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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—August 8, 2015

  • Wall Street Journal:

    IBM, Apple’s Rival-Turned-Partner, Plans to Help Other Companies Adopt Mac. Big Blue, set to be the world’s largest corporate user of MacBooks, expands collaboration. By Robert McMillan. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp. and Apple Inc. used to be bitter rivals, but lately they have been spending quality time together.

    More than 100 IBM employees occupy Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus helping build iPhone and iPad apps for IBM customers such as Citigroup Inc., Sprint Corp. and Japan Post Holdings Co.

    Things are looking different inside IBM, too. Once a company of blue suits, Wintel personal computers and BlackBerrys, Big Blue is on track to become the world’s largest corporate user of MacBooks. On Wednesday, the company began to apply lessons it has learned, introducing a service intended to help other companies adopt Macs.

    Employing 380,000 workers, IBM has a unique challenge in competing with nimble Silicon Valley startups in the market for information-technology services, which research firm Gartner Inc. estimates at $981 billion globally. According to IBM Chief Information Officer Jeff Smith, the question facing the company is: “Can we have the innovation of the best, smallest companies and the scale of IBM, and figure out a way to turn culture into a competitive advantage?” ...

    Three years ago IBM banned internal use of Apple’s Siri, the iPhone voice assistant, over worries about data security. Apparently, there were Apple fans in the company; when IBM first offered Macs to its workers in May, 185,000 employees read the internal announcement, Mr. Smith said. “It really hit a nerve with IBMers,” he added.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Why doesn't Apple, with five times the market cap and a ton of cash, just buy IBM?
    • ...because nobody in their right mind would take on the boat anchor of IBM. All these guys do is sell off divisions because of margin compression (servers, PCs, cash/retail, etc). And, then, they don't have a plan to replace the lost revenue. You can only buy back so much stock before the truth of zero growth because of zero innovation comes home to roost.
    • The article states that IBM employs 380,000 workers but forgot to mention that 79% of them or 300,200 workers are overseas in places like India. It's fine if they want to do that but let's not pretend that they are even remotely an American company or even interested in doing something that benefits Americans. They are fully invested in the principles of free labor...oops...I mean free trade.
    • Looks to me more a case of grasping the straws through external partnerships, rather than innovating from inside out.
    • Why can't IBM make insanely great products on its own and leave the whole "solutions" business to vendors free to specify the best components - free of conflicts? Is it too late to crank up the creativity and risk appetite that made IBM great - once - the Selectric, the 1401, the 360?
    • Keep in mind that Tim Cook at first spent several very good and productive years with IBM in the PC Company. He still has a lot of friends and colleagues at IBM, even though the PC business has since moved to Lenovo. It is a personal relationship that has been bound to flower into a full business relationship, and that will likely be good for both companies
  • The Register:

    IBM and Apple sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g e-n-t-e-r-p-r-i-s-e b-u-y-e-r-s Macs! People like Macs! And people will like us! Yes, us! scream Big Blue execs. By Shaun Nichols. Excerpts: IBM is once again pushing its software-for-suits in tandem with Apple.

    Big Blue said it will sell its enterprise customers Mac desktops and notebooks pre-loaded with its IT management software and services. The bundles are aimed at helping IT departments integrate Macs with their current software platforms.

    Under the new program, dubbed MobileFirst Managed Mobility, businesses can order Macs directly from IBM and have the Apple machines pre-loaded and configured with IBM's enterprise software and management tools. For larger customers, Big Blue will also allow the Macs to be custom configured to run with internal applications and services.

  • New York Times:

    IBM Adds Medical Images to Watson, Buying Merge Healthcare for $1 Billion. By Steve Lohr. Excerpts: IBM is adding medical images to the health data its Watson artificial-intelligence can mine to help doctors make diagnoses.

    The big technology company announced on Thursday morning that it was buying Merge Healthcare, a medical-imaging software company, for $1 billion. When IBM set up its Watson health business in April, it began with a couple of smaller medical data acquisitions and industry partnerships with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. Last week, IBM announced a partnership with CVS Health, the large pharmacy chain, to develop data-driven services to help people with chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease better manage their health. ...

    The company is investing not only money but also some of its corporate reputation on the belief that it can be a technological leader in improving health care, with better outcomes for patients and more efficient spending for providers, insurers and patients.

    In an interview on the “Charlie Rose” program on PBS in April, Virginia M. Rometty, IBM’s chief executive, spoke of the company’s role over the years in supplying technology for big projects, from computerizing census statistics to putting astronauts on the moon.

    “Our moonshot,” Ms. Rometty said, “will be the impact we will have on health care.”

  • The Register:

    IBM splashes a BEEELLLLION dollars on med pics biz. Big Blue buys more to feed its IBM Watson health monster. By Kat Hall. Excerpts: IBM is splashing $1bn (£644m) to buy medical image handling and processing biz Merge, part of plans to beef up its Watson Health division unveiled in April. ...

    John Kelly, senior veep at the IBM Research and Solutions Portfolio, said: "Healthcare will be one of IBM’s biggest growth areas over the next 10 years, which is why we are making a major investment to drive industry transformation and to facilitate a higher quality of care."

    IBM has been desperately trying to re-invent itself in an attempt to revive its falling profits, which last month shrank again for the thirteenth consecutive quarter. ...

    Mike Rogers, analyst at Megabuyte, said of the latest deal: "Although the Merge deal – Watson's third such health-related acquisition – was completed at a chunky multiple, it may be worth every penny should IBM realise the potential value of Merge's technology platforms over time."

    A reader comment follows:

    • Meh! So... there's this thing called CAD (Computer Aided Diagnosis) that's been around for *years*.

      For a radiologist, mammography is the toughest film to read. (Yes I know its digital)

      So there's a system that has been around to do image processing to help spot things that a Radiologist might miss.

      Since the number of images in a study, even if it took 3-4 minutes to review an image, the overall time would be less than it took to take the images.

      With respect to an MRI, you have multiple slices and the tech takes a handful of the slices and sends them off to the radiologist to review. Many more images.

      Here, you could use Big Data to do the image processing in parallel.

      Again, its not a stretch and nothing really new.

      The difference is that these images are less complex to read than a mammography so that the need for a CAD system isn't really necessary. So why spend millions of dollars on a cluster and software to review studies that don't need a CAD review in the first place?

      Again it's IBM trying to find a problem for their solution.

  • Austin Business Journal:

    A blockbuster deal for North Austin: IBM sells campus near The Domain, more development planned. By Jan Buchholz. Excerpt: Brandywine Realty Trust announced a huge investment in the Austin market — a day after another real estate company announced it also is sinking more big cash into commercial real estate here.

    Brandywine has bought out IBM Corp. at the so-called "Broadmoor" campus at 11501 Burnet Road. It's adjacent to The Domain neighborhood and commercial complex in North Austin and has much more room to grow. Brandywine and its predecessors and IBM had owned the campus in partnership since 1991.

  • InformationWeek:

    IBM Locks Up Cloud Processes With Patents. IBM has received 1,200 patents on cloud computing over the last 18 months. Here's a sample of what Big Blue is patenting and why it's a concern. By Charles Babcock. Excerpts: Over the past 18 months, IBM has secured 1,200 patents on cloud computing, including about 400 in the first half of 2015 alone.

    One is about scaling down a virtual machine as its traffic recedes, another deploys sensitive data to a secure server, and a third creates snapshots of virtual machines for rapid recovery in the event of a failed workload.

    These examples don't necessarily bring to mind a sense of blinding brilliance or original innovation, but these cloud operations can be patented. For those who conceive of the cloud as an environment based on public standards with many shared elements, the grant of these patents isn't entirely reassuring.

    IBM, one of the world's largest patent-holders, year after year, and a leading patent acquirer, is busy applying the skills of its stable of patent lawyers in order to gain more cloud patents. ...

    Granted IBM, with its Bluemix developer platform-as-a-service or its Softlayer cloud data centers, might have specific inventions and innovations that IBM wishes to protect. But the nature of IBM's patents cited doesn't appear to be particular to Bluemix, Softlayer, or any other IBM-originated service. ...

    Rather, they appear to be more general-purpose cloud processes or operations that many service providers already use or would implement if left free to do so. IBM's patent library might therefore be used to demand royalty payments from other service providers or, perhaps equally likely, be used to ward off claims made against IBM by aggressive patent-holders among the service providers. ...

    Then there's Patent 9,015,164 for the high availability of virtual servers. "Aspects of the disclosed invention enable a cloud environment to take snapshots of virtual machines, which can then be used for recovery purposes." Really? Snapshotting is patentable in the cloud? It's widely used in many ways in storage systems, including cloud storage systems. Why would IBM be able to get a patent on that? Read "High Availability for Cloud Servers" and perhaps you can explain it to me.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “Overall, good experience”

      Former Employee — Consultant in Kingwood, TX. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Quality projects and people in Global Business Services. Cons: PBC process is subjective. If you get one bad review, you're screwed. Advice to Management: Sell GBS while there is value. The consulting business does not fit with the other products that IBM is now promoting.
    • “Stuck in the Middle”

      Current Employee — Storage Consultant.

      Pros: Home office. Remote work allowed, decent 401k program, with the right manager advancement is possible.


      • Required to work from home office, but must pay for all equipment and supplies myself, no reimbursement
      • Lack of Raises — have not had a pay raise in 6 years
      • PBC rating system the pits you against your team mates for the quota allowance of top ratings. (last year average 68 hours per week; brought in $450k of add-on business (I am not a sales person) and received praising letters from all customers. I was rated a 2 because there was only one 2+ available.
      • I have worked for 18 years and every year I see more of our very knowledgeable, top performers, in my opinion, either leave or get a Resource Action (laid off) due to "cost savings" measures.

      Advice to Management: Get rid of the PBC system that pits us against each other and adopt a system that actually rewards all your top performers and promotes collaboration instead of back stabbing

    • “Sales Specialist”

      Former Employee — Sales Specialist in Nairobi (Kenya). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: Excellent exposure that can catapult one's career. I loved the fact that you worked with people from all over the world. Lots of opportunities for development, training, mentorship programs. Good work ethic, highly structured company.

      Cons: Be prepared for culture shock, too much structure and procedure slows you down.

      Advice to Management: I believe hiring is a way of getting fresh blood into the organisation, with the intention of replacing the older blood someday. Most new hires are frustrated due to lower pay than competition, doubled with the fact that they hardly climb ever into management positions, even after performing. This explains why the organisation is hemorrhaging — only its young blood sadly.

    • “IBM Global Business Services”

      Former Employee — Managing Consultant. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros: Wide variety of career opportunities and online learning; great benefits. Cons: Individual recognition is not easy to receive; too little focus on client feedback to a project team than on hours billed; experienced, skilled workers with positive client feedback does not seem to be a factor for retaining key resources.
    • “Another big company”

      Current Employee — People Manager in Bratislava (Slovakia). I have been working at IBM full-time. Pros: Pretends to take care of people. You can have a career if you are willing to sacrifice a good part of your real life. Cons: Sucks out all energy you have. Advice to Management: Live your values and do not preach it.
    • “Sinking”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time. Pros: Stable. Above average reputation. Lots of opportunities for work. Cons: Sinking ship, quarterly performance continues to dwindle year after year. Lots of office politics/red tape. Advice to Management: Revamp management tactics, focus on getting quality people who know how to manage people and resources.
    • “Great place to hide and collect cash if that's your goal”

      Former Employee — Technical Solutions Manager in Chicago, IL. I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Negotiated hotel discounts you can use for personal travel (bring your badge). If all you want to do is follow a bunch of rules and continue to collect great paychecks without really doing much work, this is your place!

      Cons: Obsessing about "checking boxes" on stifling bureaucratic processes and silly administrivia rules cast across all employees in attempts to be more efficient that do anything but. They keep acquiring the smaller and more agile companies I go work for as their source of innovation.

      Advice to Management: You have employees, not children; stop nannying to the point of locking down productivity in attempts to shave an extra few million in travel costs or home office expenses — you might have a few offenders take advantage but in the long run the gains will far outweigh the lost revenues. Getting VP approval to take a client out to a $20 lunch is just stupid when you are trying to sell them $3M of software, especially when you can't reach him on your mobile because the 90-day approval process on international roaming didn't hit your phone on time for the meeting.

    • “Manufacturing is dead.”

      Former Employee — IT Specialist in San Jose, CA . I worked at IBM (less than a year).

      Pros: It's a big company with a diverse culture. There are some very smart interesting people there and it has a great history to be proud of. Depending in which part you work your experience will vary. Nice benefits, perks through IBM club, still has a strong future. The Watson project seems like a very exciting venture.

      Cons: Poor compensation. Many seemingly bad management decisions being made costing the company more money. Over the past 20 years the value IBM places in its employees has seemed to greatly diminish. Lots of jobs sent outside the borders. Hard if not impossible to move within the company. The bureaucracy one needs to navigate to get anything done is counter productive. (This is from a manufacturing perspective. Other parts of the company may be very different.)

      Advice to Management: Stop tossing babies out with the bath water. Have seen a lot of good talent tossed out the door because upper management did not understand the value it had.

    • “Outsourcing”

      Current Employee — Production Control Analyst in Houston, TX. I have been working at IBM (more than 5 years). Pros: Not many for American workers anymore. Cons: Outsourcing basically every quarter. Terrible management!!! Advice to Management: Value American workers.
    • “Great training with low job security”

      Current Employee — Systems Service Representative. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Great training and experience. Livable wage and decent benefits.

      Cons: Management is out of touch with employees. Too many layoffs and they have been known to force people to move without any relocation assistance. I feel a sense of instability in my position. I've had 3 managers in my first year. Morale is very low among SSRs.

    • “Race to the bottom”

      Former Employee — STSM in Georgetown, TX. I worked at IBM (less than a year). Pros: Steady work. Smart colleagues. Interesting businesses. Good way to gain experience. Cons: Under the past two CEOs IBM focuses on bodies and utilization to maximize profit. They are much less concerned with innovating and making customers successful to maximize revenue. Advice to Management: Focus on top-line growth instead of bottom-line tricks. Listen to what your MBAs tell you and do the opposite.
    • “Project Manager

      ” Former Employee — Project Manager in Houston, TX. I worked at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Great folks to work with! Super Opportunities! Management cares about personal/business life balances. Very caring! Cons: Long hours, but doing interesting work. Advice to Management: Keep the focus on Watson! There is a lot of opportunity there! Hang in there! It will get better.
    • “Cheap trumps quality”

      Current Employee — I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Ability to work from home with globally diverse teams. Cons: Frequent layoffs with the majority of operations moving outside the US. Advice to Management: You'd think with 13 quarters of losses in a row that executives would realize the mass layoffs and offshoring strategies aren't turning things around. Cheap does not trump the quality service delivery customers expect from IBM.
    • “Managing consultant”

      Former Employee — Managing Consultant, Project Manager in Istanbul (Turkey). I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Not too much to say positive but it is international company and there is some obligatory benefit opportunities. Cons: Pressure from management level and behaviour unprofessional. career depends on your manager. It was the case in Istanbul office. SAP Leader was not able to understand the SAP but she was managing.
    • “Smarter Workforce”

      Current Employee — Client Partner in London, England (UK). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: Big name reputation; Huge vision and ambition; Exciting transformation; Integrity in leading on doing what we say our customers should do (Bring Your Own Device, Social & Mobile Collaboration, Analytics just some examples)

      Cons: Crushing processes; Unrealistic targets; Tactical, month by month and even week by week focus on numbers at expense of strategic planning; A slow-moving behemoth.

      Advice to Management: Set everyone up for success — not failure

    • “Good employment for the long term”

      Current Employee — Product Engineer in Atlanta, GA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros: Benefits, macro-management, teamwork, growth, flexible. Cons: Outdated tech, some areas still micro-manage, out-of-touch management, below standard pay, still believes in office environment instead of leading in telecommuting. Advice to Management: Pay employees the standard pay or above. Upgrade workstations to the latest tech every 3 years, not 4 to 5. Move to the new standard, telecommute macro-managing employees.
    • “The Rise And Fall Of IBM”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Prescott Valley, AZ. I worked at IBM part-time (more than a year). Pros: All the 'Pros' disappeared from IBM starting back in 2008 when employees were identified at 'Resources'. Cons: IBM is trying to go out of business. Advice to Management: Technical staff are the people who gain the buy-in from customers not sales people.
    • “Like the military — slow to recognize and promote talent”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR Doesn't Recommend Negative Outlook CEO I worked at IBM full-time (more than 5 years).

      Pros: They used to have cutting edge technology and superior people; asset availability and deployment was never a problem for field personnel who needed access to help.

      Cons: Seniority system was clearly in effect; superior performers received minimal salary increases and promotions were few and far between. For an organization whose motto is "Think" those who did any thinking were usually in the minority and frequently ignored.

      Advice to Management: Shed the turf preservation mentality and when possible work together. Understand you are where you are because you were there first, in most cases.

    • “Good First Job”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Rochester, MN. I have been working at IBM (less than a year). Pros: Great way to start off your career in Finance. They do a great job teaching you the basics and instilling a sense of work ethic. Cons: The downside is that the salary is low, and they will ask you do more and more work with out a pay increase.
    • “GBS Senior Consultant”

      Current Employee - Senior Consultant in New York, NY Recommends Positive Outlook CEO I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year),

      Pros: Get to work with very smart people who like to work hard. Pay is good relative to other companies in the industry. IBM is a huge brand name that other companies respect when recruiting. Good baseline to begin your career.

      Cons: No real insight into management even within GBS or your practice. Focus is all on bottom line. Seems like each person is just a billable asset to management. No real worry about growing each team member

      Advice to Management: Keep top performers engaged and learning. Does not seem like top performers are appreciated. Everything here is too rigid and too much tape/ paperwork takes place to get where you want to go.

    • “Internship summer 2012”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee.

      Pros: Really good place for an internship. It's a first step through the door towards a career. You get to network with other people who are also interns. As an intern you get to peek into the engineer process of a enterprise.

      Cons: The pay is not competitive. Especially when working in Markham areas. A lot of departments feel stagnant. Many of the projects gets outsourced. Not a lot of perks.

      Advice to Management: Make IBM attractive top talents and give competitive pay.

    • “Getting better, but still not perfect”

      Current Employee — Software Engineer in Littleton, MA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: IBM has a lot of weight behind the name. There are some incredibly smart people who've worked on all sorts of projects. IBM also is really trying to move into software so talented software engineers are kind of the rock stars.

      Cons: As bureaucratic as it gets. Often a lot of annoyances with having to use IBM products and silly approvals for using new technology. Not much energy to really change the way things work, and often long product timelines drain more of that energy.

      Advice to Management: IBM should be looking to get top-line engineers to remake a lot of different things. They are on the right track, but it still seems dated compared to the hot software startups.

    • “IBM Security”

      Current Employee — Senior Security Analyst in Markham, ON (Canada). Pros: Work with good people most of the time. Cons: Too much work and business processes really killing the time it takes to turn thing around for your clients. Advice to Management: Need to balance work with life or start losing good employees
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • GOP Candidates Attack Social Security, Medicare at Primary Debate
    • Democratic Candidates Take Questions from Labor Leaders in Iowa
    • Alliance Members Continue to Celebrate Medicare’s 50th Anniversary, Social Security’s 80th
    • Remembering Bruce Dunton
    • Medicare Turns 50: Leader Pelosi Stands up for Strengthening Medicare and Social Security

    Download a PDF version.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 08/01/15:

    Job Title: Associate Partner; Location: Chicago, I; Customer Account: Various; Business Unit: Global Business Services. Message: I am not reading too many posts about being terminated by Internal Audit. I was terminated yesterday after an expense audit concluded that I was overpaid expenses in the amount of $390. 15 years of service, no severance pay, no package, nothing. IBM says I am not entitled to see the audit report that resulted in termination. Anyone have any experience in fighting this somehow? I don't want a job with IBM, I just don't want them to get away with this. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/02/15:

    Current resource action is impacting US based contractors also. In one case IBM account manager will be facing customer Monday with no technical skills. The manager was blind sided as consultants supporting account and reported to a different chain were terminated with no notice last week leaving no one with knowledge of state of customer projects, no knowledge of customer systems. There is no ability for skills transfer internally or off shored. The institutional knowledge and skills were put out with the trash. -Bye-
  • Comment 08/03/15:

    Job Title: Network Tech; Location: Virginia; Business Unit: GBS. Message: Got the call July 23 that my job would be cut on Aug 24. Same package as everyone else. Last week we had a call and they gave us the info for a place to call that will gives us our jobs back but has contractors. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/04/15:

    To those resourced actioned that IBM has told that they can get their job back but as contractors: It doesn't sound totally right. Check your state labor laws. IBM could be playing fast and loose with contract work going forward. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/04/15:

    "the only way you get the 401K match before December is if you retire." The only way you'll get ANY match for 2015 is if you retire. If so, you'll get it a few weeks after your separation. You don't get any match on your severance pay, nor can you allocate any of it towards your 401k. -Anon-
  • Comment 08/04/15:

    Location: UK; Business Unit: GTS/SO. Message: Here in the UK we have had to form an Employee consultation committee, 3 days notice to do this for 5 of us to speak to execs about how they wish to change from UK permanent employees to staffing in other geographical locations. they have had us documenting all our procedures in my teams, my guess was for this very reason (offsite ), but they said it was for an audit that was going on. We will find out in the next month approx 5th Sep, so will keep you posted. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/05/15:

    To -DazedandTotallyConfused- Have you not been paying attention at all regarding pension at IBM since 1999 when they made the change to the Cash Balance Plan and took away the fixed pension based on age and years of service? IBM has chipped away at all its "promises" for years.

    I was also "promised" free health care for life when I retired, free membership at the IBM Country Clubs, a full pension, (not one that stopped accumulating in 2007) etc., etc.

    Did you know that they just took away the life insurance policy for retirees if you hadn't retired by the end of 2014?

    There is little left in terms of retirement benefits especially for newer employees. Maybe if more had joined the union at times the layoffs didn't directly affect them, things would be better now. Instead, people sat back and watched everything get whittled away and hoped for the best. Hoping doesn't work. -longtimebeemer-

  • Comment 08/05/15:

    Once you are RA'd do file with your State Dept. of Labor for unemployment. This is the only way the government is going to find out to recognize about IBM resource actions since IBM is so deviously secretive about employee firings. IBM doesn't want those RA'd to file for unemployment since their unemployment insurance rate will go higher and they also will not lose any government incentives, grants, and tax breaks for employment numbers that they agree to (e.g. like in Columbia, MO, Dubuque, IA, and NY State Payments In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) program. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/05/15:

    Job Title: Tech Specialist; Location: Southern California; Customer Account: Kaiser; Business Unit: GTS. Message: Initially outsourced from Kaiser, RA'd from IBM after 6+ years. Told work being sent to India. Good luck Kaiser! This is what you asked for! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/05/15:

    @-DazedAndConfused-, I don't mean to be harsh but have you been living under a rock? You got screwed out of your pension about 15 years ago when IBM changed from a pension plan to a cash balance plan. How could you have missed that... there were numerous lawsuits filed and rounds of appeals, that the employees ultimately lost. There was even an obnoxious email from the VP of HR to the employees rubbing our nose in the defeat.

    I find it mind boggling that you are surprised that you don't have a pension after 27 years at IBM. I feel bad for you if you haven't made other arrangements for your retirement, but you really can't blame IBM for that because they've given you countless tools, including personal financial counseling (which was very good by the way) to help you plan YOUR retirement. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 08/05/15:

    To -DazedNTotallyConfused-: I assume you are talking the cash balance plan. I hope this isn't the first time you have looked at your expected income from that. If anyone is using the tool provided to project future payments, be warned it defaults to 6% rate of growth for future years, while actual interest paid has been 1-2% for most of the time the plan was in place. HUGE difference between projections and reality. If you were eligible for the 'enhanced annuity', another warning to all that the 'enhanced' portion is gradually reduced until it reaches 0 at 65. Part of the reason I will be voluntarily heading out the door this year at age 56...that and just plain tired of the continued RAs. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/05/15:

    Location: Europe; Business Unit: GTS TSS. Message: Received the information that TSS storage and power L1 will be moved "partially" to eastern Europe. This will affect every other country will strong support structures. Hey US Team, Europe entered the train. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/05/15:

    Got RA'd end June. We were given letters and told to clear off. After all that till today we have not been paid. Been give the run around by HR saying there was a mistake with our transfers but two weeks later no funds and we need to pay bills. Shame on IBM!!! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/05/15:

    Dear -dazedntotallyconfused- Regarding the IBM Personal Pension Plan, you need to call the Employee Services Center to check the math on the pension, but I fear dear dazed, the math is correct. But call anyway.

    In 1999, IBM converted us all to to cash balance pension plan, those of us not yet 40 by the end of June 1999. I believe they froze the plan then on December 31, 2007. I did not turn 40 until October 13th of that year. The legal eagle beagles at IBM had done their homework and determined we could not file suit for age discrimination as we were not yet 40.

    At the time, I escalated to Tom Bouchard on behalf of all of us and presented a detailed analysis of the dire financial impact of this scathing change to our IBM families. Tom called me every two weeks for over a year, as I was on his "to do" list. I asked him to quantify the flaw in my analysis. There was no flaw he replied, but IBM was not going to change course. Respectfully, I asked tom to stop calling me as I was not afraid I was wasting his time. more importantly, he was wasting mine.

    Dear IBM worldwide family please consider joining the Alliance. We are far stronger together and the Alliance has been looking out for all of us for years and years and years now. Respectfully, -Deb Kelly proud Alliance@ibm member-

  • Comment 08/05/15:

    Deb Kelly, thanks for the reply, but, just curious, and I know history can't be revisited, but did Bouchard (he was HR senior VP right in 1999?) say why the cutoff for the cash balance conversion was set in stone at 40 years age? Why no consideration given to employment years of service as well as age? Doesn't that mean anything to IBM? EMPLOYMENT SERVICE.

    Someone who just was 40 years old with 10 years got a choice (is this true?) and those with more IBM employment but not 40 years age got no choice. I bet he avoided even talking about this, right? Now all these years later I find out and the "pension" IBM told us not to worry about for the reduced salary we worked for in lieu of the "IBM Pension" was a farce and a lie.

    Gosh, why haven't more folks in my case joined the Alliance. I should have joined long ago. Now it is too late for me. RAed and just thrown out in the IBM garbage dumpster. -DazedNTotallyConfused-

  • Comment 08/06/15:

    Dear Dazed, First do not beat yourself up over this. Many of our colleagues and IBM family were caught off guard by this. I had a one-page fact sheet black and white that I presented to Tom Bouchard IBM VP of IBM HR in 1999.

    I did not have a 75-page multimedia presentation these IBM management knuckleheads demand now. All smoke and mirrors. No substance but by goodness the fonts should be perfect and the colors and the bullshit. My little fact sheet was wiped out due to a blasted computer virus. So as an IBMer I will "wing it". In the old days we called this "completed staff work."

    "So Tom", I said, "If someone joined IBM in 1978 at the age of 18 and did not turn 40 until August 1st 1999, that individual would have 21 years of service, yet would be automatically converted to the cash balance pension despite double the years plus 1 of the blasted minimum requirement?

    "Yes. Deb that is correct”.

    "How is this legal, Tom or ethical or moral?”

    "Deb I cannot speak to those things as I am not an attorney.”

    The key difference here is that our IBM family friend, had they turned 40 on the last day of July 1999 would've have been grandfathered to our legacy annuity pension."OK Tom you are wasting my time now, and my time is very valuable to me. You need to stop calling me.

    Dear Dazed, it is not too late to Join the Alliance there is more "bad stuff " coming I am sure of that...and, I will be back tomorrow with a potential horrific scenario on our IBM pensions I am not Henny Penny. I am not saying the sky is falling. I am saying we are stronger together than apart and if not for the tireless efforts of the IBM Alliance, None of us would know what the hell was going on. Respectfully -Deb Kelly proud Alliance@IBM

    Alliance reply: Thank you, Deb, for sharing a first-person conversation with Tom Bouchard regarding the truth about the Pension Heist of 1999. Today's US IBMers may not be aware of how significant an impact that whole sleazy operation had on tens of thousands of us, in 1999. They also may not know that in 1995 there was also a precursor change to the Pension Plan that set up the 1999 move. All in all, IBM has been doing all these "moves" ever since, as a way to eviscerate everything that TJ Watson Sr. intended and stood for, over 100 years ago (IBM was incorporated in 1911). Thanks again for you support of Alliance@IBM. We truly appreciate it.

  • Comment 08/06/15:

    To -DazedNTotallyConfused- , I am also surprised that you were not aware of the change in the pension plan as your manager should have shared such when the plan change was announced. As I recalled, IBM originally converted everyone to the cash balance plan and later on modified it with the 40 years age cut-off point option as there were escalations to a Senator back then. I believe the 40 years age was chosen to minimize the possibility of age discrimination suits. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/06/15:

    If we "retire" from IBM with this RA package, does that affect our ability to draw unemployment? Is there a catch if you do say you're retiring? I would like to get that last bit of 401K match but don't want to jeopardize something else I'm not aware of. -Anonymous-

    Alliance reply: Your questions have been answered here before by other IBMers in the same situation as you.

    The state in which you work and reside, will have specific rules and/or procedures regarding collecting unemployment vis a vie retirement classification. Please check the Alliance web pages "Archives" and search on 'unemployment' and other keywords related to retirement, 401k, and unemployment.

  • Comment 08/06/15:

    To @DazedNTotallyConfused, The answer to your question about why under 40, is that there are no laws to protect people from age discrimination for being too young, only too old. The plan that went into place was plan B. The original plan was that anyone within 5 years of retirement got the traditional pension, and others got converted to cash. But that hit people over 50. IBM got cold feet about age discrimination they so changed it to 40 and over.

    I was 39 3/4 years old and had 19 3/4 years with the company...three months shy on the either or gate. IBM's funding of the old pension was flat until 5 years before retirement eligibility and then mushroomed up, so their plan was to convert people while they still had nearly nothing to convert. But like I said, this all happened 16 years ago. How could you have missed knowing that happened? -GoneIn2013-

  • Comment 08/06/15:

    Hi all, I said I would reply from 4 Aug, we have been made an offer of voluntary separation here in the UK under IBM Infrastructure services and many others. They are offering one week for every year, three months on top and notice period. Not too bad really. I want to take it, but last time they refused me; going to go for it again though. Hopefully go contracting and enjoy (maybe) the thrill of the non-back stabbing culture that they want me to be part of. The grass is never greener on the other side and I must say i have thoroughly enjoyed my career at IBM, but I can't see it lasting much longer. I will miss it dearly but i think my life cycle here is at an end unfortunately. Gutted.

    Really thought i would end my days here with a nice little pension! Can't say too much about myself as I don't want to let them know who I am. Will miss you IBM and all the cloud emails I get every day. Shame you weren't on it before Amazon and such. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 08/06/15:

    Job Title: Mfg. Engineer - retired Location: POK Customer Account: na Business Unit: Microelectronics Product Line: Mainframe.

    Message: -DazedNTotallyConfused- By my calculations, based on your first message here, you started in 1988 and averaged $100K annual salary. Your pension payout totals $135K. Are these calculations correct? If so, I'd guess that you must've been a band 9 or 10 for most of your IBM career and that your ignorance of the changes that happened to the pension plan, that affected well over 40,000 IBMers at the time, was due to your "trust" of your manager and the belief that you wouldn't be lied to at your level.

    I may be way off here, but I suspect that many, many IBMers like yourself felt exempt (no pun intended) from the layoffs and mistreatment that IBMers in much lower band levels were getting hit with? This is my sense of why you "missed", how you have come to the realization so late that IBM screwed you just like all the other"trusting" IBMers. Again, I may be wrong and no offense intended. Lesson learned, eh? -no more lying-

  • Comment 08/06/15:

    "I am also surprised that you were not aware of the change in the pension plan as your manager should have shared such when the plan change was announced." My IBM manager in 1999 told me that the pension conversion was being done by IBM so we can have more flexibility with our pension and that IBM was not taking any money from the pension plan. The manager mentioned to the affect the changes are "transparent" as far as the pension balance is concerned. Why would IBM and my manager deceive me? I guess I was duped. -DazedNTotallyConfused-
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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