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    Highlights for week ending April 20, 2002
  • IBM employees: There is a new survey for employees at http://www.allianceibm.org. Please take a moment to answer the three questions. The results will be presented at the Annual Meeting.

  • IBM.com: IBM Announces First-Quarter 2002 Results

  • Annex Research: Big Blue Starting to Unravel. Excerpts: "Put it all together, and you will see is that the universe is unfolding as it should; that the noose of truth and justice is slowly tightening up around the necks of “Sir Lou” and his enterprising Big Blue 'financial engineers.' It is rather unfortunate that Big Blue starting to unravel on Sam Palmisano’s watch. On the other hand, “Teflon Sam” was in the kitchen when Sir Lou’s broth was being 'Enronized.' So if he had a problem with that, Palmisano could have blown a whistle or bailed out. But then, he wouldn't be 'Teflon Sam,' would he?"

  • Annex Research: A Disastrous Quarter! Worse Growth Than Any under Akers: ALL Business Lines Decline! Stand By for IBM Stock to Rise. Excerpts: "'We remain confident about the fundamental strength of our business and about our prospects of the future,' said IBM’s new CEO, Sam Palmisano. Wish his former boss were as confident. Lou Gerstner wouldn’t have dumped $424 million of IBM shares before riding into the sunset, headed for golf courses."

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: IBM earnings nosedive. Income down 32% from 2001 quarter. Excerpts: "IBM also revealed Wed-nesday its solution to cut hard-drive losses: sell to a new company to be largely owned by Hitachi Ltd. of Japan. Would IBM go beyond this sale 'and take other actions to reduce the exposure in terms of the volatility in this sector?' asked John Young of UBS Warburg. 'We need to work on the turnaround,' Joyce said, 'and get our costs and expenses down to a point where we could live through this semiconductor slowdown.' He said $250 million in costs had been cut out so far this year. That's mostly jobs, and he has previously said $1 billion will be cut this year. He also referred to ''work-force rebalancing,'' which means hiring some while firing others because of the ''changing requirements of skills and continuing efforts to improve our productivity.'

  • "loushouldquit": Lou got more credit than he deserved. Excerpts: "I truly believe that IBM does not do anything illegal with regards to accounting practices. Aggressive, yes. Illegal, no. Our execs are not that stupid. And I'm sure what we do is very much standard practice amongst most major corporations. What I think is a major problem today at corporate America is excessive executive compensation tied to stock options. Do we want executives to have a vested interest in how a company performs? Of course we do. But should an individual have the opportunity to cash in 500M in a single year based on the stock price at a single point in time?" ... "Look at what Lou has done over the past several years. We constantly have propped up the stock price by stock buybacks. We have spent billions of dollars on these buybacks." ... "Point is Lou should have made more strategic acquisitions rather than using all of our cash flow to pump up the price of the stock, which of course, helps his options. These were short term measures, at best. So at the same time, while he's spending all of our cash flow on buy backs to prop up the stock and cash in 500 million in options, he pisses off about 50,000 people by screwing them on their pensions to save a paltry 100 million."

  • TheStreet.com: Shame on Us Pesky Nitpickers. Excerpt: "Turning to the company's (IBM's) affinity for 'other income,' it's important to note that out of the $1.7 billion it made, approximately $500 million was other income treated as a reduction of SG&A, which this time was broken out. Had it not been for the flap caused by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Gretchen Morgenson at The New York Times and the ensuing stories, I doubt we would have gotten that information. So, one can see that even the new, lower numbers aren't from operations. Of course, IBM wants you to believe that it will be able to keep producing this other income all the time. In any case, to get a feel for how the company orchestrates its reporting, I urge people to try to listen to the call or read the transcript. This big, visible company is just a perfect example of the farce that is still being played out, despite the uproar over analyst and corporate shenanigans."

  • Business Week: Can IBM Shake Its Big Blues? Excerpt: "In the near term, the earnings warning serves as a way for new IBM CEO Sam Palmisano to lower expectations. It also gives him an opportunity to prove he can show growth with less help from financial engineering. Indeed, many of the accounting steps the company has used -- such as booking gains from pension income, one-time asset sales, and share repurchases -- aren't expected to produce the desired results in the current environment. IBM says it expects return on 2002 pension income to come down significantly from $904 million in 2001, and it plans to spend less on stock buybacks over the year. "

  • CBS MarketWatch: Return of the shareholder. Commentary: Enron, HWP cases breed activism. Excerpts: "Like the cherry blossoms in Washington and opening day of baseball season, corporate annual meetings are a rite of spring in America; a chance for executives to cast off the deeds of the previous year and look ahead with optimism. Not this time. The collapse of Enron, the atrocious behavior of Wall Street and the amazing one-man campaign by Walter Hewlett to try to derail the Hewlett-Packard-Compaq merger show that more than ever before that it's time for shareholders to send a message to the boardrooms. Why have shares of IBM and General Electric tanked just as their new leaders have taken over from the retiring icons who made the companies so successful?

  • IBM Nostalgia (sound card required). Thanks to "justa_bean_counter" for this. Turn up the volume. Don't be shy...Thomas J Watson sings "Ever Onward."
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
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