For decades, it’s housed the long white hallways and windowless offices typical of Big Blue. But today, it’s open spaces, white boards and adjustable desks. Its employees don’t have assigned desks.
“They can work from anywhere,” explains Fran O’Sullivan, IBM Senior State Executive of North Carolina.
And, while data centers aren’t in line for a revamp, expect the bulk of Big Blue’s office spaces to resemble something like this. For O’Sullivan, it’s an exciting way to interact with her employees. While she gets to keep an office, the walls are glass – meaning colleagues can (and they do) flag her at any moment.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement: “Theft of trade secrets of the type alleged against Xu drains the lifeblood of innovation and competition, and is rightly a serious federal crime.”
According to Xu’s LinkedIn profile, he studied Computer Science at the University of Delaware from 2007 to 2009. Before that, Xu studied at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
According to a complaint filed with the courts, the FBI started hearing reports of a Chinese national having access to IBM source code in 2014. ...
In October, IBM revealed it will allow the Chinese Government to view the source code of some of its products, in a bid to improve relations between the US technology company and Beijing.
IBM has shed its skin so many times it’s hard to believe that this 104-year-old company started life making meat grinders and cheese slicers. Since then, its core business has at different times been punch card machines, clocks, mainframes, and personal computers, and it’s now essentially a $93 billion-a-year enterprise software company, helping equally monolithic firms manage their businesses slightly more effectively than before.
Yet IBM’s revenues have fallen each of the last 14 quarters and its stock price is knocking around at a five-year low—lagging behind not only tech darlings like Google and Apple but older, stodgier rivals like Microsoft, Oracle, and HP. Critics say it adapted too late to technological shifts such as cloud computing. Prophesying the company’s inexorable decline has become something of a journalistic sport.
Part of IBM’s response to this doomsaying is contained in a building that looks like a three-story-high flying saucer, perched on top of a hill in the middle of 240 acres of grassland and forest in upstate New York. Its designer was Eero Saarinen, the man behind St. Louis’ Arch and the TWA terminal at JFK Airport, and its curved, glass façade is as imposing and striking in 2015 as it was when it opened decades ago.
This is IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights—the crown jewel of its network of research facilities. It’s a world away from the corporate headquarters, just 11 miles down the road in Armonk. Inside, tucked away in tiny laboratories, IBM has scientists working, as it has for the last 54 years, on projects that could give it another world-altering technology, like those in the list above. ...
This year, Rometty launched another new business unit, staffed by 2,000 consultants and called Cognitive Business Solutions, partially to help businesses figure out how to use Watson. Right now, it’s popping up in all sorts of fields, from corporate M&A analysis to fantasy football picks and food pairings. Various iterations of Watson are being used to diagnose cancer, answer questions about Singapore’s tax code, and, yes, suggest where to get a good taco in Austin, Texas. Watson can analyze your personality, come up with new dinner ideas, and help kids have a conversation with their toys. Now Watson can see you, too. ...
Whether its researchers are explicitly working toward this goal or not, IBM could be on the path to building an artificial intelligence system the likes of which the world has never seen. The power of Watson, the responsiveness of Celia, and a left-brain/right-brain supercomputer working together could put us humans firmly in the passenger seat of intelligence, with IBM’s supersystem’s brain blazing by us in terms of pure thought power. ...
Will science save IBM? So will the research division provide the answer to the company’s revenue decline and stagnating stock price? Will we ever have access to a future version of Watson, running on a quantum computer, powered by carbon nanotube chips, and built by IBM?
“I would say it’s possible—if it happens, it’ll be by accident,” Robert Cringely, a former InfoWorld and Forbes columnist, told Quartz. “But then, many research breaks are accidental.”
Cringely believes that IBM can’t get out its own way, and that the current revenue downturn the company is experiencing foretells something worse. He wrote a book entitled The Decline and Fall of IBM in 2014, in which he relates what may be an apocryphal joke told by former CEO Lou Gerstner that “good ideas don’t come out of IBM research—they escape.”
Cringely doubts that IBM can monetize any of the moonshots it’s working on—even Watson. “IBM is perfectly happy to sell consulting services with Watson to help them figure out what to do with it, but even they don’t know what to do with it,” he said. ...
In short, Big Blue’s corporate chiefs must make sure that near-term bets on things like the cloud and security can quickly produce more revenue, as their people figure out how to turn Watson into a significant money-maker in the next handful of years. Watson could then conceivably buy more time for all those big, blue-sky projects IBM’s scientists are plugging away at. It’s going to take a while—if it happens at all.
Editor's note: This article contains many historical photos of IBM facilities, including from Yorktown Heights, Toronto, and Dayton, as well as illustrations of historical logos, brochures, and equipment.
IBM won the project in 2007 and initially quoted a few million dollars for the creation of a new payroll system for the State's Health Department. By 2010, the project had foundered, and staff were being paid wrong amounts when they were paid at all. Costs blew out – past a billion dollars.
Big Blue was later found to have committed ethical transgressions to score the gig.
A commission of inquiry found that IBM may have won the work with wonky work practices, but that the Queensland Government's bad and overly flexible brief, plus lousy project management, were substantial causes of the project's failure. ...
So ends Australia's most notable IT project catastrophe, an affair from which IBM and the Queensland Government emerge with diminished credibility. SAP walks away from the affair with pride intact: the company and its software have never been found to be at fault in the project's collapse.
According to IBM, Clearleap's video platform allows customers to support millions of concurrent users within seconds to support special events. The technology is used by HBO, BBC America, Sony Movie Channel and Time Warner Cable. ...
The company has been eagerly beefing up its cloud offering for sometime, having splashed $2bn on Dallas-based SoftLayer back in June 2013.
In the total disk storage systems market EMC led the field with an 18.4 per cent revenue share ($1.82bn), a fall of eight per cent year on year. HP, in second place, rose 16 per cent year on year to $1.49bn, not so far behind EMC. We find Dell in third place with $899.4m, 1.6 per cent less than a year ago.
NetApp was in joint fourth place with IBM, with its revenues of $651m being 12.8 per cent down on the year.
However, IBM's revenues of $584.6m were a huge 32.5 per cent down on the year, although we should remember that Big Blue's third quarter 2015 revenue excludes x86 servers due to the sale of that business to Lenovo.
Let's talk about #HackAHairDryer, the latest campaign designed to lure more women into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields by. Big Blue's latest scheme -- dating back from October but receiving little attention -- was recently re-advertized over Twitter using the #HackAHairDryer hash tag.
This time, people took notice. A number of female engineers, scientists, coders and the like are not too happy, and you can no doubt guess why if you watch the video below. ...
Let's be frank. How anyone in this day and age can think such a campaign is a good idea -- especially for a company with the reputation and reach of IBM -- is outrageous. Any women in these fields, working alongside their often excellent male counterparts, can be equally competent and should be treated as such.
The video talks of innovation "not caring what you look like," while at the same time, uses a woman, hairdryer and scattered cosmetics to, what, not enforce stereotypes? If IBM has a shortage of male coders in the future shall we see an accompanying campaign dubbed #HackAHairClipper? ...
The technology industry is stiff with competition and it is not a walk in the park to work within it, whether you are male or female. However, in any industry, women still have to put up with these ridiculous stereotypes across all walks of life, and it will take the gradual adjustment of attitudes in the West -- which many companies and individuals are trying to promote -- before this changes.
So no, IBM -- I don't want to play with a hairdryer on your behalf. I'm happier cracking connected home appliances and poking servers, thank you.
IBM, like most of its tech peers, doesn't employ very many women: Just one-quarter of the company's management team is female, according to internal data. That's sadly huge progress. The number of female executives at the company increased 562 percent over the past 20 years, according to IBM.
You have to wonder if any of the women at IBM looked at this ad before it went out.
The ad uses the hair dryer to make all kinds of empowering puns. The woman narrating talks about "blowing away the misconceptions" and "blasting through the bias."
Pros: Challenging, interesting, and varied projects to work. Generally, smart, helpful, customer-focused colleagues work very well together in cross-function teams across locations. Good pay and benefits, flexible work environment, and work from home opportunities (depending on management).
Cons: Frequent re-orgs, and layoffs in some areas affect morale, especially when new folks are hired to replace those recently let go. New hires are provided training that current employees are not eligible to attend. Long hours sometimes required, including weekends and holidays. Work-life balance difficult.
Advice to Management: Respect and value current employees. Allow more creativity and flexibility. Methods used to overhaul employee reviews a good model.
Pros: Some flexibility with normal work hours. Could come in up to 2 hours before or after 'normal' work hours and leave later or earlier, as appropriate. Sometimes could work from home as each person gets their own laptop. Can change jobs within the company after 2-3 years, if you want to learn different areas.
Cons: My experience with 99.9% of managers was that if you got the job done, and someone else didn't, they wouldn't spend the time and work with the slacker to get him/her to do his/her job. They would just add it to you to do it. You can complain, but they don't care, because they know you'll get the work done, or you have failed to be a 'team player' — they LOVE that buzz word! But why would it take 3 people to replace you each time you left a job?
Advice to Management: MANAGE your people instead of taking the easy way out, or at least recognize and reward your workers.
Pros: Good exposure to new technologies (usually through acquisitions) and good support teams behind you. Mostly work from home office which helps, but travel can be high as sales teams and customers are scattered over your territory. If you are just starting out, probably a good place to get some experience and add to your resume, but move on after 5 years or so.
Cons: Commissions and quotas...IBM constantly makes changes to control your earnings, so very difficult to have a blowout quarterly paycheck. IBM imposes a ton of internal process work that never seems to end, but this is typical of most large companies vs. startups. Constant need to justify your existence.
Advice to Management: Stop asking employees to keep tracking everything they do. Just because it can be tracked doesn't mean that it should. Provide more resources to help the field teams do their jobs.
Pros: Plenty of opportunity to learn best practice in development, project management and service management. Work with highly intelligent and dedicated teams.
Cons: Don't think that just because you are at one of the biggest IT companies in the world you will be working on cutting edge technology. In the Services arm of the business, you work on old equipment with limited funding for investment. You often create home grown solutions instead of using existing technology because they won't fund it. Lots of political limitations here. Horrible morale. They do not concern themselves with the best interests of their employees or customers.
Advice to Management: Fifteen years ago, operating principles included "Do what we say we're going to do". Management should go back to that. Take care of your employees and your customers. You too lean too far. The staff is not just lean...they are starving.
Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, said Tuesday in a statement that the bill he and Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions are proposing also stipulates that the government give the visas based on salary, rather than via a lottery.
This is designed to target outsourcing firms “that rely on lower-wage foreign workers to replace equally-qualified U.S. workers,” according to Mr. Nelson’s statement.
Selected reader comments follow:
Why can't they hire and train US citizens instead? 55% of our college grads are either unemployed or underemployed, there's no reason why we should continue to allow massive importation of cheap, low quality foreign workers. It isn't just H1B either, these companies also abuse the B1 and L1 visas that are meant for intra company work, and used them for outsourcing work instead. Then we get left wing nuts/greedy employers like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates spending millions lobbying for more H1b visas. Enough! Put our citizens to work first.
Congress should also put in a law that says no company can have more than 25% of its workforce on H1B. Many of the Indian outsourcing firms like Infosys, Cognizant, TCS etc. are 90% Indian. Some even bring in their cafeteria workers and janitors from India. What's the weather in Seattle today? Cloudy with a chance of Indians.
Make it a one-to-one ratio. Each H1-B visa issued goes to fund one US citizen's college degree in CS. Once the citizen graduates, s/he'll replace the H1b worker who then goes home.
This is supposed to be a visa that plugs a "temporary" worker shortage, but our employers are using it as a long term solution and have created a permanent tech worker "shortage". Now ageism is rife in tech, if you are over 40 forget about getting a permanent job in tech. Employers are no longer interested in training workers either, because they have the whole world's labor supply at their finger tips thanks to this visa scheme.
Also at colleges where the number of slots for CS major is limited, more and more of these slots are being given to foreign students from China and India who pay higher tuition therefore get preference, further worsening our "shortage". It's ridiculous how our colleges, corporations and politicians are all clamoring to toss aside native citizens in pursuit of more foreign dollars or cheaper foreign workers/voters. America is a nation of immigrants. If you're a citizen, you're out of luck.
In at least one sense, the shift represents economic progress: While the share of U.S. adults living in both upper- and lower-income households rose alongside the declining share in the middle from 1971 to 2015, the share in the upper-income tier grew more.
Over the same period, however, the nation’s aggregate household income has substantially shifted from middle-income to upper-income households, driven by the growing size of the upper-income tier and more rapid gains in income at the top. Fully 49% of U.S. aggregate income went to upper-income households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially from 62% in 1970. ...
The income it takes to be middle income varies by household size, with smaller households requiring less to support the same lifestyle as larger households. For a three-person household, the middle-income range was about $42,000 to $126,000 annually in 2014. However, a one-person household needed only about $24,000 to $73,000 to be middle income. For a five-person household to be considered middle income, its 2014 income had to range from $54,000 to $162,000. ...
The hollowing of the American middle class has proceeded steadily for more than four decades. Since 1971, each decade has ended with a smaller share of adults living in middle-income households than at the beginning of the decade, and no single decade stands out as having triggered or hastened the decline in the middle. ...
The gaps in income and wealth between middle- and upper-income households widened substantially in the past three to four decades. As noted, one result is that the share of U.S. aggregate household income held by upper-income households climbed sharply, from 29% in 1970 to 49% in 2014.
http://www.endicottalliance.org/thedisintegrationofemploymentinIBM.htm To all Alliance supporters, send and share the above link to the article "The disintegration of employment in IBM" far and wide. Put it on your FaceBook page; send it to newspapers; send it with comments to your political reps and send it to your co-workers. Help break the secrecy of IBM job cuts. Put some pressure on IBM. -Alliance-
Velocity is a word for smaller sales in IBM, and we've been moving those deals to partners for a while to focus on the bigger ones internally. Maybe now the 'velocity' is the people, not just the deals. The Champions for Growth project mentioned earlier is another example of this. What kind of title is that for a project to move IBMers out? Are you a 'champion for growth' by throwing yourself on your sword to help the company, who certainly hasn't been compassionate to employees?
Anyone hear about our execs foregoing their bonuses due to the dismal death spiral they have put this great icon into? The most virtuous thing one can do is fight for a noble cause. Remember back when employees were mere slaves with no benefits, dying on the job, to make people like the Carnegies and Mellons filthy rich?
Capitalism has its cost. Now, the balance is tipped way against us again. Executive compensation in salary and benefits are through the roof, while employee benefits and salary have stagnated through a seven year bull market. We have just a few families in this country controlling the vast majority of the wealth.
It's time to be noble again and organize. You don't have to get your skull busted like our brave forefathers, just shell out a few bucks a month to join the Alliance. Trust me, you'll feel better fighting back rather than being a lamb led to slaughter. --ReadTheTeaLeaves--
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