it is - but whether we've been there 5, 10, 20, or 45 years none of us have ever seriously considered voluntarily leaving.

With employees that dedicated despite being in constant fear of their jobs - and I'm certainly not saying everyone is dedicated, but there is a large amount... and in what company do you ever find only dedicated employees - how do you then toss out the employees? More to the point, how do you manage to screw up so badly when your employees are trying so hard?

I've never figured out the answers to these questions... and I would be almost surprised if am not laid off fairly soon, as my current project was canceled a couple weeks ago... but I still love the company, still love being an IBM employee, and still will not voluntarily leave.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Dear Anon Poster

I'm quite familiar with Cringely.

I fear an attempt at humor may have been lost.

AV

www.theduckrabbit.com

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Something's wrong with my math?

"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."

well, as far as I can tell from the 2006 Annual Report, the US total of IBM's 355,000 population is 127,000 people.

How do you cut 150,000 from that?

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Anonymous Coward

I trust that IBM

will off shore a similar proportion of director positions - you could get 1000 graduates for their money and still save

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Anonymous Coward

LEAN

LEAN is the name of a project being undertaken by Barclays to streamline internal processes. IBM are involved in this somehow but I'm not sure exactly how as I work on the ground. Just thought I'd mention it.

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Anonymous Coward

IBM is going to bomb if they fire so many people...

... and for what ? Start hiring indians and chinese to replace them thru outsourcing, perhaps ? Yeah, great.. to ensure lower product quality and lower expertise with just a lot of hype sorrounding them, just like all the outsourced support lines that many multinationals started getting from India a China... so great support that those people both don't have a clue about customers technical questions and barely know english or any language other then theirs.

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Anonymous Coward

Cringely can't do math

Cringely says that 140,000 will be laid off, but that isn't 40% of U.S. IGS staffing, or even 40% of IBM's entire U.S. staff. That is about 40% of the entire company, world-wide, ALL divisions. Given that half the company doesn't work for Global Services, and only half of the company is in the U.S., that puts Cringely off by something vaguely resembling a factor of four-ish.

If Cringely can't even land in the ballpark, I treat that entire article as extremely suspect.

IBM's employment numbers are not some kind of big secret... they print them in the annual report. About five whole minutes of research would have been required to do a sanity check on this one.

SirWired

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't it ironic

there are three main focus areas. One is business, research, getting work done. Another is controlling - see where money comes from and ensure everybody gets paid.

The third one is Processes - what some dumba** involved in it once praised to me as the Real Value of Any Company.

Guess what? These guys and gals are a kick in the * for anyone. It's not about getting the job done, it's about getting the processes compliance.

You just got a check from a customer for, say 150k of services, for a three months project. Good, but you just had an offer printed for 100k over two months. Your moral duty in the company is go back to customer, hand back the check and say that within a month or two (the time needed for process compliance) you'll be back with the proper paperwork - and tell them that you are a very dynamic company looking forward to doing real business FAST.

I wouldn't care less if Processes people got LEANed.

Guess what? You got it wrong. It's the engineers, research and you-name-it departments that will be hit most - with the help of the new processes drawn by the Processes division. Oh I forgot to mention - we just hired 100's consultants to help us with Project LEAN.

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Anonymous Coward

Yet they're hiring

I used to work for a company that has recently been bought by IBM (ISS). Thursday I received a job offer from them. There are plenty of jobs at IBM that can only be done in the US. Global Services isn't going to hire an Indian to do an assessment of a US company.

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Anonymous Coward

Ha. Who's to worry?

As yet another IBM employee, although I haven't had a look at the article yet, somewhere along the line the whole thing has gone out of perspective. There's nothing about LEAN (which was, incidentally, developed by Toyota to compete with the US motor market: go reference LEAN / Sigma 6) that looks at getting rid of staff. It's more aimed at streamlining processes (getting rid of the extraneous administrivia) and stopping wasted time and resources than anything else.

Sure, automation and offshoring come into it, but what company doesn't consider moving what they can to a cheaper location?

As far as the figures (and the project) are concerned, it's not just restricted to the "Mighty U.S" - we're going through the same processes here in Asia Pacific... After all, we did it to the US and now India and China are doing it to us...

If only the whole thing would apply to middle and upper management and not just at the coal face, it would be soooo much more effective :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Bob's Numbers....

I bet the numbers given to Bob X includes all the contractors we dumped (which aren't reported on) as well as employees. We have A LOT of contractors. If you take contractor elimination into account his number isn't that far fetched.

Expect to see more "resource actions" throughout the year.

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What's wrong with this picture...

Actually, there's probably a few things wrong with it. But the idea that a 1300 people layoff is just the lead-in to something that big seems more than a little weak. It's usually a lot smarter to do all the layoffs at once, even if we're talking about a really big layoff, as otherwise it fosters an environment where everyone is thinking "ok, when's the next one" and "am I next?" Morale goes all to hell, and IBM's been around long enough to know that. If they were to lay off 1300 people ever week for the rest of the year it wouldn't be enough to reach the total o'l Cringe is suggesting, and even that much would be a total nightmare for everyone, and would be an continujous negative news story for IBM. Even a monthly layoff would be pretty painful, at least 15,000/mo, which would again be a PR & morale nightmare. It's far better to get it all over at once. The credibility of this story seems pretty low-- though that's not all that unusual for Cringe, who IMHO has been pretty out-of-touch with reality since the very beginning of his InfoWorld days. Of late he seems to be suffering (as are we) from the Dr Seuss syndrome, at least in his InfoWorld column titles: http://www.infoworld.com/columnists/robert.html

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Anonymous Coward

Oh please

All you conspiracy people are nuts. This is just more Corporate hating propoganda. IBM would never do anything like this, besides they could never keep it a secret that long if it was true. But now you take the word of "some [paranoid, lunatic] guy at PBS" as gospel. Keep coming up with your crazy theories and conjecture.

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Anonymous Coward

Cringley cloned

"Robert X. Cringely" was always a pseudonym, but according to the PBS site:

"On the Existence of Other Cringelys:

"Through a cruel twist of fate having to do with federal judges and unscrupulous lawyers there is, for the moment, more than one Robert X. Cringely. You are right now reading the one true Cringely, author, raconteur, TV personality, and pizza delivery specialist. The "other" Cringely writes a column on the back page of InfoWorld, a weekly PC trade rag."

All potentially confusing, but I don't suppose PBS-Cringe should be blamed for Infoworld-Cringe and vice-versa...

Of course, none of this addresses the veracity of Cringely's (the PBS version) rumour regarding layoffs IBM. Chances are, PBS-Cringe slipped a decimal. However, experience suggests that it would be unwise to underestimate the extent to which corporate management would screw their employees if they thought it would help the stock price. Always remember that most of the compensation for the guys at the top is stock or stock options. Most CEOs/directors/board-members would sell their own children to Hannibal Lector for a good jump in the stock price.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do you actually know who Bob Cringely is?

I think when Ashlee wrote things like "the Cringely person" and "writer calling himself Cringely" it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek and almost a tip of the cap to a fellow, well known, journalist.

Even if he doesn't quite agree with him on this point.

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