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IBM Businesses The Almighty Buck

Perspectives On the Latest IBM Layoffs 135

Posted by timothy
from the still-biggish-blue dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After IBM reported disappointing Q1 earnings in March, to nobody's surprise, layoffs (RAs or 'Resource Actions' in IBM parlance) were announced two months later; June 12 seemed to be when most of the pink slips were handed out. While this is hardly a novel occurrence at IBM, this time the RA'd employee water cooler page is now open for everyone's inspection, and Cringely let loose with some predictable I-told-you-so's about financially oriented IBM senior management. Dan Burger at IT Jungle has a more numbers-oriented take on the latest round of layoffs."
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Perspectives On the Latest IBM Layoffs

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  • Thanks timothy! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kamapuaa (555446) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:18AM (#44100247) Homepage

    Dude is hilarious. "I call them like I see them and always have. That’s my reputation. Ask Steve Ballmer at Microsoft if he likes my work and he may very well say “no.” Ask Larry Ellison. Ask Larry Page. You can’t ask Steve Jobs but you can ask Tim Cook. Do they like my work? No. no, and no. Now ask if they respect my work and every one of those men will probably say “yes.” Because I call them like I see them and always have."

    And then in the "About" section: "Most recently, Cringely was the host and writer of the Maryland Public Television documentary “The Tranformation Age: Surviving a Technology Revolution with Robert X. Cringely." He also wrote for Infoworld until 1995, before getting fired.

    What is the shocking truth about IBM? They don't release some corporate information that isn't required to be made public (no surprise), they do cost-cutting (maybe for stock buy-backs or something). Wow, that's one hard hitting blog article.

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:21AM (#44100271) Homepage Journal

    Though I feel for these employees that will watch their work go elsewhere, cheaper, more flexible/captive, and lower quality.

    It's the lies IBM will tell its customers, starting with the quality lies, then the onshore/offshore lies, and finally the resource commitment lies.

    And how the government customers will roll over and ignore the contract provisions.

    And later will stop asking IBM to even bother to keep work and data onshore when it is required by law.

    Corpratists. Crony Capitalism. we are being fleeced.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:27AM (#44100317)

    Though I feel for these employees that will watch their work go elsewhere, cheaper, more flexible/captive, and lower quality.

    Nonsense, Sanjay delivers most excellent work professional! He is to give you fine product definite! And his English is making superb! Great documentation and phone support is his being best at and is to be forthcoming!

  • Re:Union (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:42AM (#44100453)

    Cutting costs not to go broke? Where have you been the last 40 years? Companies don't "cut costs" to avoid closing. They "cut costs" to appease wall street and the financial sector. Companies only make products and sell services as a front. Their real business is an incestuous stock market scam where they work staff to the bone, then fire them and ride the short-term profit wave caused by no having to pay said worker. (Your work and contributions earn a company money for many months after you leave. That code you wrote, contract landed, or book you balanced does not vanish when you leave.)

    "Costs" are saved as executives and upper management get bonuses and make money hand over fist, all as the company is slowly chopped in to pieces and loaded with debt. Eventually the company crashes, and the execs float on their golden parachutes to the next gig, where they do the same thing all over again.

    Eventually we're going to run out of things to run in to the ground. What then, America?

  • Re:Worked at IBM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:55AM (#44100581) Journal
    If you know you're going to go, why do people train their offshore replacements. Just get it over with. Tell them to go fuck themselves and learn the systems on their own, then leave. If need be, start looking for work right at the outset and set that as the priority; not training the fucking offshore scabs. Then leave. If a company has that little loyalty to you, then fuck 'em, they don't deserve a work ethic of any sort, nor any loyalty.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:48AM (#44101243)

    So why do you suddenly feel surprised that the one profession that can easily work from home is now getting outsourced ?

    No one is surprised.

    What you are missing is the lies that corporate America tells: that they are going offshore because they can't get qualified Americans. It's of no surprise to anyone - except for you - that corporations are going overseas to save costs.

    Suddenly you talk of Corporate citizenship! US companies have always made plans with their investors in mind - not their employees, and considering most of your companies make more money outside the US than in US... the only reason to call them a US company is because of their incorporation in Delaware.

    What's this 'suddenly'?

    And no, back in the old days, companies like Dupont, Ford, and even IBM, and many others, prided themselves on taking care of their employees, their communities and their investors.

    Over the last few decades, that attitude has become "quaint" and corporations have developed this slash and burn mentality that benefits their CEOS at the expense of the employees and the shareholders.

    This is about well connected and incompetent people getting these CEO jobs, fucking up a company, and getting compensated handsomely for performance that would have a member of the rank and file fired.

    Your and the mod's naivete is pathetic.

  • Re:IBM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:51AM (#44101283)

    Your radiology xrays are read by MDs abroad, and even your military is fed by workers from 3rd world countries. So it is but obvious that Americans love cheap stuff and dont really care about where it is manufactured or assembled ( e.g. iPhone) or who does the work.

    That's a gross oversimplification. I'm not opposed to importing goods and services, so long as the trade is balanced.

    So why do you suddenly feel surprised that the one profession that can easily work from home is now getting outsourced ?

    Sudden? You call the last 13 years sudden? And programming is far from the only job that can be performed at home. Think of your radiologist example (though that happens less than you might think, thanks to the doctor's union). Think call center operations, much accounting and legal work, etc.

    White collar jobs are no different from blue collar jobs, because the value added compared to the compensation is severely mismatched in the USA.

    How do you come to the conclusion that it's severely mismatched? It's slightly mismatched. If it wasn't mismatched at all then we'd eliminate our persistent trade deficit. Of course this leads sycophantic pundits to say that American workers should be more "globally competitive" (i.e. work for less), as though the $50k/yr person should suddenly accept $40k. Wrong approach, because what matters in terms of international comparisons is what someone earns times the exchange rate. $100k means nothing to a European to pays for things in Euros, until you convert it by the exchange rate. So what has to happen is for the exchange value of the dollar to drop.

    Why pay $100K for someone when it can be done by an equally experienced guy in India, Argentina or Eastern Europe for $30K ?

    Because in many cases that $30k is a false economy. Outsourcing often doesn't save much money because of all the additional management and oversight required. That doesn't even include the quality, support and delivery time issues. To the extent it does save money, the difference is just shoveled into the pockets of CEO's and shareholder. That doesn't save money for the customer, it just shuffles the money to different people.

    the only reason to call them a US company is because of their incorporation in Delaware

    I completely agree. Companies that do more work outside of the US than in it shouldn't be allowed to be American companies.

  • by rijrunner (263757) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @12:09PM (#44101501)

    Though I feel for these employees that will watch their work go elsewhere, cheaper, more flexible/captive, and lower quality.

    It's the lies IBM will tell its customers, starting with the quality lies, then the onshore/offshore lies, and finally the resource commitment lies.

    And how the government customers will roll over and ignore the contract provisions.

    And later will stop asking IBM to even bother to keep work and data onshore when it is required by law.

    Corpratists. Crony Capitalism. we are being fleeced.

    When I was at IBM, it worked like this..

    1Q disappointing sales.
    2Q layoffs.
    3Q OMG, look at things improve
    4Q Look at how we've improved. Let's give the execs a bonus equivalent to the combined salary of the people we laid off.
    1Q disappointing sales.
    2Q layoffs.
    3Q OMG, look at things improve
    4Q Look at how we've improved. Let's give the execs a bonus equivalent to the combined salary of the people we laid off.
    1Q disappointing sales.
    2Q layoffs.
    3Q OMG, look at things improve
    4Q Look at how we've improved. Let's give the execs a bonus equivalent to the combined salary of the people we laid off.

  • Re:Worked at IBM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @12:19PM (#44101649)

    Agree 110% on this one.

    I'm back at a former employer because of this fact. Never burn bridges.

    Here's my scenario -- I worked for 5 years for my previous and now current employer. Around years 4 and 5, a wave of management insanity swept over them and they nearly gutted our main product's engineering team. When I was asked to move somewhere I absolutely don't want to live for no reason other than "resource consolidation", I quit. I went to a new employer for another 4 years, then got a phone call basically saying "We really want you back, all the insane people got fired and all is well again. Here's a new, more interesting job and a raise." So I traded in a job I liked but with a crappy commute for a new job at my old employer, and I'm pretty happy.

    A colleague of mine didn't fare as well. When my boss tried to hire him back, he got all the way through the final offer stage only to have HR tell him "absolutely not, under no circumstances, not even as a contractor." Unbeknownst to my boss, this guy made his exit interview a big drama-fest, permanently marking him as a "never-rehire" guy. I was polite in mine, basically told them I didn't want to move, and that I'd come back if the climate improved and they wanted me.

    SO, it may be tempting to go out in a blaze of glory, but it's a small world and you never know when you might need to call in a favor or two.

  • by cmorriss (471077) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @12:38PM (#44101967)

    While what you're saying is true for some corporations in the U.S., maybe most, there are plenty that treat their employees with respect as long as their employees respect the company. I left IBM for just such a company and am VERY happy at my new job. IBM will slowly whither and die if it continues on its track. Natural selection and a healthy entrepreneurship continually reform the corporate landscape ensuring only the fittest survive in the long run. And to be the fittest, you have to have a healthy corporate culture and good people.

  • by harrkev (623093) <kfmsd@harrelsonf ... g minus language> on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:40PM (#44102713) Homepage

    The company that I work for is starting down this same path, so I am getting laid off in a few day. It is so incredibly short-sighted to be focused on the next quarter instead of the quarter that is five or ten years away.

    I have also noticed that every company wants to have 95th percentile engineers, but they all want to pay 50th percentile salaries. Does anybody else see the logical contradiction there?

    By the way: anybody need an ASIC or FPGA designer (RTL or physical design) in the Colorado Springs area?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:46PM (#44104255)

    Actually, India was a pretty bad choice for offshoring as far as language goes, since their English more resembles British than US. A better choice would have been Filipino, where they either speak American style English, or Tagalog. I have no idea whether the Romanians or Poles speak English more similar to Brits than Americans.

    In the early days of offshoring, one selling point about Indians was that they speak English, which is horse-manure. Most of the people who are hired for call centers are NOT the local equivalents of the Indian kids in the US who win the national spelling bee & other contests, or your average urban graduates from English missionary schools: they are more often than not people from the suburbs (since only THEY are as willing to work for such low pay), and those type of people do NOT speak English properly, if at all. That's the main reason Americans have such issues with their language skills. And faced with talking in style to people halfway around the world, they get cold feet, easily chicken out and hand over calls to their supervisors the moment they have to enter a real conversation. Leaving the people at the other end under no illusions that they are dealing with people totally incapable of doing the job that was offshored to them. And hence, a pretty rational reason for resentment, on top of having to lose their own jobs to them.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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