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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—May 2, 2015

  • Columbia Daily Tribune:

    State suspends IBM incentives after layoffs. By Alicia Stice. Excerpts: Each employee left the closed-door meetings carrying a manila folder stuffed with discharge papers.

    It was about lunchtime on Jan. 28 when managers at Columbia’s IBM service center started calling employees into meeting rooms and offices; managers read from a script informing the employees that their jobs were gone.

    The company’s January layoffs, in which scores of IBM’s U.S. employees reportedly lost their jobs, hardly came as a surprise to people who had followed the company in the news. But that didn’t make the local layoffs any easier to swallow.

    “It was like a mortuary — half live bodies, half dying,” said a laid-off Columbia IBM employee who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Very tense, very sad.” ...

    The Columbia center at 2810 Lemone Industrial Blvd. was so battered by the January layoffs that the Department of Economic Development, which already has paid millions in incentives to Big Blue, has suspended the company’s last remaining incentive. ...

    Susan said the company has 453 full-time employees at its Columbia service center, 112 fewer than it had in June of last year, according to documents the Tribune received through an open records request. Days after the layoffs, the department had a legal team review the company’s employment reports to see whether IBM remained eligible for the incentives. ...

    To date, the state has doled out $4.1 million for the BUILD bond, $3.9 million for the Missouri Quality Jobs program and $1.71 million for training employees, Susan said. The BUILD incentive is the only ongoing state incentive for IBM’s Columbia service center. BUILD is a bond program designed to offset a company’s costs for things such as equipment and infrastructure.

    IBM spokesman Clint Roswell would not comment on the numbers IBM submitted to the state, and he described the self-reported figures as “rumors and speculation.”

    “I’m telling you quite directly that IBM has fulfilled its obligation to the state,” he said. “IBM has fulfilled its obligations to the state in regards to training, staffing and reporting. I’m not going to get into numbers.”

  • Columbia Daily Tribune:

    State documents refute IBM's job claims. by Alicia Stice. Excerpts: The neatly typed pages tell a story of dwindling job numbers and show the abrupt halt of a state incentive that helped entice a company many claimed would bring about 800 high-paying jobs to Columbia.

    Even after the state revealed that employment numbers at IBM had fallen so dramatically that the Department of Economic Development had suspended one of its incentives to the company, Big Blue adamantly denied the claims.

    IBM spokesman Clint Roswell on Monday continued to dispute the job losses at the Columbia service center. He claimed company officials were not aware of any suspended incentives from the state.

    “IBM has not been notified by the state nor has an ongoing incentive program been suspended,” he said in an email. “IBM has met all its obligations to the state.”

    An April 22 letter from the state to IBM’s Stephen Dodd, however, tells a different story.

    In the letter, Missouri Development Finance Board Executive Director Robert Miserez said the Business Use Incentives for Large-Scale Development program agreement established that if IBM’s number of employees fell below 500, the company’s BUILD eligibility would be suspended.

    IBM “is not entitled to receive any further tax credits until the number of jobs at the Columbia facility equals at least 500,” the letter said. ...

    Documents from the state show that IBM’s Columbia service center employed 153 fewer people on March 31 than it did in January 2014.

    Roswell did not return multiple phone calls Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, but he did send an email to the Tribune. “I was in contact this morning with the person to whom the letter posted on your website was addressed and, as of this morning, he has yet to receive it,” he wrote.

    After January’s reported layoffs at IBM, including at Columbia’s service center, the Department of Economic Development’s legal team started reviewing IBM’s incentive contracts to see whether IBM remained eligible for bonds and tax breaks.

    James Chapdelaine, director of the Columbia service center, said in a signed letter to the state on April 15 that the center employed 453 full-time workers as of March 31.

    When asked about the employment numbers for a previous Tribune story, Roswell said he did not know where those numbers came from and called them “rumors and speculation.” ...

    “It’s disappointing because we keep getting strung along here by being told by IBM that, ‘We’re well on our way’” to creating 800 jobs, Skala said. “All of this conversation leads people to believe they were achieving their goals while, all the while, they weren’t.”

  • Foreign Policy:

    Why Buy the Hardware When China Is Getting the IP for Free? IBM is sharing proprietary technology with Beijing in exchange for market access. Is it savvy or suicide? By David Wolf. Excerpts: In Beijing in late March, IBM CEO Virginia Rometty announced that the company’s new strategy in China will be to share its technology to help build the country’s IT industry.

    “If you’re a country, as China is, of 1.3 billion people, you would want an IT industry as well,” she told the crowd at the China Development Forum, a government-sponsored event. “I think some firms find that perhaps frightening. We, though, at IBM … find that to be a great opportunity.” ...

    Rometty needs a great opportunity. As the CEO of IBM since 2012, she has spent her more than 30-year career at the company watching it slowly shed the hardware, heft, and influence that earned it the “Big Blue” moniker. ...

    Faced with the decline and potential loss of China as a market, IBM has reacted by shifting to a strategy of trading technology for access. Over the past six months, the company has signed a spate of deals to allow local Chinese rivals to sell IBM products and technologies themselves. Among other things, it has handed software and hardware blueprints to local vendors, allowing them to produce a version of the leading-edge IBM Power8 processor and build and sell servers that compete with similar IBM products. It is letting Chinese rival Inspur bundle IBM database software with the local company’s servers, and it looks ready to do similar deals with software rivals like Yonyou. In short, the company is giving rival businesses access to technologies that are, for IBM, its competitive advantage. ...

    So is Rometty betting that the future value of the Chinese market to IBM will exceed the value of the rest of the world combined? If so, then it makes sense for the company to do anything possible to retain a foothold in China. But that seems very unlikely, and very unwise.

    If you hold stock in IBM, you’ll probably have a long list of questions at the next shareholders’ meeting: How long can IBM count on retaining that access to China, and to what end? How much longer can IBM rely on winning sales in China by empowering local companies, and how long will it take before those companies realize they have what they need to shove IBM out the door? And how long then until those very same companies start competing and displacing IBM in emerging and high-growth markets around the world?

    In return for access to a single — albeit huge — market, Rometty may well have sacrificed the company’s future. ...

    IBM, for its part, is doubtless aware that any control over its intellectual property in China is tenuous at best and that long-term success in China depends on milking its stream of patents. But, as leadership and innovation expert Steve Denning has noted, IBM’s shift in focus away from innovation and toward earnings under Rometty’s predecessor compelled the company to make deep cuts in R&D. With the support of institutional shareholders, Rometty has continued the trend. ...

    Cutting investment in innovation while potential rivals are doubling down on R&D suggests that IBM’s leadership remains more focused on shareholders than on innovation. Rometty must demonstrate either that IBM can deliver a stream of innovations that will make the emergence of technology transfer-enabled competitors irrelevant, or that China is worth more than the rest of the world combined. Otherwise, Rometty may be sacrificing the long-term viability of her company for a short-term opportunity in China.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • IBM is pissing its own pants to stay warm in the moment. But it will be a very short relief ...
    • You are absolutely correct. IBM and many other Corporate leaders have sold out their nations for short term gains. They have become part of the super wealthy and they and their families may reap those rewards for generations to come. But the average American will suffer terribly in the long run. The Chinese understand that greed will be our undoing and that they must become the leaders in every sector of innovation. They have never had a problem stealing, or buying intellectual property in order to gain an advantage. Unfortunately for the West, this will mean further declines in wealth and power. The rich will become richer, middle class will continue to falter and civil unrest will increase.
  • From last week's highlights,

    Dubuque Telegraph Herald:

    Grassley challenging IBM on jobs. The senator asks the corporation why it is laying off Iowans while seeking to hire foreign guest workers. By Jeff Montgomery. Excerpt: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is requesting details from IBM regarding the company's use of guest workers from foreign countries, emphasizing that this information is particularly important at a time when layoffs of American workers are ongoing.
  • IBM's Response to Senator Grassley's inquiry:

    View full letter in PDF format. Excerpts: Dear Senator Grassley, I am responding to your letter dated April 16, 2015 to IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty regarding the use of H1-B visas. IBM appreciates the opportunity to reaffirm our full commitment to meeting the letter and spirit of the H1-B program and other immigration and employment obligations.

    The high skilled visa programs provide a limited but necessary means for IBM to meet the near to medium term needs of its U.S. clients and our own business. The technology industry's shift to new, higher value growth areas such as cloud, analytics, mobile, security and social technologies is placing a greater premium on a new set of skills. These changes are exacerbating the skills shortage that we discussed with you during your 2013 visit to IBM's Dubuque center. ...

    While we must continue to draw on the global talent pool for U.S. needs, IBM's use of high skilled visa programs can be clearly distinguished from other companies:

    We bring foreign workers to the U.S. because those workers have specific profiles and expertise that we cannot source locally in a timely way to fulfill client contract requirements. We must use international talent if we are to succeed against foreign and domestic competitors. If we cannot bring the skills to the work in the U.S., then our clients may be forced to move the work to the skills, out of the U.S.

    IBM does not make a practice of cutting positions in the U.S. and then replacing those same positions with either U.S. citizens or foreign visa holders. In fact, temporary visa-holders only account for some five percent of IBM's U.S. workforce, a figure that has been steady for a number of years. This sets IBM apart from other companies that have upwards of 90 percent of their U.S. workforce on visas. ...

    7. Please provide me with a list of the job descriptions and locations for each of the approximately 5,800 petitions that IBM filed with USCIS for H-1B visas on April 1, 2015.

    The location of specific job roles is business confidential but among the most in-demand technology roles IBM is striving to fill are: mobile application developers, data analytics experts, software developers, applications analysts, computer systems consultants, IT project leaders and project managers. While many of these job titles are well established in our industry, the work required and the skills expected of professionals ls in these roles have changed dramatically. ...

    For longer-term talent needs, we must rely on America's education system. However, that system is not presently able to meet the demands of high-tech employers.

  • Alliance@IBM's Grassley-IBM-letter-Comments. Selected comments follow:
    • Comment 05/01/15:

      IBM response to Senator Grassley. "They bring foreign workers to the US because those workers have specific profiles and expertise that we cannot source locally in a timely way to fulfill client contract requirement." I say B.S. to that. I was 1 of 4 that was laid off in our 50's and 60's (blatant age discrimination.) We were the top knowledgeable employees in that department. We had to train our replacements, then we were gone. We were told our jobs were eliminated. Funny thing is our department is still there; they are mostly contractors and the employees overseas still don't have the experience to do the job. The other employees in a different department are very frustrated they are not getting the help they need like we had gave them and morale is at an all time high. So IBM, how is this helping your company and your cause??? People need to wake up and join the Alliance and fight. -Glad I'm Outta There-
    • Comment 05/01/15:

      I'm in Dubuque and I've not seen this intensive training. If it's referring to the online items, I wouldn't consider that intensive -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/01/15:

      I am a person who works with a company that has engaged IBM for services. These corporatists must have a standard letter they pass around to placate our bought and paid for politicians. I've seen this language before.

      The bottom line is there are plenty of people here (USA) that have the talent or can gain the talent but we don't want to live 6 in a 3-room apartment or sell our souls. I just saw a proposed piece of legislation that will take steak and seafood off the list of staples that can be bought with food stamps. We are seeing the disintegration of the American way of life continue at an accelerated pace. There will be a reckoning... Let us eat spam... -Anonymous-

    • Comment 05/01/15:

      The response from IBM lacks truthfulness. There are more highly skilled IT workers on the street right now than at any other time in US history. Now IBM wants to say "trade secret" when it comes time to discuss what skills were laid off. Apparently Iran learned to respond to this stuff from IBM. The response is absolutely a pack of lies couched as truth. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/01/15:

      If IBM can't find the resources here in the USA then I wonder why is it that the people I see laid off are in their late 40s and 50s? It's funny but I see them training younger people to do the job. The funnier part is they are training younger people from other countries to do the same job. Can anyone of the liars, and cheats in the company explain this to me? I'm just curious. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 05/01/15:

      Response is total dribble by IBM. Very contemptuous by IBM, I might say, to a US Senator. Some USA companies have 90% or more visa holders? WTF? OK, which USA COMPANY IBM? GIVE SPECIFICS, not dribble and generalizations! So IBM scoped out Dubuque because it had the skills IBM needed ready. I doubt it. They set up shop there for cheap USA labor under prevailing rates but within the lowest range. IBM got the incentives and that is all IBM cared about in setting up shop in Dubuque. -PatheticBlue-
    • Comment 05/01/15:

      Who is this VP Padila? A labor lawyer for IBM? Didn't Senator Grassley specifically ask Ginni Rometty for the answer to his letter? Why couldn't Ginni sign this letter at least? How rude and disrespectful of her and IBM. But totally typical of IBM. Just as bad as Gerstner sending Socks Bouchard in his place in front of the Washington DC joint committee hearing about the cash balance pension conversion. -Anonymous-
  • Flashback to fifteen years ago, April 26, 2000, Wall Street Journal:

    IBM Holders Defeat Pension Resolution; Employee-Led Issue Gets 28.4% of Votes (PDF). By Ellen E. Schultz and Jon G. Auerbach. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp. shareholders voted against an employee-led resolution urging the company to let workers choose between its old pension plan and its controversial new "cash-balance" plan. ...

    The resolution was fueled by IBM's shift to a cash-balance pension plan last year, which angered workers who discovered that the new plan would cut benefits for longer-service workers by 30% or more. After an employee uprising, which led to Senate hearings and government investigations, IBM in September allowed all employees 40 years old or older, and with at least 10 years of service, the choice of remaining in the old pension plan, bringing the number of employees with such an option to 65,000. ...

    "The company says it needs to be competitive, yet what they are doing has provoked a very negative response from a large number of their own employees who are supposedly highly valued," said James Heard, chief executive of Proxy Monitor, a leading proxy-voting adviser that supported the resolution. "If you've upset this many of your employees, you haven't done your homework."

    During the shareholders' meeting in Cleveland, IBM Chief Executive Louis V. Gerstner acknowledged that some IBM employees were upset but defended the new approach. "I know we have in this auditorium a group of very passionate employees who have strong opinions about the pension changes," he said. But he said other employees are "just as passionate in urging us to change the company even more." These other employees understand "that we must compete for talent and loyalty the same way our 'dot-com' technology competitors do -- more stock and cash upfront and fewer 'old fashioned' benefits like pensions, dependent care, long-term medical and adoption assistance." ...

    Employee Complaints. Attending the meeting were about 100 IBM employees from 16 different work locations. Some complained that their views weren't fully heard. The meeting, which was scheduled to last until noon, ended a half-hour early. Just as U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont who is an outspoken critic of IBM's new pension plan, stepped up to the microphone, IBM's Mr. Gerstner concluded the meeting. A spokeswoman for IBM later explained that there was a time parameter for the question-and-answer session and that Mr. Gerstner stuck to it.

    Editor's note: The following is a photo I took of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaking at the Alliance@IBM rally following the 2000 IBM Shareholder meeting:

  • Computerworld:

    Fury rises at Disney over use of foreign workers. By Patrick Thibodeau. Excerpts: At the end of October, IT employees at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts were called, one-by-one, into conference rooms to receive notice of their layoffs. Multiple conference rooms had been set aside for this purpose, and in each room an executive read from a script informing the worker that their last day would be Jan. 30, 2015.

    Some workers left the rooms crying; others appeared shocked. This went on all day. As each employee received a call to go to a conference room, others in the office looked up sometimes with pained expressions. One IT worker recalls a co-worker mouthing "no" as he walked by on the way to a conference room.

    What follows is a story of competing narratives about the restructuring of Disney's global IT operations of its parks and resorts division. But the focus is on the role of H-1B workers. Use of visa workers in a layoff is a public policy issue, particularly for Disney.

    Disney CEO Bob Iger is one of eight co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a leading group advocating for an increase in the H-1B visa cap. Last Friday, this partnership was a sponsor of an H-1B briefing at the U.S. Capitol for congressional staffers. The briefing was closed to the press.

    One of the briefing documents handed out at the congressional forum made this claim: "H-1B workers complement - instead of displace - U.S. Workers." It explains that as employers use foreign workers to fill "more technical and low-level jobs, firms are able to expand" and allow U.S. workers "to assume managerial and leadership positions."

    The document was obtained by Norman Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California at Davis and a longtime critic of the H-1B program. He posted it on his blog. ...

    From the perspective of five laid-off Disney IT workers, all of whom agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, Disney cut well-paid and longtime staff members, some who had been previously singled out for excellence, as it shifted work to contractors. These contractors used foreign labor, mostly from India. The laid-off workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting. ...

    The use of H-1B workers to displace U.S. workers is getting more attention in Congress. In response to Southern California Edison's use of foreign labor, 10 U.S. senators recently asked three federal agencies to investigate H-1B use. But one agency, the U.S. Department of Labor, wrote back last week and told the lawmakers that large H-1B using firms "are not prohibited from displacing U.S. workers" as long as they meet certain conditions, such as paying each H-1B worker at least $60,000 a year.

  • New York Times:

    Apple Won’t Always Rule. Just Look at IBM. By Jeff Sommer. Excerpts: In a few short years, Apple has become the biggest company on the planet by market value — so big that it dwarfs every other one on the stock market. It dominates the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index as no other company has in 30 years. ...

    I checked the numbers with Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S.&P. Dow Jones Indices. He found that the last market colossus to tower over its competitors by a two-to-one ratio was IBM, which did it in three successive years: 1983, 1984 and 1985. “That was when PCs were new,” he said, “and just about everyone thought IBM would rule the world.”

    Now it’s Apple’s world. Apple is the most widely held stock in American mutual fund portfolios. IBM, the former undisputed heavyweight champion, isn’t even in the running anymore. It ranks 62nd, according to a Morningstar analysis performed at my request. IBM is still an important company, but it is struggling. Investors judge it to be worth less than one-quarter of Apple’s market value today. What happened to IBM — how it became this small, in comparison with Apple — is worth remembering. ...

    I had forgotten how imposing IBM once was. By some measures, it was vastly more important than Apple is today. Measured by market cap, for example, IBM accounted for a staggering 6.4 percent of the S.&.P. 500 in 1985, IBM’s peak year — making it 2.35 times the size of the second-biggest company of its day, Exxon. ...

    With hindsight, it’s clear that IBM’s Olympian status was part of its problem. In the 1980s, at the height of its powers, it continued to come up with scientific breakthroughs and ultrafast computers, but its focus on its own product lines and customer service flagged. IBM “naïvely” handed over crucial parts of the computer business to companies like Microsoft and Intel, while its own profit margins began to erode, D. Quinn Mills, a professor at the Harvard Business School, has written.

  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM: Death, Taxes, And... You Guessed It! Excerpts: There are three certainties in life - death, taxes and a decline in IBM's quarterly revenue. IBM seems to be in a continuous restructuring mode as it makes the transition from a focus on hardware to software and services. That said, Q1 revenue declined 12% from the $22.2 billion reported a year earlier - IBM's 12th consecutive quarterly revenue decline. ...

    Are Cost Cuts The New Share BuyBacks? Heading into the quarter IBM had about $6.3 billion left under its share buyback program. The company spent $1.2 billion on repurchases in Q1 2015, down from $8.2 billion in Q1 2014. Now that buybacks will have less impact on EPS than in prior periods, IBM may have found another lever - cost cuts. Two of the biggest cost items in Q1 2015 were SG&A ($5.4 billion) and research and development ($1.3 billion). Together they represented 34.0% of revenue, down from 34.5% in Q1 2014.

    IBM's total expenses declined 13% Y/Y, outstripping the 12% decline in revenue. Due to expense reductions, income from operations only declined 5% Y/Y. If Rometty can continue to reduce expenses faster than revenue declines, it could help soften the blow of reduced share buybacks.

    Conclusion: IBM currently trades at about 14x p/e despite the fact that net income was flat Y/Y. The shares are up about 2% post-earnings, which speaks more to investors' infatuation with the equity markets than IBM's business prospects. With declining revenue and stagnant earnings going forward, I see no compelling reason for investors to own the stock.

  • Business Insider:

    Amazon just revealed it has a profitable, $6 billion beast of a business. By Julie Bort. Excerpts: At long last, Amazon has finally revealed numbers for its cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services (AWS). It generated $1.57 billion during the first quarter, which is in line with most analysts' projections, and it's pulling in about $6 billion per year.

    AWS is also profitable. It kept $265 million this quarter and it's on track to hit $1 billion in annual profits.

    This gives concrete proof that Amazon is, by at least one measure, the biggest cloud computing infrastructure player of all.

    IBM wants to dispute that. Last week it told Business Insider, when you combine all the things it calls a cloud on a trailing twelve-month basis, its cloud revenue is $7.7 billion.

    But it also clarified that what IBM is selling "as-a-Service" is on track to do $3.8 billion. That's a more apples-to-apples comparison to the kind of cloud that Amazon sells.

    IBM is well known for selling something called the hybrid cloud, which is when companies buy hardware and software the old-fashioned way and install it in their data centers but set it up so that it can tap into IBM's cloud (hosted elsewhere) if they need more storage.

    IBM also does well in the "private cloud," which is when companies remodel their data centers with hardware and software to mimic the big internet companies, which are are fast and efficient.

  • Financial Times:

    US share buybacks loot the future. By Edward Luce. Corporate leaders should put long-term growth ahead of quick gains. Excerpts: Observers of the US political scene complain about a dearth of leadership. The same is also true of the corporate world. Just as politicians are mesmerised by polls, chief executives are enslaved to the share price. Today’s US bull market is sustained by one key ingredient: the share buyback. Profit margins are falling. Investment opportunities are apparently lacking. All that remains is to shrink the number of shares. America’s buyback boom may not be a crisis of capitalism. But it is a warning sign. When companies put their chips on financial engineering they are betting against the future. ...

    There are wise investors, such as Warren Buffett, who argue that share buybacks are a rational way for companies to dispose of idle cash. Mr Buffett has made a lot of money from his stake in IBM over a period where its profit margins have been falling and it has been struggling to find a new business model. Like many troubled behemoths, it has kept shareholders happy by buying back its own shares. Between 2004 and 2013 IBM spent $116bn in buybacks, which accounted for 92 per cent of its profits, according to a Brookings paper. ...

    On a company-by-company basis, Mr Buffett has a point. But Larry Fink, the head of BlackRock — the largest asset manager in the world with a $4.65tn portfolio — has a better one. In a letter to 500 S&P chief executives this month, Mr Fink accused America’s business leaders of eating their own seed corn.

    Their obsession with short-termism would come at the expense of the future, he said. “More and more corporate leaders have responded with actions that can deliver immediate returns to shareholders . . . while underinvesting in innovation, skilled workforces or essential capital expenditures necessary to sustain long-term growth,” he wrote.

    Most chief executives, of course, won’t be around to take the blame. In the meantime they are making hay at society’s expense. Anything up to 90 per cent of CEO remuneration comes from equity-linked pay. Under remarkably lax Securities and Exchange Commission regulations companies can choose when and by how much to boost their executives’ rewards with the timing of their buybacks.

  • Perhaps an opportunity for Lou, Sam or Ginni?

    The Pursuitist:

    Rent A Florida Island For $250,000 And Indulge In Privacy. By Joan Stern. Excerpts: As the weather is warming, its time to head out to celebrate the spring season of 2015! If that isn’t enough and if you have more reasons up your sleeve to splurge $250,000 for a weekend, then book the Spring For a Private Island package at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa. ...

    Head to Florida to tie the knot at the over-the-top destination or celebrate an important anniversary or indulge co-workers and team members to celebrate your company’s extraordinary milestone at the private island! The $250,000 package will pamper the privileged guests for three full days with decadent fine dining, award-winning service, and luxury accommodations, as the resort’s dedicated team of specialists will ensure that all preparations are flawlessly executed.

  • BloombergBusiness:

    Sales of $100 Million Homes Rise to Record Worldwide. By John Gittelsohn. Excerpts: Demand for mega-mansions and penthouses has accelerated as wealthy buyers seek havens for their cash and search for alternative investments such as art and collectible real estate, according to a report Thursday by Christie’s International Real Estate, owned by auction house Christie’s. Five homes sold for more than $100 million last year, with at least 20 more on the market with nine-figure asking prices, the brokerage said. ...

    “You’re looking at a universe of over 1,800 billionaires who are starting to become members of this club of collectors of the most unique and incredible real estate in the world,” Dan Conn, chief executive officer of Christie’s International Real Estate, said in a telephone interview. “It’s something they’ll hold onto for a lifetime, the same way they’ll hold onto a Picasso or a Warhol or any number of the great pieces of art we’ve sold over the years.”

  • I, Cringely:

    The Indiana Pi Bill, Ellen Pao, and IBM. By Robert X. Cringely. Excerpts: Finally, a revised and somewhat updated version of my IBM book is out now in Japanese! Here (in English) is the Preface for the Japanese Edition:
    Why should Japanese readers care about the inner workings of IBM? They should care because IBM is a huge information technology supplier to Japanese industry and government. They should care because IBM Japan is a large employer with thousands of Japanese workers, most of them highly-paid. They should care because, of the American multinationals, IBM has always been the most like a Japanese company with strong corporate discipline and lifetime employment. Only IBM chose Japanese managers to run its subsidiary, making it not just IBM’s office in Japan but also Japan’s office at IBM.

    But times have changed. IBM no longer offers its workers lifetime employment. And many other aspects of the company have changed, too. Some of these changes have been in response to economic forces probably beyond IBM’s control, but others can be traced directly to IBM management abandoning the principles under which the company was run for many decades.

    IBM is a very different company today from what it was 10 or 20 years ago. That’s what this book is all about — how IBM has changed and why. It is not a happy story but it is an important one, because IBM is a bellwether for all its peers — peers that include big Japanese companies, too.

    IBM has lost its way. This book explains how that happened and why. And while IBM is nominally an American company, the impact of this change is felt everywhere IBM does business, including Japan.

  • New York Times:

    Apple, IBM and Japan Post See Profit in the Old-Age Market. By Steve Lohr. Excerpts: Japan is an incubator of aging. More than other country, it is a graying nation. Twenty-five percent of its population, or 33 million people, are age 65 or older, more than double the global average.

    IBM, Apple and Japan Post Group, a giant postal service, bank and insurer, declared on Thursday that they were joining to deliver a new technology service to the fast-growing market of older Japanese adults. The service involves equipping Japan’s silver generation with iPads loaded with software apps to help them communicate with family and friends, monitor their health, and buy goods and services. ...

    IBM is engaged in a footrace. It is trying to accelerate a strategic transition to depend more on new businesses like data analytics, cloud computing and specialized mobile apps, and the Japan Post project involves all those, as does its partnership with Apple.

    Virginia M. Rometty, IBM’s chief executive, observed that the joint work with Apple had so far created 22 enterprise apps in 11 industries, and the app count should reach 100 by the end of this year. The Japan Post project, she said, “builds on a remarkable partnership.” The message: The new stuff is going gangbusters.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “Downward slide”

      Current Employee Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA. Pros: There are very few things to list as positives. In all honesty, there are not many. This is very unfortunate. Cons: Too many to count. Complete and obsessive focus on cutting. Oh wait — they want our clients who don't trust us to buy even more. Advice to Management: Quit and make room for people who care about our clients and our reputation.
    • “Director, Business Development”

      Former Employee Director of Business Development in Atlanta, GA. I worked at IBM (More than 10 years). Pros: Some smart people, average benefits and pay. Cons: Poor product management, leadership, horrible management and evaluation process. "You can find better [than IBM], but you can't pay more." is spot on. Not leaders in any product, service or industry or geography that they compete in. They will advance a woman or minority over much more qualified individuals. Advice to Management: Quit
    • “It's a Sinking Ship”

      Current Employee Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 8 years). Pros: Sadly, nothing! It breaks my heart to say that it's not at all a good company to join. Please look for better opportunity. I have seen the company for more than 8 years. I learnt, performed and now frustrated like all others. Please put this company under ignore list. Cons: Bad quality of delivery, hiring bad employees, no strategy to keep good resources. Managers are helpless and hopeless; extremely sick relationship between employer and employee.
    • “Alliance Executive”

      Former Employee Alliance Sales Executive in Dallas, TX. I worked at IBM full-time (More than 3 years.) Pros: Great opportunity to do several things along your career path. Historically, this has been a great employer to work for. Cons: The current executive management are creating an environment where you constantly look over your shoulder to make sure a "resource action" isn't going to claim your job. Advice to Management: Re-evaluate your approach to saving money. At some point the bottom 10% are really good employees!
    • “Good until they became exploitive of there employees, to boost the bottom line”

      Former Employee Senior Distributed Production Control Specialist in Research Triangle Park, NC. I worked at IBM full-time (More than 10 years).

      Pros: They make you think you are important to them.

      Cons: They deceive the employee into thinking they are getting a fair wage for their services, when, in fact they are well below the current job scale.

      Advice to Management: Become more employee centric in order to boost loyalty and confidence, like IBM used to be in past years.

    • “Sales management”

      Former Employee Regional Sales Manager in Distrito Federal (Mexico). I worked at IBM full-time (More than a year).

      Pros: IBM has a strong historical culture, abide by strong values, truly manage gender equality and is a proud organization that has a great set of products and services in practically all IT areas.

      Cons:

      • Complicated internal processes, confused sales force organization, sales growth issues.
      • Lack of customer focus, lousy services, rigid and slow.
      • Most of the people work for themselves and put their own interest first and before the company.
      • Lots of politics inside.

      Advice to Management: It's a big challenge for local management to steer this big ship from so many icebergs. The management team need to focus on:

      • Gaining net new accounts
      • Sell cloud-related products and services
      • Continue buying markets.
    • “Project Manager”

      Current Employee Senior Managing Consultant in Karāchi (Pakistan). I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 10 years).

      Pros:

      • Biggest knowledge assets in the world
      • Multiple service lines to engage and grow
      • Largest system integrators in the world for Oracle, SAP & Microsoft Apps
      • Best company to work for as an ICT professional.

      Cons:

      • One level up management is pathetic
      • Technical people become managers and not able to lead from front
      • No good increments in last 4 years
      • Politics and favoritism is present in some countries.

      Advice to Management:

      • Learn to become a leader not politicians
      • Treat all of your employees as equal
      • Stop discrimination and favoritism
      • Raise the bar of your integrity
    • “Self-destructive and short-sighted”

      Former Employee Software Engineer in Philadelphia, PA. I worked at IBM full-time (More than a year).

      Pros: I can't speak for most IBM offices, as I've heard that your IBM experience depends on the culture of your office and how good your managers are at shielding you from all the process and bureaucracy. In that respect, I have nothing but admiration for my managers. My coworkers were also great. We were an acquisition, so we fought to keep our culture, with more success than I anticipated.

      Also:

      • Also: There are very smart people at IBM; you just have to know where to look, as nothing is easy to find.
      • There is relatively easy access to IBM software, if you need it. The flip side is you have to fight very hard to be able to use non-IBM software if they decide there is an "equivalent" tool made by IBM.

      Cons:

      • Many random-seeming decisions.
      • Layoffs, lack of reinvestment in the group, overburdening the remaining employees with everyone else's work.
      • Benefits not good.
      • Seemingly arbitrary review process that is clearly more political than merit-based.
      • The higher-ups still seem to think that offshoring is a good idea.

      Advice to Management:

      • Be good to your employees. Don't treat them like replaceable cogs. Most can get a job somewhere else. You should give them reasons to stay instead of hoping they leave and then hiring a fresh graduate for much less money and expecting them to perform immediately just as well.
      • Also, giving yourselves bonuses for laying off hard-working employees looks really bad.
    • “300mm Semiconductor engineer”

      Pros: IBM has the culture and the people that allowed SIGNIFICANT advanced to semiconductor IC technology over the years to the point we are now (2015) manufacturing the most sophisticated high performance ICs ever made by mankind.

      Cons: IBM's ICs are so high end and so expensive that IBM priced itself out of the OEM market. IBM Microelectronics' main customer, IBM server group (mid- and high-end servers) sells only thousands of units, not the millions of units of game consoles, for example, that are sold. The resultant money pit that IBM Microelectronic became led to persistent layoffs or threats of layoffs that has decimated the populated of IBM's 300mm fab.

    • “Sales Operations Manager”

      Former Employee Sales Operations Manager in Romeoville, IL. I worked at IBM full-time (More than a year). Pros: Large company with big brand-name recognition. Stability in focus areas. Cons: Total lack of transparency in direction from the top down, with the perception that there is no real direction. Constant layoffs ("Resource Actions") to drive shareholder value. The focus is on stock price, with customer and employee satisfaction a distant second. Advice to Management: You have a difficult job to transform such a large organization. Bring your employees into the discussion. Be transparent, be honest, stop treating them as adversaries.
    • “Talent and Change Management Strategy Consultant”

      Current Employee Senior Managing Consultant Strategy in Houston, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 10 years). Pros: Good salary and benefits; good people (for now). Cons: Old-fashioned, top down culture. Managers have little support. Very little work/life balance — expected to work very long hours. Business units work against one another instead of for the good of the client. Advice to Management: You are changing way too slow. The good people have left the company or are about to ; not sure IBM has the culture to deliver on its promise of leadership in the market.
    • “Awesome”

      Former Employee Business Systems Analyst in Calgary, AB (Canada). I worked at IBM (More than 10 years). Pros: Learning, experience in multiple clients. Cons: I could not find any cons in my experience
    • “IBM is diseased”

      Current Employee Marketing Professional in Zürich (Switzerland). I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 3 years). Pros: Flexible working hours; work at home. Cons: Poor salaries (compared to work/life balance), high performance pressure, successive reduction of all (fringe) benefits, stealthily lay-offs all over the company. Advice to Management: Stop pursuing $20 earnings per share (even if you officially withdrew this goal) and re-invest in the employees.
    • “Great if you are young”

      Former Employee Information Developer in Costa Mesa, CA. I worked at IBM full-time (More than 5 years). Pros: Cutting-edge technologies; tremendous education and learning resources available; great benefits. Cons: Older workers never seem to last because of resource actions. Advice to Management: Stop releasing senior staff members.
    • “Great place”

      Former Employee Senior Consultant in Newark, NJ. I worked at IBM full-time (More than 8 years). Pros: Great place to work. Good Benefits. The power of big blue in the market ensures there is lot of work. Cons: Slow progression. Focus on getting GD resources to replace US resources as they are cheaper. Advice to Management: Exhaust the US bench and then get in the GD resources. As US employee cost and salary are already a sunk cost
    • “Software Executive”

      Former Employee Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time (More than a year). Pros: You don't have to work very hard; the company is so big that if you want to get lost in the business you can. However, it is also big enough that you can do many different things while there. Cons: It is a giant slow moving behemoth where decision making authority is very high up. You can't do much that is creative or different. An executive can't even buy a round of drinks for his team very easily. Advice to Management: Stop trying to buy innovation. Learn to develop software and nurture ideas from your employees instead of acquiring 30 companies per year and then struggle to integrate them.
    • “Average Experience — focus is 100% on shareholder value”.

      Pros:

      • Corporate strategy includes several exciting products (Watson, Cloud, Apple Partnership, etc)

      Cons:

      • Too much focus on shareholder value. Not enough focus on clients and employees.
      • Employee morale is low — could be difficult to execute on the corporate strategies.

      Advice to Management:

      • Go back and read the history of IBM and pay particularly close attention to the values of IBM for the first 50+ years of its existence — focus on shareholders, clients, and employees (all 3).
      • The transformation will be easier if you develop a transformation strategy that is considerate of shareholders, clients, and employees.

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • Alliance Members Testify before NYC City Council, Rally to Oppose TPP Agreement
    • May is Older Americans Month
    • White House Conference on Aging Events Held this Week in Cleveland, Other Cities
    • Come to the Alliance’s Legislative Conference in July
    • Medicare Turns 50: The Promise of Retirement
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 04/24/15:

    -GladtobeGone- "To layoff senior aged employees and reduce retiree benefits just because we make a fair salary after 25+ years is not right nor fair".

    Nowadays no one cares if it is not right nor fair. Fairness is a quaint concept in today's economy. The question is: Is IBM breaking any laws? And not a single lawyer or news organization has been able to prove that IBM is breaking laws. So IBM employees only have two choices:

    • Join a union so that an agreement can be negotiated with IBM execs that will ensure fairness in hiring/firing process. It would then be illegal for IBM to just fire older people as they would be breaking the said agreement.
    • Quit IBM, find that rare company that is actually fair to its employees and get a job there. -KingSolomon-
  • Comment 04/25/15:

    GTS in Brazil is dead. The GBS layoffs will continue. Maybe they will shut down Hortolandia just like Belo Horizonte office. Tata agreement with GTS-SO was real and first- and second-line managers knew about it...bunch of LIARS -Anonymous-
  • Comment 04/25/15:

    This just about floored me when I saw it. IBM must have bribed a lot of employees to give glowing reviews in this survey. It's absolutely unbelievable: IBM Canada voted most attractive employer... https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/ibm-canada-ltd-voted-canadas-110000225.html -RA'ed 2 months ago-
  • Comment 04/27/15:

    @ -RA'ed 2 months ago- I was shocked when I saw the article indicating IBM Canada is the most attractive employer. Randstad must be either paid by IBM or they are drooling imbeciles. I work in a building full of people who want to be RA'd. It's like working with a clone army of Clint Eastwoods all saying "Go Ahead. Make my day" wanting IBM to pull the trigger. Those who are nimble have left or are leaving. It's pretty toxic and a lot of people have the motivation of barely getting out of bed. To solve this issue IBM has started putting propaganda posters on bulletin boards discussing "Pride" in working at IBM. -notimportant-
  • Comment 04/25/15:

    You better believe IBM only wants new hires to stay no longer than 2 years and 364 days. That way no vested benefits paid to them at all. I believe the 401k match is also not vested as well if the newbie signed up for the now watered down (due to deferred matching until 12/15 of each year) 401k plan when eligible to join. BTW, when was the last VP or SVP that has less than 10 years service in IBM? Professional executive hires? Most VPs and SVPs have 20+ years of service and IBM still pays them a RETENTION bonus each year to KEEP these losers. Like they are actually going to pull out and leave even if not paid a retention bonus. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 04/25/15:

    Everyone needs to stop saying that the executives need to be replaced with "younger" and start saying replaced with proven leaders. It is very discouraging to have worked in this company for almost 20 years and now have the useless executives bring in their children and sponsor them in what's called the emerging leaders program. Their children have zero experience and are pretty arrogant and lazy. They come from parents who have no leadership skills. And now we are being forced to try to work with these kids and teach them what 20 years of professional business acumen has taught us.

    They are also being given all of the assignments that are more visible and they are being given extensive travel budgets and not being expected to work once they get to events. Basically they're coming in and thinking they have celebrity status which is backed up by their executives who are too afraid to go against their Senior VP parents.

    The even bigger insult is that each of these "useless leaders" are now being tagged to the senior staff in our PBCs and we are measured on the work we're doing FOR them. The Board of Directors needs to clean house and bring in new proven leaders not people based on their age bracket. Get rid of these lazy non-loyal millennials before they spread a cancer that can't be stopped. -Disappointed and discouraged-

  • Comment 04/26/15:

    The H1-B list is shocking. Notice how it started to ramp up in 2009 when the wheels fell off. Most of the job families listed are being RA'd and replaced by cheaper H1-B workers for periods of 2-3 years. So that means the skills were here and it's just labor arbitrage, not a shortage of skills as preached from the mount. When their visas are up these folks are chucked out and replaced by more H1-B workers. No wonder the business cannot grow. H1-B drones are not in it for the long haul. From their perspective the USA is Nirvana even if they are paid and treated like slaves, which they are. They do the time and get out. Some hope to stay on. Doesn't happen. No long-term sponsorship. A great shame on Bruised Blue. No loyalty begets no loyalty. IBM ranks #5 in the country for H1-B's. Not the kind of list you want to rank high on. Misguided Idiots Bullying Minions. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 04/27/15

    : Re the letter from IBM management encouraging support of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Yes, be annoyed and afraid. I remember getting a letter from IBM management urging us to write letters to our congressmen in support of NAFTA. Back then the state I live in had a significant textile industry. No longer! But that's OK, because now we can all go to college for STEM and get a secure job with IBM. My dad encouraged me to go into engineering for financial security. He's turning in his grave! I am encouraging my children to avoid engineering, and I tell them that if they disregard my advice they should at least work for the government — not for a corporation. You all know that government employees still have the good sort of pensions, right? And firings are rare. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 04/27/15:

    The trouble with the entire management in IBM is that it all based on politics, the good old boy network, and how many happy hours you can attend, and how many weekends you can play golf. IBM management has no leadership skills, IT skills, or communication skills. The entire management team at IBM is full of greed and corruption, and are a complete joke to other IT companies. What is needed in IBM is a union to stop all the politics to become a manager in IBM. I spent 31 years with IBM and it's all about politics and the good old boy network to become a manager. The union needs to come into IBM and clean house of this entire management team. Without this happening moral will continue to be low, and quarterly revenues will continue to drop. -ANA-
  • Comment 04/27/15:

    To the person who asked about PIP in ISSW. I am currently on PIP; mine will end/expire at the end of April...so in a few days from now. My manager already scheduled a call to discuss it with me. I frankly have no hope whatsoever to keep my job but hope to get some type of severance package. There are plenty of jobs available for skilled consultants like the ones in ISSW, so I am not worried at all. I am sure my next job will be a lot better and rewarding than the one I currently have. Good Luck! -On PIP ISSW-
  • Comment 04/27/15:

    It's not just API Management that has dropped in stature with the true, independent unbiased test/review companies like Gartner (not to mention customers). IBM's APM (Application Performance Monitoring) product suite also dropped from the leader quadrant to the also-rans. IBM has been bragging lately that Gartner showed it has the share of the middleware space, but that's because those customers are trapped into those aging, decrepit stacks of software and can't get out easily (vendor lock-in), at least for now.

    Doesn't IBM have anything progressive to tout (see :tape drives and mainframes)? The brand names (Tivoli, Lotus, Rational, WebSphere) had to be abandoned because of the bad will now associated with all of them. The Portal Server and 'SmartCloud' product names are now dropped because it stands for crap (see: CIA loss and embarrassment). APM is actually the Tivoli ITCAM stack, which customers hated and is horrible bloat ware and proprietary. So IBM renames all this to make it look 'new' and associates it with 'cloud revenue' even though it's nothing of the sort.

    Too bad they don't think this hard about how to be innovative, instead of spending the brain power on deception and fraud (see: lawsuits about the hardware sale). Hey, I know — IBM execs — here's an idea: THINK. Nothing new here in the IBM product space, move along now. -ShipGoingDown-

  • Comment 04/27/15:

    "The Board of Directors needs to clean house and bring in new proven leaders not people based on their age bracket."

    True. But, The IBM BOD is a big, big part of the leadership and accountability issue at IBM. They are not young themselves. They execute even older. They are not leaders themselves anymore despite their so-called qualified lofty titles and experience. None of them should be on the present IBM Board of Directors. They are near bottom of the executive barrel. Notice how many Indian, Chinese, Russian, and Brazilian IBM directors there are? Is there ONE? -Anonymous-

  • Comment 04/27/15: Cringely nails IBM again. http://www.cringely.com/2015/04/27/aws-shows-cloud-is-not-a-high-margin-business/
    "Some conveniently forget that IBM struggled and stumbled badly for its first several years in the cloud business, which it ran under a variety of names. Big Blue struggled with cloud because — like the PC — when dealing with a low margin business IBM does not know how to operate in that mode. Buying Softlayer got IBM back into the cloud business. Softlayer, not IBM, knew how to do cloud computing."
  • Comment 04/28/15:

    I wrote earlier about being given a PBC 3 after 30 + years at IBM with many years at 2+. I am over 55 and a woman. I am blessed to have lasted this long, and felt such pride in being an IBMer since college, but now I feel shame and anger. After completing 30 days of the required 90 day PIP (performance improvement plan), doing my best to respond to each weekly PIP objective, my boss is indifferent and condescending.

    I was hoping to get a reduced ISAP (13 week severance) after 90 days, but I won't make it that long. This is making me sick, and I may simply retire; which is what management wants. I know IBM owes me nothing but my paycheck and my hard-earned pension. In truth, I would have welcomed the RA, as opposed to this. Sadly, I'm not sure a Union can save IBM. I must believe there is life after IBM, but at this moment, I'm struggling to see it. -Anonymous in S&D-

  • Comment 04/28/15:

    H1B Visas are not about technical skills, its about underbidding your competitor with cheaper labor. Lets take a look at GBS hourly rates to customers. (I will just use round numbers):
    • Band 10: Mid $300/hour
    • Band 09: High $200/hour
    • Band 08: Low $200/hour
    • Band 07: High $100/hour
    • Band 06: Mid $100/hour
    • H1B visa holders: $120/hour
    • Offshore: $25to $60/hour

    If you just look at the numbers, they are saying H1B Visa Holders are less valuable than Band 06's. Meanwhile, IBM is laying off Band 08's to Band 10's, and replacing these higher-skilled workers with lower skilled workers to reduce contract costs and win bids. -H1B Sham-

  • Comment 04/28/15:

    Cloud and security are supposed to be two of the focus areas. But annual security training warns employees not to put IBM confidential info into the IBM cloud because it might not meet the standards of the IBM security corporate instruction ITCS104. So IBM is happy to vend insecure cloud services to its customers that it would not feel appropriate to use for its own data. -Perception_Matters-
  • Comment 04/28/15:

    I am also in ISSW and on PIP. Mine will end at the end of May. I have been given totally unrealistic objectives which I will not be able to meet. So, I am just not sure what happens after that. My resume is updated and on the Net. ISSW is an organization on its death bed. Sales reps can't meet their targets because all the products are commodities these days and most customers are already fully skilled, and therefore no longer requires services. Bench is at an-all time high. ISSW rates are also way too high which does not help in deploying consultants. Very sad; let's organize people! -Another PIP in ISSW-
  • Comment 04/28/15:

    IBM comes out today with a much higher dividend payment to appease the Warren Buffets of the world, to shut the stockholders up so the executive team and board of directors won't be held accountable for the complete disaster occurring within the company, and all of the people addicted to that dividend crack get all excited. The stock is shooting up but many buy for the dividends then sell after, knowing the company isn't worth much more.

    How long can IBM afford to pay those high dividends when the company is failing so miserably? More financial engineering and smoke and mirrors. How can IBM ignore the obvious horrible morale in this company?

    Second quarter RAs should start soon, probably after this latest appeasement and distraction, so buckle up folks. Did we get any protesters to the stockholders meeting today? Every employee should see this as another slap in the face and be motivated to join the Alliance and vote down the CEO and company on glassdoor.com anonymously. Take action, fight back. This is your company's war against YOU. -LowMorale-

  • Comment 04/29/15:

    In response to Anonymous who wrote: "To be honest, I don't understand why IBM just does not ask who wants a redundancy package...actually yes I do!"

    You don't understand why? Let me tell you why. Because there would be a stampede that same day. Don't you see that people are leaving IBM in droves, with or without incentives? Those who can (i.e. those who still have some reasonable value on the job market) are leaving, or at a minimum are seriously thinking about leaving. The majority of those who stay are either pathetic "yes persons", or poor souls whom the company has rendered unemployable, by committing them to years and years of chores that have no value whatsoever out of the IBM machinery. -LeftWithoutAPackage-

  • Comment 04/29/15:

    -LowMorale- You got it right! Notice how the IBM stock went up about $3 on the the dividend announcement and then went down the same after hours. Warren Buffett can eat his heart out now. Now IBM or Inept Business Management will announce a stock buyback since plan A (the increased dividend) didn't work for more than 24 hours. So if ya were a within day trader ya made out; but the rest got nada. -Buffetted-
  • Comment 04/29/15:

    -H1B Sham- so I am only getting $36 an hour as a band 8 and IBM is billing over $200 an hour for my services? I get just about 18%. I'm being pimped! Shame on you IBM you greedy immoral creeps! -band08ed-
  • Comment 04/29/15:

    "Buy the stock and you get to vote on who stays in power. -Anon" If you can afford to buy more stock then say Warren Buffet owns, you may have a little say. Not total say, but a little. If you are really that rich why are you working here? Your only real chance of having a say in anything that affects your life is to organize and vote in a union. New CEO and Board of directors does not untie any of you from the whipping post, It just hands the whip to a new set of swinging arms. Wake up and smell the coffee at your union hall. -Exodus2007-
  • Comment 04/29/15:

    I'm a Manpower contractor in Westchester County NY. Over time the ranks of local administrative assistants have been shrinking. Many IBM admins were forced to "retire" at end of February '15. To underbid competitors, Manpower assistants get no vacation pay and no sick pay. Manpower "benefits" are a joke so those in need pay premiums after taxes for Obamacare. The cleaning people on site have better compensation and paid time off.

    There are HUNDREDS of Manpower assistants working as IBM contractors in Malaysia. And then there is the newly established hub of assistants in Costa Rica. Soon the only on-site admin support will be for top VPs. Everyone else can scramble to get clerical but unfathomable tasks accomplished. We have assorted reasons for staying in this Walmart; others of us are looking for better jobs in a disappearing field. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 04/29/15:

    @-Perception_Matters-, Yes, IBM will sell anything whether it is secure or actually works or not. There was a desktop product that was found to be so insecure it was ordered withdrawn from deployment and marketing. Sales organizations revolted and escalated until at SVP level they quashed. It was only withdrawn from US and Canada; it was not withdrawn from EMEA, SA, APG regions.

    A product failed during hands-on customer demos and it was found to be unstable. Marketing had the upper hand and it was months till the problems visibly manifested themselves via customer complaints. IBM Cloud wise, the 9. intranet itself is not secure; the former CISO knew this and stated such in conferences. There is a reason why the CIO organization is referred to as the Clueless Incompetent Organization. -aon-

  • Comment 04/29/15:

    In response to -Anon- ... Warren Buffett now "runs" IBM; not Ginni Rometty. She and the board are all his puppets. And all he is interested in is the dividend payout. From what I read, Buffett now owns 7.8% of IBM outstanding shares which I figure to be about 78M shares. At the $1.10 dividend he received $85M (per quarter). At the new dividend of $1.30 he will rake in over $101M (per quarter). -BlueKnight-
  • Comment 04/30/15:

    When leaving IBM (congrats!) do not turn in your badge. You can still get IBM discounts on car rentals, hotels and also can get in free to some cultural events for free. If your manager is a decent person they will not have a problem with this...if they do tell them you lost it or the dog ate it! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 04/30/15:

    Since someone asked about PIP in ISSW. I had my call with my manager earlier today about my PIP ending. As I expected, my manager gave me my 30 days since he said I did not meet my objectives! I am getting a severance package that is half of what they usually give. In my case, 13 weeks. So I am out. I have 30 days to find another job outside IBM which is not bad at all. Glad to be out. If you are on a PIP I would strongly suggest you update your resume and start searching now. As I understand there may not be a way to survive a PIP. Good luck to the rest of you in ISSW. -PIP ISSW-
  • Comment 04/30/15:

    Yup cuts happening now in Canada. 31 years of service and I am being terminated since my job position is being eliminated and the work consolidated to California. A lovely 59th birthday present from IBM. Are there other things I could do? Yes. Do I have the option to pursue? No. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 04/30/15:

    "If your manager is a decent person they will not have a problem with this...(letting you keep you IBM badge for)..."

    Your manager has to deactivate your access so the security strip or chip doesn't allow IBM access once you're gone anyhow. Then the badge is just plastic photo identification. IBM still keeps your employee number for you even when you're gone. So, yes, why can't your manager just do this? If you're retirement or Quarter Century Club eligible don't you get to keep an IBM badge?

    Oh, forgot, stupid me; IBM doesn't want to give you any benefit when you leave for anything and IBM managers don't trust ANY resource: present or ex. And some just might like the power trip of stripping you of the badge by surrendering it. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 05/01/15:

    My job is being eliminated. I am eight months away from getting the FHA. HR is telling my boss that I loose it. I'm on the PPA and and am technically within one year of retirement eligibility so I can bridge. Can anyone please point me to someplace that I can validate that the one-year bridge will get me the FHA? -Anon-
  • Comment 05/01/15:

    -PIP ISSW-, Now I am realizing why IBM introduced PIP for first time PBC 3s. They want to squeeze 3 months (PIP period) out of the person and let him go by giving 3 months severance (instead of giving 6 months severance upfront). -sameboat-
  • Comment 05/01/15:

    "Hearing lots of scuttlebutt about RA's happening for Q3 lists are already out to managers - anybody hearing anything? -Anonymous-" Yes...they already started that off in Canada and in Brazil. Not sure about US...but layoff happening until 3Q this year. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 05/01/15:

    Another start of layoffs coming up this month in Brazil...the pain will last until 3Q 2015 on a monthly basis. Glad I am gone. Prepare your resume specially if you are not allocated to a dedicated client or does not have enough billable hours to claim. Your first-line manager can not help you. IBM will lay off them this time as well. The old IBM is dead bunch of puppets. Praise for IBM stocks to raise. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 05/01/15:

    -recentretired- "You must be 55 at the time you retire to get the FHA." Absolutely right! AND making it to 30 years employment service but not being 55 years old at time of end of IBM employment means NO FHA. Amazing how many IBMers who get RA'd, PIP'd and fired, or retire at 30 years or more still don't know these sad facts. The Alliance has made these facts clear for many, many years. -FutureHELLAccount-
If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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