What would a private IBM be like, I wonder?
It would be very interesting to see something huge like a pension fund or investment house leverage-buyout IBM and take it private. You would need Sagan-esque "billions and billions" of dollars to do it, but the experiment would be fascinating. It seems to me that any company with so much in the way of resources, patents and intellectual capital could do incredibly well when removed from the yoke that is the public market. I've been watching the slow decline of IBM for quite a while from the outside, just as an observer and occasional customer.
That would be an MBA case study for the ages and any success would probably cause MBA's brains to self-destruct. They've been conditioned for so long to manage purely by spreadsheet, not own anything, focus on next quarter, get rid of as many talented expensive people as they can, and care only for the share price.
I'm old (just turned 40 last year,) but I still say that large employers owe some loyalty to their workers if that loyalty is returned. People work for large employers because they're not Silicon Valley entrepreneur types -- they're there to do a job. In previous times, a job well done was rewarded with promotions, competitive pay and no capricious layoffs. I do know a lot of older IBMers who echo the article's sentiments -- up until Gerstner showed up and shook things up, it was a great place to work. You could expect to be moved several times in a career and put in a lot of extra time for the company,but it was rewarded with a stable life for one's family. I think one of the problems is that employees are seeing even the IBMs, the GEs and the other huge companies treating their employees as disposable. Once that gets too far embedded in people's psyche, they're not willing to give any loyalty back which is why you see people leaving jobs after only a year for just a small salary increase or silly perk that the current company doesn't have.