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August 11, 2001 August 4, 2001 July 28, 2001 July 21, 2001 July 14, 2001 July 7, 2001 June 30, 2001 June 23, 2001 June 16, 2001 June 9, 2001 June 2, 2001 May 26, 2001 May 19, 2001 May 12, 2001 May 5, 2001 2001 Stock Meeting April 21, 2001 April 14, 2001 April 7, 2001 March 31, 2001 March 24, 2001 March 17, 2001 March 10, 2001 March 3, 2001 February 24, 2001 February 17, 2001 February 10, 2001 February 3, 2001 January 27, 2001 January 20, 2001 January 13, 2001 January 6, 2001 December 30, 2000 December 23, 2000 December 16, 2000 December 9, 2000 December 2, 2000 November 24, 2000 November 17, 2000 November 10, 2000 November 4, 2000 October 28, 2000 October 21, 2000 October 14, 2000 October 7, 2000 September 30, 2000 September 23, 2000 September 16, 2000 September 9, 2000 September 2, 2000 August 26, 2000 August 19, 2000 August 12, 2000 July 29, 2000 July 22, 2000 July 15, 2000 July 1, 2000 June 24, 2000 June 17, 2000 June 10, 2000 June 3, 2000 May 27, 2000 May 20, 2000 May 13, 2000 May 6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—January 30, 2016

  • ZD-Net:

    IBM alters severance terms. Employees who took the IBM Separation Allowance Plan used to get 6 months pay. Now it's one month. By Larry Dignan. Excerpts: IBM has altered its severance package rules in a move that may save money, but also alter the thinking of anyone taking early retirement in the future.

    The severance package changes were contained in a January 2016 update. Previously when IBM offered early retirement the severance was a maximum of 6 months pay. Now severance is one month.

    Here's the key excerpt from the IBM document obtained by ZDNet that outlines terms of the IBM Separation Allowance Plan:

    The separation allowance payment available under the Individual Separation Allowance Plan, regardless of the circumstance under which ISAP is offered, is one month of pay.

    For employees covered by IBM's Growth Driven Profit-sharing program or on any type of sales or services incentive plan or any special program which is offered in lieu of the IBM Growth Driven Profit-sharing program, the one month of pay made under ISAP is paid in a lump sum, using the employee's base pay amount (also known as reference salary).

    (full or part time).

    Any separation allowance payment under any of IBM's plans is in lieu of any other form of separation pay to which the employee is, may, or might have become entitled. An individual separation allowance is not an automatic entitlement and will not accrue or be paid for reasons other than those listed above. No separation allowances under any of IBM's plans will accrue if an employee has outstanding indebtedness to IBM or debts for which IBM may be responsible.

    However, if an employee makes arrangements satisfactory to IBM to repay any such outstanding debts, a separation allowance may be paid. Indebtedness to IBM could include, but is not limited to, a debit commission balance, an IBM US Mobility Plan equity loan, an unpaid balance on an installment purchase of an IBM product, credit card debt, excess tax loan, an outstanding travel expense account or failure to return IBM-owned property.

    In the event of rehire by IBM or any of its subsidiaries as a regular employee within 30 days after separation of employment with a payment under the Plan, IBM reserves the right to require repayment of the full ISAP payment.

  • The Register:

    Axe to fall on staff at IBM's Global Technology Services 'this Friday'. Amid fears of unit sell off and word of severance pay cuts. By Chris Williams. Excerpts: Lee Conrad, an ex-IBMer and national coordinator of the Alliance@IBM union, said on Monday that staff had told him that up to 20 per cent of the GTS workforce is at risk. "I have received information that a resource action will happen this Friday," he told journalists via email.

    Earlier this month, Conrad warned GTS could be sold off completely. He also announced that Alliance@IBM would be ceasing its activities after its member numbers collapsed as Big Blue shed employees.

    Separately, Global Equities Research’s Trip Chowdhry issued a note to analysts suggesting that IBM could lay off a quarter of its 380,000-strong workforce this year, after suffering its 15th consecutive quarter of falling revenue.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Yep it's exactly as you'd think. Lay offs under another name. IBMers have become so thoroughly familiar with the term over the past couple of years that it's universally understood. "Where's Chris, is he still leading this project?" - "No he got RA'd". If you're a customer with a sharp commercial governance team and SLA's that actually monitor the quality of delivery, you'll be fine. Otherwise...
    • IBM in the US has referred to mass firings of employees as "resource actions" for decades. They don't call them layoffs because that word implies that those laid off might return to service as some later date. Of course that won't happen. They don't call them firings as that word is harsh, just as they don't call it dumping dead weight.

      They don't call it redundancy in the US because that word infers that the jobs of those released were either not needed or duplicated by other employees. Neither of which is ever true. No, these employees are being shed because the expectations--demands--of stockholders cannot be met without dumping something. Common employees are the easiest thing to dump. IBM has gone -far- beyond shedding fat and has gotten deep into muscle and is sawing away at the very bones of the company. Has been for 20 years.

    • Now, if they would can the top two tiers of upper management at IBM, and bring in somebody whose sole purpose in life is not to read from the "Soviet Five Year Planning" resource workbook, but to whistle up and sell products and services, they might turn the ship onto the straight. Away from the circling the drain thing.
    • I'd like for people to remember the last part of this article when they whine and complain that employees aren't "loyal" anymore. I understand that layoffs are a necessary evil but for the people who have put in decades at that company only to see their severance slashed from 6 months to 1 is despicable.
  • Los Angeles Times:

    IBM's CEO writes a new chapter on how to turn failure into wealth. By Michael Hiltzik. Excerpts: "Ginni Rometty! You've led IBM to 15 straight quarters of declining revenue! Your profit was down 15% last year! Your stock price has plummeted by 36% from its peak! What are you going to do next?"

    "I'm going to the bank, to deposit my $4.5-million bonus!"

    For IBM shareholders, Ginni Rometty's four-year reign as chief executive officer hasn't been anything to go to Disneyland about. But her company has become a leader in one corporate category: board members willing to shovel incentive pay at a CEO turning in a mediocre performance.

    Despite few signs of a turnaround in Big Blue's financial performance, the board awarded Rometty a bonus even higher than last year's $3.6 million, according to figures the company released Thursday. She'll be receiving $13.3 million in restricted shares, payable in 2019. She'll also be getting a stock option of 1.5 million shares. These will vest starting three years from now, and will be in the money as long as IBM shares have appreciated by at least 5% from their average price on the award date, which was Tuesday. ...

    That stock price performance is not just bad. It's approaching Carly Fiorina bad. Fiorina took Hewlett-Packard's stock price down some 49% during her more than five years as CEO; since her firing in 2005 she hasn't had another corporate job and has been reduced to running for president. But Rometty is still in place at IBM, with no exit in sight. ...

    Every proxy season brings a pile of cases like Rometty's--CEOs being overrewarded for underwhelming performance, based on metrics designed by their corporate boards to be either murky or unambitious, and thus easy to meet. Rometty's pay package, which was disclosed a few months ahead of the IBM proxy release, isn't even likely to be the most outsized in terms of performance. ...

    There's no mystery about why a board of directors could consider Rometty's performance to be grounds for a raise: it's cultural. Ten of the 14 directors (other than Rometty herself) are current or former corporate CEOs themselves, as are three of the four members of the board's compensation committee. They're sterling representatives of America's CEO culture, which turns a blind eye to performance that warrants a pay cut, not to mention a firing, seeing it instead as "progress" toward a distant goal.

    The directors each receive "retainers" of more than $250,000 to sit on the board. In the real world, that would be real money, payable for doing more than merely gripping their board seats with their prehensile behinds. (Thanks to George Orwell for the image.) ...

    Put it all together, and it shows once again that the CEO economy is a different beast from the one the rest of us live in. You can stick your shareholders with a loss of more than one-third and still do just fine. If anyone needs a simple illustration of the roots of income inequality in our society, there's no need to look any further than that.

    Selected comments concerning this article from the Watching IBM Facebook group follow:

    • Yikes. If any engineer or salesperson down in the trenches had performance like this they would get a PBC rating of 3 if not be put on an immediate PIP. But the CEO gets a raise and a bonus. Can't imagine.
    • No moral compass, treats employees like sheeple.....I feel sorry for the ones left having to pickup the workload from the lucky ones that get a severance package. The BOD are not going to do anything to her after 15 quarters. There are a lot of ex-IBMers out there that haven't forgotten and working in other IT jobs for better employers.
  • WRAL-TV TechWire:

    'Watching IBM:' Former union group launches already feisty Facebook page. By Rick Smith. Excerpts: If anyone at IBM thought that the annoying alliance seeking to organize its workers and acted as a spigot through which a lot of internal company news (from layoffs to staff shakeups) was made public was going to disappear completely, think again.

    Alliance@IBM - the effort to unionize IBMers - is closing down. But a new Facebook page titled "Watching IBM" organized by long-time Big Blue workers Lee Conrad vows to "fulfill the information gathering and dissemination that the Alliance did." ...

    "Watching IBM will try to fulfill the information gathering and dissemination that the Alliance did but without the organizing aspect. If there comes a time where organizing does take place or people want information I will certainly help out."

    Conrad is tenacious, to say the least. He has hardly been quiet since the Alliance shutdown was announced earlier this month. For example, he broke the news about IBM slicing severance packages to one month from a max of six months.

    Despite years of frustration in trying to organize workers, he persists in being a voice for those who don't like what has happened at IBM.

    It's clear Conrad is not going to be quiet. And if the initial reaction to the page is any indicator, he's going to have a lot of company in venting, disclosing information, discussing and venting about Big Blue.

  • The Register:

    Ginni Rometty to pocket $4.5m bonus for IBM leadership. Company rewards three years of failure. By Kat Hall. Excerpts: What do you get if you preside over 15 straight quarters of shrinking sales, evaporating profit and a sliding share price? A seven figure bonus if you are Ginni Rometty, the chief exec at IBM.

    Her base salary for 2015 remained unchanged at $1.6m, but the bonus swelled by $1m to $4.6m. Oh, and the long term incentives package (due to vest in 2019) was $13.3m, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. ...

    The share stood at a proud $185 when Rometty took office, peaked at nearly $215 in November '14, but is currently a little under $124.

    Clearly the board has bought into her vision of IBM's future, and it may well come good for IBM, but it hasn't yet.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • We mustn't let IBM die yet... It's central to monitoring the remaining population of Lotus Notes servers. As long as those babies are out there checking for updates we know that an infestation persists somewhere. Only once the last wild tendril of this scourge is eliminated can we relax and file it alongside smallpox as a terrible blight that our children need never know.

      [I just finished laughing in dismay at a Notes dialog box I'd never met before. An ugly and incomplete attempt at mimicking the Windows dialog it could have used for free, with a text field that spilled narrowly over the edge of the frame, this being "fixed" by adding scroll bars to the whole dialog (rather than just sizing it usefully in the first place, or better yet making the dialog resizeable), and a menu-launching button bolted to the text caret, a blot moving across the screen with every keystroke and dwarfing the text I was writing. Modal dialog, of course. ]

    • Re: Top management get their bonuses whatever: We used Softlayer until recently, but moved to Google's Cloud a few months ago. Softlayer is basically tech from 10 years ago, barely updated to keep up. Provisioning takes forever, about the only redeeming feature is their separate management back end, which is completely let down by shitty 15 year old client software. AWS, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, hell even Azure are better than Softlayer.
    • Re: Top management get their bonuses whatever: Is an interesting observation that we plebes who do the real work are considered to be likely to do as good a job as we can through pride in our work or fear of being sacked, and yet our lords and masters consider themselves so amoral and so lacking in commitment and self respect that they will only do a good job if they are bribed with megabucks.
    • Yawn TLDR: Top company exec gets bigger bonus after continuing to manipulate stock price. This is completely expected, it's IBM we're talking about. When the shit finally hits the fan, this same exec will depart (voluntarily or not), with literally no negative consequences for pulling this crap.
    • Re: IBM: How much longer after that it continues to stagger forward without slaughtering the entire GDF division and selling it to Tata I do not know.

      And therein lies the problem. GDF was one of IBM's growth ideas after they tried and failed to own a big share of "productivity" software. Of course, just as the productivity adventure was crushed under IBM's relentless bureaucracy, so the benefits of outsourcing and offshoring turned out to be a mirage for both clients and IBM's investors. Cue panic at Armonk. Everybody runs round like headless chickens looking for the next bandwagon to pile onto. And then two (separate) words spring to mind: Security! Cloud!

      In the security space, I'm unconvinced there's any credible proposition from IBM. And in cloud they're arriving at the party five years late, and the technology has bypassed them, and the pricing reached commodity levels.

      Ultimately, IBM is like HP, General Motors or the old Motorola: A self serving, heavily siloed, lard arsed bureaucracy that is slowly withering for lack of entrepreneurship. Within all four companies they did enough R&D and product development to have saved themselves. But the cancer of bureaucracy is virtually impossible to remove once it gets hold, risk is forbidden, consensus trumps adventure, and the board play at corporate finance and M&A because that's easier than real work. And so we see a slow drift to irrelevance.

      I work in business strategy, and all the time I see a battle between the forces of light (good ideas, passion, risk taking, entrepreneurship) and those of the dark side (inertia, complacency, risk aversion, sloth, bureaucracy). This battle goes on every day in any large business, but at IBM, the dark side has won.

      It could yet be turned round, but it won't, because the management are entrenched and overly comfortable. They will mostly do very well out of the slow decline - why take a risk, or take on more hard work? And because of the way Wall Street works, even if the entire board were (quite reasonably) sacked without notice and without compensation, unfortunately their replacements would be exactly the same sort of C-suite leeches, with the same selfish values, the same lack of closeness to customers and markets, the same cluelessness, and the same contempt for shareholder value.

    • It's even more fun working there. Could be worse. You could be working there and being told it's mandatory to watch her sermons from the mount. Reading vomit inducing sycophantic praise for the 'Dear Leader's insightful and inspiring presentation — some appear to have some setup to alert them when her video blog is updated as some of the praise is posted within minutes of its posting before they could have watched it in it's entirety...

      The fun of recording your time in 4 different systems — one to predict your hours for the next 4 weeks, one to record individual tasks units over the course of the day, one to record your actual hours and another that duplicates the second but with a different format (both with pre-defined task types based on a pre-defined role that you can change.) All of this data supposedly being analysed but just don't ask if you can see the analysis or ask how it's being used...

    • Re: It's even more fun working there. Megacorps seem more like stagnation-era Soviet Union. There are at least 3 key similarities:
      • Internally they operate by the principle of planned economy. Plans are sacred. Markets may sometimes be acknowledged in words, but in practice they'll try to avoid influences from that scary unpredictable wilderness at any cost.
      • Unified propaganda service that uses a lot of doublespeak and newspeak. Gaps are occasionally filled with pure noise.
      • They have an enormous caste of administrative personnel and a rather mild cult of the leadership. Apparatchiks pay some lip service to the upper echelon, trying to parrot as much phrases from the official propaganda as they can. But in everyday life they just play by the byzantine rules of bureaucracy, mostly unwritten and obscure, rarely changed as the leaders come and go.
  • International Business Times:

    IBM to cut more than 111,000 jobs in largest corporate lay-off ever. By David Gilbert. Excerpts: Update 1: IBM flatly denies reports it will axe 111,000 jobs.

    Dubbed Project Chrome internally at IBM, the process will see 26% of the company's workforce laid off in one fell swoop, meaning that 111,800 people could lose their jobs before the end of January based on IBM's global workforce of 430,000.

    News of the job cuts come from veteran Silicon Valley reporter Robert X. Cringely, who recently published a book entitled The Decline and Fall of IBM. ...

    Currently the record for the largest single corporate lay-off is also held by IBM, having fired more than 60,000 of its workforce in 1993, but this would be dwarfed if Cringely's predictions come true. ...

    In light of all these financial issues and job culling, it was announced that Rometty would be pocketing a $4.5 million bonus plus millions in company stock for her performance in 2015.

  • Forbes:

    Next Week's Bloodbath At IBM Won't Fix The Real Problem. By Robert X. Cringely. Excerpts: To fix its business problems and speed up its “transformation,” next week about 26 percent of IBM’s employees will be getting phone calls from their managers. A few hours later a package will appear on their doorsteps with all the paperwork. Project Chrome will hit many of the worldwide services operations. The USA will be hit hard, but so will other locations. IBM’s contractors can expect regular furloughs in 2015. One in four IBMers reading this column will probably start looking for a new job next week. Those employees will all be gone by the end of February.

    In the USA mainframe and storage talent will see deep cuts. This is a bit short-sighted and typical for IBM. They just announced the new Z13 mainframe and hope it will stimulate sales. Yet they will be cutting the very teams needed to help move customers from their old systems to the new Z13. ...

    Project Chrome appears to be a pure accounting resource action — driven by the executive suite and designed to make IBM’s financials look better for the next few quarters. Global Technology Services, the outsourcing part of IBM, is continuing to lose customers. That rate of loss — one Lufthansa-size customer every six weeks — seems to be holding. The size of Project Chrome cuts suggest IBM is trying to get three or four quarters ahead of the expected business losses. At this point IBM’s business losses have become a self-fulfilling process with deep cuts followed by increasingly bad service, increasingly madder customers, and more lost business.

    When reached, IBM sent the following response: “We do not comment on rumors, even ridiculous or baseless ones. If anyone had checked information readily available from our public earnings statements, or had simply asked us, they would know that IBM has already announced the company has just taken a $600 million charge for workforce rebalancing. This equates to several thousand people, a mere fraction of what’s been reported. Last year, IBM hired 45,000 people, and the company currently has about 15,000 job openings around the world for new skills in growth areas such as cloud, analytics, security, and social and mobile technologies. This is evidence that IBM continues to remix its skills to match where we see the best opportunities in the marketplace.” ...

    If you are an investor or Wall Street analyst it’s time to take a closer look at IBM’s messaging. Stop believing everything you hear from IBM. Big Blue is a master at controlling the discussion. They state or announce something, treating it as fact whether it exists or not. They build a story around it. IBM uses this approach to control competitors, to manage customer expectations, and to conduct business on IBM’s terms. ...

    So while IBM is supposedly transforming, they are also losing business and customers every quarter. What are they actually doing to fix this? Nothing. In saying the company is in a transition and is going to go through the biggest reorganization in its history, will this really fix a very obvious customer relationship problem? No, it won’t.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • My attitude is that we are indeed aboard a sinking ship, and that leadership is completely blind to the true issues. For far too long this company has been in the business of selling stock while creating the illusion that it’s truly innovating. The truth is that our profit has largely been generated by accounting tricks, and now that those are running out we’re going to cut a quarter of the workforce.

      There’s no doubt that there’s plenty of fat to be cut here, but I do doubt that IBM will be effective in making those cuts. My suspicion is that those who make it through this action will find themselves even more lacking in the necessary resources to successfully execute. Given how much resources have already been slashed, that sounds like a terrible move to me.

    • IBM is a Patent leader but few new products ever come out, Layoffs year after year, Employees forced into mandatory training and pay cuts with no warning of deficiency, Watson – built with open source products years ago but where is the success in the commercial market? Cloud solutions of Softlayer ant GTS competing against one another. SWG – More overlapping and non integrated products. Rational, Websphere Lotus, Cognos, SPSS DB2, DB2 Blu, etc….. Power 8 has been talked about for over a year with most real innovation still at a future date. Some of the SWG products do not even run on the IBM STG servers AIX and Power platform. STG sellers competing against GTS sellers who compete against Softlayer cloud solutions, and the customer gets confused. What path is IBM on? Cloud, Watson, Analytics are nothing new where is the revenue growth?
    • JFIF: I work for IBM and I care deeply about our customers. I want them to use our products and succeed. And many of us at IBM think the same way. We are passionate and we care about our clients. I am surrounded by talented and enthusiastic individuals.

      IBM has a very healthy working environment, excellent work-life balance.

      IBM had grew a lot in the number of brands over the years through acquiring of exceptional companies and excellent products. We had a re-org and this re-org is a simple consolidation of brands to make us more effective, efficient and more streamline. Think of it as tidying up the house.

      And I don’t know where you got the other information as I have heard nothing about it. No one here is concerned of getting chopped. You made it sound like IBM is chopping all the good people and leaving all the useless one on the boat. That is not the case at all. If someone get chopped, it’s probably because they are not good enough to stay.

    • Don’t know what division you work in, JFJF, but this article hits it on the nose. Further, unless you are in middle/upper management or the exec ranks, you probably have no clue that this is coming. Clearly, the author’s sources are execs …I wish it were not true, but, alas, it is. And, it is going to hit like an avalanche starting next week …:-(
    • What higher value business is that? Cloud – already a commodity. Watson – neat, but at Google Watson would be someones 20% project, not something to bet the company on.
    • The article would be better if Cringely would cites sources – not names necessarily, but titles of insiders and analysts who are privy to plans. As others have noted, there is no chatter inside IBM about these drastic cuts – and believe me, if they were to happen next week, there would be chatter. All past layoffs started with paperwork >30 days before execution date. That has not happened. I read Cringely’s book and the sense I got was that he bases all his predictions on rumor-mongering. The last 25% of his book is just a compendium of emails he’s received from nervous and dissatisfied IBMers.
    • AmyS: a year ago I am not sure where Cringely gets his info, but it is certainly far from accurate. IBM just did a large restructure over the last 2 weeks, forming business units around our strategy to better serve our customers – that is it. Will there be some layoffs? Probably, but that is just business as usual and certainly not 1 in 4! I know there are disgruntled ex-employees commenting, but all of the colleagues I work with have never been so energized and positive in continuing to work the transformation. But, as my kids would say, h8ters will always hate :-) For the rest, stay tuned!
    • AmyS, IBM has not completed a restructure in the last two weeks. What IBM did was announce a restructure. In face that is typical IBM, announce but fail to deliver. What needs to happen before that restructure is complete is the bloodletting (job cuts) that Cringley is talking about. Following that the surviving employees will need to be successfully integrated into the newly shaped divisions. Then making the new matrix hum will be no easy task. Unless IBM can recognise that employees are humans (not bits and bytes), then I don’t hold high hopes for a successful restructure.
    • Interesting post above that should remind all of us that IBM is a very large company, and with varying management styles in different parts of the company. I am sure that there are exceptional IBM executives still in the organization that do care about the client, and do provide an exceptional work environment for the people that work with them and for them. These are the people that IBM needs to identify and build more of to keep the company moving forward.

      Definitely do not assume that I am a IBM Fan-boy either. Much more the other direction. I am ex-IBM from Global Services South, where IBM honesty, integrity and accountability did not apply when dealing with the customer or the IBM employees on the contract. Most noticeably from our upper managers and directors. The truth changed daily with these management people until the client filed breach of service against IBM and got out of the billion $ plus contract, moving to a professional service provider.

      I still keep a copy of an old IBM Mission Statement in my calendar. It reminds me often of what an exceptional company should be, and what Global Services was not.

      Many interesting comments in this post, but we must not use too wide of a paintbrush when describing IBM and the people within. Even I have to admit that there are still islands of high integrity and competency within IBM that need to be recognized.

    • Next week is not far away therefore we’ll know at that time whether Robert Cringley’s ‘Bloodbath at IBM’ is fact or fiction. Personally, I believe 2015 to be a year in which IBM greatly restructures and reduces their workforce but I believe their headcount reductions will happen in stages such that we see a 5%-10% reduction in 1H15, and then another 5%-10% in 2H15. IBM is not bleeding red ink like they were in the 1993/4 timeframe, and for that reason I do not foresee them taking the same drastic bloodbath action they took in 1994 again in 2015. Although, I do agree with Cringley that IBM will shed a very large percentage of their employees in 2015.
    • Don’t let IBM pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. After the dust settles, we’re going to hear about employees who where laid off, but we’ll also hear about those that decided to retire and those that decided “voluntarily” to leave IBM.

      People are in the process of being FIRED right now. They’re being told their performance ratings have dropped because of some subjective reasons. Those folks are given a choice to voluntarily separate from the company or try to improve their performance. The standards to improve are set up for the employee to fail so the employee takes the voluntary separation package.

      For those that are eligible to retire within the year they can separate with a package and be put on a retirement bridge. They are then considered retired. So, IBM will mostly spin a low number of Layoffs when in fact they are forcing a lot of people out through some very underhanded tactics. There is vary large population of employees that are going through this now.

      The announcement on the 28th, if it occurs, will only be about those folks being laid off… not about those folks being forced out to take retirement or voluntary separation because of “performance”. reasons. How do i know this? Because i’m of those people who has been targeted and will separate (“retire”) next week “voluntarily” IBM was once a great company, great to work for. Today, i wouldn’t recommend anyone work there.

    • As an IBM employee for a decade now what I find it insane is that every time the CEO and the senior executive leadership team fails to make shareholder expectations they pretend to be doing something by restructuring …aka laying off employee’s..and changing division names in IBM. What is even more insane is why the key shareholders put up with this nonsense.

      Obviously like any leadership team if they do not produce results, for sure after 11 straight quarters in a role..you would think they would ask the CEO Ginny Rometty and her senior leadership to step down. Obviously what they are doing ins’t working and they need fresh leadership. Instead great employees and visionaries that make IBM great are being fired and the guts of the company are being ripped apart…what a mess

  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM CEO Rometty gets big bonus boost. By Yoel Minkoff. Excerpt: IBM Chief Executive Virginia Rometty is getting a $4.5M performance bonus for 2015, despite 15 straight quarters of plummeting revenues and other ongoing financial struggles.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • How does taking the stock from 210 to 120 build shareholder value? And, are you still living in the 'shareholder value' world? If you do what is right to build a strong company, the stock price will take care of itself - financial gyrations to build a high PE does not.
    • @momentus. You have drunk far too many "Ginny & tonics".
      • Betting the company on the biggest commodity IT service of all time, in a market they can not profit or even compete. Check!
      • Literally walking away from billions in services business with 40-50% margins because they needed to layoff those employees to make Sr. Management's quarterly bonus numbers. Check!
      • Clinging to a ridiculous 2015 EPS for years after it was not viable. In fact lying about it until the very last minute. Check!
      • Laying off more than 100,000 highly skilled and committed tech workers in U.S. & EU who are now working for competition and will never return. Check.
      • Literally promising their employees that if they realigned their skills into Cloud, Analytics, Security, Mobile that they'd always have a job, then laying them off anyway. Then forcing them to sign an NDA so they can't speak about it or IBM will "claw back" their paltry severance. Check!
      • Telling their customers they simply must buy these products & services and then literally closing those business areas. Check!
    • I usually don´t get fat bonuses when I am a bad performer. Do you?
    • And she can't even come on the earnings call to explain herself. The arrogance is unreal. Time for Warren to start asking some hard questions.
    • I find this utterly disgusting. My shares have lost significant value and under her watch earnings go down, down, down. And she gets a pay bump? WHY is IBM rewarding her failure. When and if the share price starts to recover, THEN pay her the big bucks. If she had any honor, she would refuse a reward for failure.
    • You guys are being much too hard on Ginny. She IS performing! In fact, she's giving one of the best performances of her life by convincing the board that happy days will soon be here, and they'll be in fat city once again. Now, if she can just keep the shareholders in the dark for a little longer...
    • As a longtime stockholder, I was more disgusted with the hundreds of millions retirement package Rometty's predecessor walked away with. He saw the hand writing on the wall and got out when the getting was good.
  • Forbes:

    IBM: Going To Take At Least Another Year To Turn The Battleship. By Chuck Jones. Excerpt: Going into the quarter the average sell-side projection for IBM’s 2016 EPS was $15.00 (vs. what turned out to be $14.92 for 2015). I had written after the company reported its September quarter results that investors should “Watch Out For Ugly 2016 Guidance In January“. Unfortunately I was correct.

    Selected comments from LinkedIn follow:

    • Very disappointing indeed. As both an investor and soon-to-be former employee I despair at the management decisions that are driving this once great company into the ground. Decisions that prevent new sales because of the need to "protect existing revenue streams", making employees spend more of their weekly hours dealing with internal "administrivia" rather than billable hours. As a second-generation IBMer, IBM holds a very special place in my heart, and I would love to see this historic company get its act together, but the current management policies and decisions seem designed more for failure than success.
    • I am now an IBM Business partner. Working with IBM is not the same as it was years ago when I was an IBMer in US and World Trade. The bureaucracy and the administrative processes are horrible to deal with in order to get anything accomplished. I am sticking with it because of old loyalties, but I cannot image customers putting up with such nonsense. In analyzing the situation the overhead costs must be tremendous. For a small business it is difficult for us to represent IBM as a business partner.
    • I retired last year after 44 years, basically because I couldn't it take anymore. So many bad decisions by Ginni. This once great company is being buried by its own processes, most of which she implemented. By the time you go through all these red tape filled processes, there is no more time for real work which is what generates profits.
  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM: 'Strategic Imperatives' Or Strategic Disinformation? By Bert Hochfeld. Excerpts: I think if I might summarize the bull case, it rests on assumptions that IBM's "Strategic Imperatives" sector, now representing 36% of revenues, will change the growth profile of the company, that revenue growth matters little to a company such as this, that IBM's growth problems are functions of divestitures, and that the company has a superb balance sheet with strong cash flow generation, and a generous dividend that produces a 4% yield. Some of that is true, of course. The company does generate lots of cash relative to its earnings stream - that is pretty typical of companies that aren't growing - they simply do not need more capital to stay in the same place. And of course the yield is 4%. Again, companies that aren't growing should and mainly do pay out a high proportion of their earnings in dividends - they simply can't find places to reinvest the cash they generate.

    Sadly, however, the rest of the case is basically either untrue or the product of a hall of mirrors. IBM shares may sustain current valuations because the current shareholder base is far more interested in income as opposed to growth. IBM may, or may not, achieve the rather modest objectives it set for itself during the course of its earnings release depending on macro factors, the company's ability to execute, and competitive pressures. I don't purport to have the tools to handicap the most likely results for current quarter or the one after.

    What I can state without much fear of being proven wrong is that the company is suffering significant and long-term market share losses in the key business units in which it operates. These market share losses are self-evidently the product of past wrong decisions and poor execution coupled with an inability to try to lead the market. IBM, despite its significant R&D budget and significant innovations such as Watson, has basically become a follower and not a leader in the tech space. And followers, in my experience, are rarely good investments. ...

    While it is possible that the downside for IBM shares is limited given the likely massive turnover in the shareholder base and the modest expectations of those new shareholders, I feel that making commitments to IBM shares at this point would be an error. The company continues to hemorrhage market share both in its services sector and in the software sector as well. The company appears to have little in the way of proprietary and defensible technology. (Just to be perfectly fair, I think Watson is potentially earth shaking at some point and the acquisition of the Weather Channel potentially enhances that technology. And some of the companies that IBM has bought and continues to buy in the cloud do have interesting and unique solutions. But it is impossible to buy IBM because of the opportunities of Watson - it just starts from such a small base.) It would appear to be executing sluggishly and to be losing its past luster. Choosing IBM is no longer either the safe solution or the obvious solution. I do not believe that risk/rewards favor investors at the current time.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • The article rings true on many levels. From a more personal level, it's about trust. IBMers no longer trust their leaders, and IBM customers no longer trust the company. And for good reason.

      This company is broken on a very fundamental level and only a complete rout of upper management could (potentially) solve it. But we all know that won't happen.

      The stock is equally broken. It couldn't hold 180, 160, 140, and now 120 is violated intraday. The next stop is a test of 100. Look at a 10 year chart.

      Valuation wise, that sounds about right. $14 and change at a multiple of 7 - I'm being gracious. But I think 90 or lower could definitely happen, especially when Buffet trims his position. And he will.

    • You are so right about trust at IBM. IBM was once a company people trusted, employees trusted. Unfortunately that trust is now broken.
  • Seeking Alpha:

    Big Blue's White Lies (Podcast). By Chris DeMuth Jr. Excerpts: Rangeley Capital's portfolio managers Andrew Walker and Chris DeMuth Jr host a fifteen-minute podcast, which you can subscribe to on Apple's iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. If you missed the previous podcast episode, please check out "Blame Bieber".

    In the current episode, we talk about evasion and deception detection. For a background on today's topic, please check out "Spotting Lies For Fun And Profit". We take apart an IBM Corp. quarterly conference call and ask if we are being led towards the truth or away from it...

  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM buying major online ad agency Resource/Ammirati. By Eric Jhonsa. Excerpts:
    • IBM: "The acquisition of Resource/Ammirati supports IBM's goal of helping clients digitally reinvent to create transformative brand experiences. Recognized for the groundbreaking technology and analytics capabilities of Watson , IBM has over 1,000 designers working with strategists, developers and consultants to combine the power of design and technology for clients."
    • Resource/Ammirati has 300+ associates and a client list that includes Sherwin Williams, Nestle, and Nationwide. The company will join IBM Interactive Experience (IBM iX), a unit containing over 10K employees and proclaimed by Big Blue to be the world's biggest global digital agency.
  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM Is A Melting Ice Cube. By Josh Arnold. Excerpts: To be clear, IBM doesn't have one problem, it has a lot of problems. That is why it has been one of my favorite short positions for a long time; when a company is a moving train wreck like IBM has been, it's pretty easy to build a short case. The stock has reflected the fact that IBM can't seem to get out of its own way and with the fundamentals continuing to deteriorate, it seems there is no end in sight just yet. ...

    IBM still has all the same problems it had in 2015, but they seem to be getting worse. Revenue generation is still a serious issue as none of its major segments are posting any sort of growth. There are green shoots in the strategic imperatives, but they are nowhere near enough to make up for the melting ice cube that is IBM at this point. SG&A cuts and a favorable tax rate are helping keep IBM afloat for now but those things are both temporary. There is only so much either of those categories can be cut so at some point, IBM will need to actually execute. It has shown no ability to stop shrinking and terrible guidance for 2016 suggests more is on the way. Analysts are also still way too bullish on IBM right now for some reason I cannot understand so more EPS cuts are surely on the way.

  • New York Times:

    IBM Reports Declines in Fourth-Quarter Profit and Revenue Despite Gains in New Fields. By Steve Lohr. Excerpts: The corporate computing giant reported declines in fourth-quarter profit and revenue. Its results were depressed by a strong dollar. But even without the currency impact, IBM is struggling as its new growth areas like data analytics and cloud computing are not yet big enough to overcome the slippage in its traditional hardware, software and services businesses.

    “IBM says this is all part of the transition process, and it may well be,” said A. M. Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. “But as far as evidence that the transition is really taking hold, we haven’t seen that yet.” ...

    This year, analysts say, will probably be another one of challenge and transition for IBM. The current executive team, led by Ms. Rometty, still has more time, they say. “IBM’s management is convinced they have the right strategy,” said Steven Milunovich, an analyst at UBS. “And they are going to get another year or so to prove it.”

  • 24/7 Wall Street:

    Why Credit Suisse Sees a Big IBM Shortfall Versus the 2016 Bull-Bear Outlook. By Jon C. Ogg. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is one of the most disliked technology stocks and one of the most disliked Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks. Value investors think IBM is cheap, and Warren Buffett has kept piling in bad cash after bad cash to build his IBM stake higher. One problem is that IBM’s woes seem to persist, whether we have good times or bad times. Now Credit Suisse is out with a friendly reminder that investors need to be very cautious when it comes to Big Blue. ...

    What investors might consider here is that Credit Suisse has so far been more accurate than any Wall Street analyst. That can change on a dime of course, but the firm sticks with the notion that IBM is a value trap rather than a great value stock.

  • The Register:

    IBM still on a (downward) roll with 15th consecutive quarterly revenue drop. Big Blue continues exciting transformation into a new, less profitable company. By Shaun Nichols. Excerpts: This marks the fifteenth consecutive quarter in which IBM has reported a drop in revenues amidst a business shift that has seen its old core businesses vanish and forced IBM to remake itself from a focus on software and services to a shift toward providing analytics and cloud compute services.

    "We continue to make significant progress in our transformation to higher value," offered IBM chairwoman and chief executive Ginni Rometty. ...

    Wall Street was not so enthused, as IBM shares were down 1.48 per cent in after-hours trading. And the drops in IBM Software and Global Business Services could be particularly alarming for IBM, say analysts with AB Bernstein. "Software and Services are the most profitable segments of IBM," the analyst house noted. "Continued weakness in either or both of these segments would be incrementally worrisome."

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Some parts of IBM used to be very good. Mainly around R&D, and it used to be around delivery too (many years ago).

      However, their exec team went full throttle on the "short term thinking" approach, shafting many of the better people who gave their customers what they want/need, and instead continuously getting the sales channel to ramp up their bullshit factor based sales...which without the right people involved any more, has led to repeated massive failures.

      So no, IBM doesn't have the shiny, glorious future you're attempting to paint. What it has is a bunch of sharks at the top who have picked every last one of the "low hanging fruit"... and have no real clue what to do next, since they've only ever done easy things before, and now they've painted themselves into a really challenging situation. Basically, they're fucked.

    • No, I think IBM will prevail. Bullocks. No, they will not.

      The IBM of old continuously produced ideas, including fundamental science, engineered them into products and produced products. They held the IPR on these and this is exactly what allowed them to:

      1. Charge an obscene rate for some of their products.
      2. Invest into more R&D and as a consequence more products.
      3. They were pretty much unique in this — most of their competitors failed to produce in-house innovation and "innovated" through acquisition.
      4. While there was lots and lots of waste and dross produced as a part of this cycle, as any engineer and scientist will tell you having failed experiments is key to advancement. You cannot succeed if you do not fail.

      This cycle was broken by their previous CEO who started trimming all parts of IBM which showed failures from time to time just because beancounters do not like failures on the balance sheet. Ginny, despite her engineering background, is continuing exactly on the same trajectory — cut R&D some more where it has failed, cut a few more branches here and there where there is a failure at present. And another one withers...and another one...and another. Until a death of a thousand cuts.

      So any ideas that IBM will become great are delusional. It is slowly, over time, narrowing itself into a set of services industries +/- some support for them as product. That is a race to the bottom competing against Logicalis, Accenture, Atos, HP, etc - you name it. When you have four of these competing for a contract any ideas that the winner of the contract will command a premium comparable to a high tech system for which you hold the unique IPR is utterly delusional and exists only in beancounters wet dreams. It is not founded in reality.

    • Most of us have left already. To the extent that the services organisation is now turning down work because there are no longer enough in-house skills. On IBM products.

      IBM's fundamental problem is that while it has recognised that a big transformation is needed, it is attempting to do this by moving into markets where there are already leaders far ahead of IBM. It no longer has the people to do this, so it has to acquire others. Skills are brought in-house, and as soon as they can, those skilled people leave the company and development gets shipped off somewhere cheap or the product is canned.

      Meanwhile, existing customers are no longer getting the service they once did: IBM customers always knew they spent more than the going rate but did so because they knew they would get quality and service from people who enjoyed their job and would go the extra mile to keep customers happy. No longer the case.

      Most of all, IBM is steadfastly refusing to transform itself (as opposed to the crap it sells). It's an incredibly vertically organised dinosaur, where any attempts to communicate up the chain involves browning your nose whilst simultaneously trampling on those beneath you. As a result, any real innovation from within the company is stifled. Those at the top don't see a need for it, as strategic technology decisions are based on marketing bullshit which is seen to be "trending" on whatever social network their kids are into that week.

      Watson is probably the only interesting technology which has emerged from IBM in recent years and is genuinely unique and innovative. However, if it were that good, wouldn't it be able to come up with a way to sort out the company? Or maybe it did and it advised sacking Ginny and her pals in Armonk and replace marketing with a spambot.

    • The great mystery is why IBM continues to disperse billions of dollars to stockholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks. It could be using that money for raises or bonuses for increasingly-demoralized employees; or at least to invest in capital-intensive businesses like Cloud that desperately need to scale faster.

      The only people who benefit from the share buybacks in particular are people sitting on huge piles of stock options, like the senior execs. Oh...never mind.

  • Alliance@IBM FaceBook Postings:
    • Allianceibm CWA: In an email sent to Alliance members we announced that the union organizing campaign at IBM has been suspended. Years of job cuts and membership losses have taken their toll. IBM executive management steamrolled over employees and their families. We tried to push back when we could but we didn't have enough people power to change the working conditions or stop the massive job cuts at IBM.

      The web site will remain up but will not be updated. The job cuts report section has been closed, but we encourage employees to send me information when a mass job cut does take place and I will post news here. I am also putting together a web site that will continue watching IBM. To all Alliance members and supporters we thank you for your support. Remember: the Alliance made history.

    • UPDATE: I have been told that todays resource action has been postponed until next Friday. All quiet so far today in regards a resource action or job cuts. It would not be the first time that one of these has been postponed, but as the history of job cuts at IBM have shown, they aren't postponed for long. Will keep everyone updated but in order for this FaceBook page to work as a means of information and communication I need you to give me the information. If you wish to remain anonymous send me a FaceBook message or email watchingibm@gmail.com. Names are confidential. Lee.
    • 306 IBM Italy workers in business units SDC Shared delivery and Support (GTS) have been sold to IBM Modis a subsidiary of Adecco on December 31st. The IBM Italy unions say "it is an operation done to get rid of older and more expensive employees. Of the 306 transferred to Modis the average age is 53 compared to the average of 40 years in the group". The unions have taken their case to the courts but so far IBM has refused to participate in discussions. The unions have called a strike for February 5th in protest of the transfers. Adecco is a temporary staffing agency/contractor.
    • Open letter to IBM Board of Directors from an IBM employee:
      "I’m a long-time IBMer. I originally applied just out of college, was interviewed, and not selected. I was crushed, and vowed to build my resume and apply again later. I did just that. When I came into IBM, it was a flourishing company. Java was in is beginnings, and IBM was building great products. I was a top achiever, received world-class training and I was blown away by how smart, motivated, and dedicated the people around me were.

      As a group, we despised the competition and took our jobs and beating the competition very personally. We passionately worked, both during business hours and on our own time, to make our products better than everyone else’s. IBM invested heavily in our training, and we in turn invested our time and passion heavily into IBM. IBM treated us well, and we loved our company.

      I was part of a group that was considered the Green Berets of IBM. If customers got into trouble using our products, IBM deployed us free of charge to make it right, at any cost. Many, many times customers told me that this was the main reason they remained loyal to IBM. I was often given job offers by them, but I loved my company too much. This was the return on investment for IBM’s extensive investment in us and our training.

      Customers realized our high degree of skill and paid top dollar for our services and we guided them through many successful projects. The beauty of it was that we were not only given, but encouraged to spend half of our time writing white papers, books, articles (and paid bonuses) to help our customers; and also given time to work with the development teams to continue to improve our products and stay ahead of the technology curve, using that knowledge we had from being in the trenches with our customers. When there was a new product release coming, we were given deep training in advance so we’d be ready to help customers on day one of the release.

      Then things began to change. The bean counters clearly began to control the company. It was no longer about making great products and investing in employees. Someone realized that our elite group was commanding high rates. The time we were given to write those great papers and books for customers was taken away. Our training was taken away. We were told to bill out fifty hours per week, on top of travel and administrative tasks like time sheets and expense reports.

      Everyone became demoralized and burned out from continuous travel. Many left, and the ones that remained lost their passion. Our skills quickly depleted, and our customers noticed and began to wonder where the Green Berets went and why they were paying top dollar for consultants that were no better than the bargain basement, ineffective ones in other IBM divisions and partners.

      In the years since, we’ve all watched as the company removed all focus on building competitive products. The focus turned completely to financial and accounting. Our products became vastly inferior, we fell behind the technology curve, we lost our vision, we failed to see emerging trends, and we watched as the top executive tier began focusing entirely on their own pay and bonus structure rather than its products and employees.

      Many times a new “company vision” was announced and it was always about the shareholders, not the employees and more importantly, not about the customers or products. This was all in contrast to the great men who built this company by putting those very things first.

      Now we watch as our peers with families, hopes and dreams, after investing so much into IBM over the years, are fired by the thousands here in the US, abusing the intent of the visa laws, to make way for on-shore and offshore replacements that are even more poorly skilled and probably do not even know what “IBM” stands for.

      We watch and can only shrug as our customers become frustrated and angry. We feel bad, because we know how it used to be, back when we were proud, and were anxious to get in front of our happy customers. Now we dread having to face them.

      We watch as our friends and coworkers, after so much loyalty, are shoved out the door, and those of us who remain go year after year without pay raises, while our executive tier shamelessly enjoy huge pay increases and disgustingly large bonuses for their “efforts” while the company continues to fail, and its failure is being hidden from the public with financial shell games.

      As a board, how can you justify rewarding years of failure. Do you have any idea what this is doing to the morale of the other 99.9% of the company?

      I am someone who counts in IBM. I am a crucial part of IBM’s technical team. I have been responsible and had a very large part in some of IBM’s most successful products, even recently when there are few of those. I am about as high in stature as you can get within IBM, and I don’t want to say more without providing too much to identify myself. I have had a career full of PBC 1 ratings. The reason for that is that like so many others around me, in that top technical tier, I no longer care and in fact I now cheer for the company’s failures, rather than reveling in its successes (of which there are no longer any)

      Because of the disgusting actions of our executive leadership, and the gross mistreatment of those who do the actual work, the vast majority of those who count actually now despise our company and its leadership.

      You may be enjoying the demise of the valiant union effort by the IBM Alliance and Lee Conrad, thanks to you blocking their attempts to communicate and organize the employees. You may consider that a victory. You have your cheerleaders in Warren Buffet and the folks at Motley Fool, but let it be known to yourselves and the public that almost to a man and woman, you have lost, because you don’t have what it takes to succeed – dedicated, motivated, smart employees. To leave a CEO in place that is so obviously incompetent and anti-employee is a big mistake.

      Today there is yet another “major announcement,” another shell game of moving people and divisions around, but it doesn’t matter. We know our products are behind the curve, extremely buggy, and unreliable, because the people that work on them are either incompetent or just don’t care. In that sense, you have lost, and you are doomed.

      As a top technical professional, it’s always been a big part of my job to help design and improve our products.

      That is what I have been justifiably measured by, along with my peers. In today’s Dilbert-esque IBM, even as technical professionals we are not measured on anything but sell, sell, sell. I’m not a seller. I have poor social and negotiation skills. But I can code my way around just about anything, and I understand today’s technical landscape and what tomorrow’s will look like.

      I get to spend no time on those things these days. It’s all about selling our inferior, bandaged-up-for-cloud products to unwitting customers, and it’s downright dishonest and something I’m not proud of.

      Like so many others, I’m just biding my time each day, polishing my resume, and hoping that I’ll be offered one of those nice packages to get out. You must understand, that’s what the majority of the people I work with are doing. It’s an open joke in the workplace.

      Your only hope is to make changes at the top immediately, apologize to your customers and employees, and begin today to put the focus back on building great products, with great people. The company may be too far gone for even that, but at least you can give it the old college try, and maybe we can all go out with some dignity."

    • The Board doesn't give a hoot. That's the problem. I remember when someone left the company, management wanted to know why. I say, God Bless them!
    • My husband could have written this exact same letter. IBM treats its salaried employees like slaves; they are probably making minimum wage if you count actual hours, and that forced billing, etc. Just about drove me insane when they forced working from home. I've hated IBM almost since he first started working for them. Incompetent higher managers, kids that know zero about building a relationship with customers, etc. Glad he's out now.
    • I started in 98 and was part of the RA graduating class of 09. I could not be happier that I left. They are not the IT company people think they are.
    • You essentially nailed it, the only products worth anything at IBM today were initially developed in the late 90's or prior. The company is a standing joke today.
    • Sad but true...for years I was proud to say I worked for IBM but towards the end for me there was no pride; just frustration, stress, disgust, sadness. As a manager having to RA (i.e.lay off) my senior team members who a few months earlier I had been forced to give completely undeserved PBC 3s due to the bell curve was the proverbial straw. I was very happy to join the ex-IBMers club after 17 years there. Oh, and to be told to tell them it was because their role had been made redundant then advertise for their replacement before they'd even left...well that's just pathetic.
    • Well, they have been quite innovative over the years with new terms for layoffs! I believe the most recent is resource action. Let's see, before that was it just reorganization? Downsizing, etc.
    • "Nice package" = history. One month separation package only, regardless of tenure or band or PBC or accomplishments. If anyone is still hoping for a "nice package" - not happening.
  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “Flexible working is a real benefit”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Dublin, Co. Dublin (Ireland).

      Pros: IBM offer flexible working arrangements - part time, job sharing, work from home and flexible work hours.

      Cons: Working part time can limit the role you take on and make career progression more difficult but that is the case in all organisations. People who are part time are expected to do the same work as a full time person and their performance is judged against their full time peers. This means that you get part time pay but often are expected to work 40+ hours. As IBM is going through many reorganisations job security is a real concern for all employees.

    • “ccool”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: it was great i lved it so much. Cons: nothing abd about it they were awesome. Advice to Management: do well
    • “Sales”

      Former Employee — Sales Specialist. I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Do have access to many accounts quickly just due to brand. Some incredibly smart folks. Cons: Google "project chrome" before joining. Payout on big deals is always a fight; sometimes sales professional loses. Quotas began doubling each half. First line management changes every 3-5 months. My opinion is that the ethics of the company have declined. Advice to Management: Be leaders and treat Sales personnel like they can go anywhere else to work instead of the constant cadence sessions and boxing rounds.
    • “IBM Global Business Consulting Services”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Extremely loyal and intelligent co-workers who value their teammates. Cons: Requires significantly more than a 40 hour work week for mediocre pay. Advice to Management: Need to keep salaries on pace with the rest of the economy and our competitors or our people will continue to leave.
    • “Smyrna Call Center Sweatshop”

      Former Employee — Services Sales Representative in Smyrna, GA. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 5 years).

      Pros: IBM offers great benefits to its employees — affordable healthcare, purchasing discounts, sick leave, 401K and stock purchase plans.

      Cons: Beware of success. If you perform a job well at the Smyrna Call Center, you will be consigned to that role forever unless you do so serious internal politicking.

      You have managers who've never done the roles they manage and therefore lack any ability to relate to the sales reps or understand what it takes to meet/exceed your quota. I personally encountered some of the most dysfunctional, petty first line managers in my entire sales career. At least two desperately needed therapy (world class narcissists) and had no business managing people.

      Also, the Smyrna location is a haven for positions awarded through entitlement, not skill. In the words of another manager who left, "If you are not a manager here, you are not a citizen." I was not a citizen. I left after five years and never looked back.

      Advice to Management: MBWA. Manage by walking around. Get out of your cubicle. Find out what it REALLY takes to fill a pipeline and close a deal. Do and say what is right for the business and customer, not just what is politically correct for your position and year-end bonus. Don't just say what the BUE (Business Unit Executive) wants to hear. Stop being petty and expand your business paradigm.

    • “Fast improvement over the last 2 years”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM (less than a year). Pros: People development, career path, salary. Cons: Lack of additional benefits, bureaucracy. Advice to Management: More often to talk to employees.
    • “Running software business”

      Former Employee — Country Leader in Istanbul (Turkey). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Full overview of software business allowing to reach almost everybody at the client. Easy access to top management. Multiple GTM and RTM models in engaging clients. Cons: No focus. No channel. Purely operational. No client perspective. Too much internal work. Too many reviews. Too many changes. Too many turnovers. Advice to Management: Try to understand clients more
    • “Only for starters...”

      Former Employee — Digital Sales in Dublin, Co. Dublin (Ireland). I worked at IBM (less than a year).

      Cons: Location at the end of the world, without a car you are in a difficult situation. There is company transport which costs you 140 euros a month. Old buses that stop on the highway. Commissions are not paid at all, or with errors. When you claim it they tell you the process is closed. Mid management useless; interested in promotions and how the team "looks from the outside". They ask for a lot of overtime, however no compensation. Use it as a beginner then move on.

      Advice to Management: Work on the processes.

    • “Going through transformation”

      Current Employee — Consultant. I have been working at IBM (more than 5 years). Pros: IBM is going through a big transformation. It has the right people at right place to make it happen. It is already a leader in cognitive capabilities and I foresee a clear path to past glory. Cons: Nothing at all. Very good company. Please join. Advice to Management: Nothing. Management team is great.
    • “Long term in question”

      Former Employee — Executive IT Architect in Atlanta, GA. Pros: Awesome salary, great smart people to work with. Great projects if you can jump onto a good one. Cons: Employee morale going down every day. Layoffs constantly looming, separation pay down to one month now. Adios good old days. Advice to Management: Just say No to sinful requests from above.
    • “A grand old building being looted by the executives.”

      Former Employee — Sales Executive. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: IBM sits in front of massive revenue streams. They pay on time although their ethics (especially on sales commissions) are deplorable.

      Cons: Intellectual capital is the only true asset a technology company owns. They are running talent out the door as quickly as possible. There is value in the gigantic revenue they control and huge inertia for their customers to drop them, and if (God help you) you work here, you will see first hand how the leadership team is shoveling that cash into their pockets as quickly as they can.

      Advice to Management: You run the worst large technology company I've seen in 20 + years in the business. Write a self congratulatory blog about that!

    • “Customer satisfaction is key”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Great software portfolio offering that customers can plan a roadmap. Flexibility to work from home. Despite market condition, I've never missed any annual increment. Cons: Monthly target closure has pushed management mindset to be short term, silo and myopic. Lack of awareness built on new product. Oblivious to competitors activities. Internal KPI precedes customer satisfaction. Advice to Management: Refrain from using threatening words e.g. your head will roll or you will be executed to employees.
    • “Too Big and Failing”

      Former Employee — Communications in Littleton, MA. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: It looks good on a resume and people immediately respond to the name recognition of IBM. So it has that going for it, which is good I guess.

      Cons: Like most people at IBM, we were acquired. We had high hopes, but they ended when we realized IBM had no interest in our business and certainly no intentions of investing in it to make it work. So we languished on an island for two years — losing good people the whole time — all the while being treated with disinterest. Unless they wanted to complain about decreasing revenue. Then they'd take interest. All in all just a horrible place to work with confusing chains of management and little to no value.

      Advice to Management: Get it together.

    • “It was good company to work for”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Nice work environment to for witj. Cons: I do not think of any.
    • “Human Resources”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Flexible work at home options. Education to keep you current with technical, business and HR issues. Social communities to stay connected across business units and initiatives. Cons: Very large and impersonal unless you work in an office. Very little recognition unless you are in sales. Work demands can be over the top! Advice to Management: Create more opportunities for teaming across skills so team members can learn from each other.
    • “IBM, Software Group”

      Former Employee — Director (Band D) in Littleton, MA . I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Able to gain a great breadth of experience across multiple geographies and organizations all within one company. If you manage your own career well, then you will excel at IBM.

      Cons: Once you are above a first-line manager level you can anticipate back-to-back meetings all day; simultaneous need to be available on instant messenger (Sametime) for answers, questions ,and respond to comments; a full email inbox with a need for immediate response, and an expectation of availability outside business hours. It's an incredible place to work, but you need to manage up, down, and side to side at all times to be successful.

    • “Managing Consultant”

      Former Employee — Managing Consultant in Atlanta, GA.

      Pros: Decent compensation. Pay for travel and lodging. Access to new technologies.

      Cons: Questionable employment practices in their services group, typical big corporate environment with little regard for employee personal growth. Big disconnect between HR, managers, resource placement personnel. Management focused only on billing. Bureaucratic delays. Employee penalized or terminated even if they fail to assign employee to a project; not a stable work environment if looking for a career in their Services Division.

      Advice to Management: If you hire then it's your responsibility to utilize them and place on client projects. If not, then don't use it as means to deny benefits and use it as a measure of performance to negatively impact careers. The word has gotten around of these unethical practices and people are reluctant to join such an organization

    • “Director and Senior Account Executive”

      Current Employee — Senior Account Executive in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Some interesting programs like Watson. Cons: Being ruined by financial executives and relentless cost-cutting. Advice to Management: Invest in the future with an innovative strategy.
    • “CbD program in Global Business Services”

      Current Employee — Technology Consultant in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Name recognition for resume. Wealth of opportunities. Very competitive pay for a job straight out of college. Talented coworkers. Work from home opportunities. Travel opportunities.

      Cons: Getting placed on projects is more about who you know than anything else, and when you're a new college hire you don't know anyone. Have fun being on the bench for 3+ months. The process for finding a project is outdated and overall very awful.

      Software development jobs are being outsourced. If you hoped to gain experience in this area during your time at IBM, run away as fast as you can.

      IBM recently got rid of alternate travel, which is a well known perk that virtually every other firm in the consulting industry offers. The reasoning was dubious at best and signifies a disconnect between upper management and the consultants with their boots on the ground.

      Not sure how IBM expects to compete with the Accentures and Deloittes of the world by offering less perks.

      Advice to Management: For the love of god please hire less college grads; there are scores and scores of them sitting on the bench. Paying them to do nothing or creating BS internal roles for them in order to not take a hit to utilization does not generate value for shareholders, and makes it much harder than other firms to find projects. This also leads to the high turnover that has caused so many to be hired in the first place. I've worked at IBM for a year now and have yet to be placed on a project that was in an area I'm interested in. I'm currently in the process of looking for a new job. Bring back alternate travel. If you're making consultants travel all the time at least allow them this one perk.

    • “Not what is was”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Mount Pleasant, SC. I worked at IBM (more than a year). Pros: Many opportunities and exposure to a variety of industries. Great experience. IBMers were good people to work with, always willing to help and get the job done. Cons: Corporate management focuses on EPS, uses employees and contractors as a commodity to reduce spending via reduced hours, layoffs, etc. Increased offshoring of jobs, reduced salaries, reduced educational opportunities for US workers. Organic revenues have been steadily declining.
    • “Not the best place to work”

      Current Employee — Window Engineer in Boulder, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years) Pros: Lots of things to work on and different areas to get in to, if you are in sales. Good name to have on the resume. Cons: They seem to focus more on sales than delivery. Projects are always understaffed and people are pushed to work a lot of hours. No money for training but you are required to keep your self up to date. Advice to Management: Reward the people who actually do the work; have raises based on the things you have done not by who the managers like. There is no emphasis on keeping people at IBM.
    • “Awful company to work for”

      Current Employee — Consultant in Stockholm, Stockholm (Sweden). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: Recognized name, at least among the older generations. Polished surface with an impressive history. The first few days are usually good, then you realize where you've ended up.

      Cons: IBM is an awful company to work for, and here's why:

      • Compensation is very poor. Forget about annual raises and bonuses.
      • Performance is at an all-time low. And it's getting worse!
      • The management philosophy is: leading by fear. There is no interest in improvement. Complain and they will harass you on a daily basis.
      • Most competitors are way ahead — regardless if it's external offerings or internal procedures.
      • Training is non-existent.
      • You will not be doing what you were hired to do, but what's available. This means that even if you're a highly qualified and driven engineer with specialist skills, you'll most likely be put to do meaningless admin, such as onboarding of personnel, sending out emails for the management etc. And this can happen even if you have years in the company.
      • Your time will not be dedicated to value adding work; in fact most of the time will be spent on making sure you are compliant to various procedures and processes. If you're not, you will be hunted like an animal, regardless what it is or if it makes any sense.
      • Looking to get promoted? Forget about it, it takes years and is mostly about filling out paperwork instead of concentrating on your skills.
      • Most talented and driven people leave within a year or two. Left are the ones that are too scared to move on. Don't get comfortable! And finally:
      • Clients have lost trust in IBM, and it is not hard to see why.

      Advice to Management: It's too late, so sit tight and chill. The bright people have left and the pretty boat is sinking.

    • “Large Corporation Attitude”

      Former Employee — Service Delivery Manager in McKinney, TX. I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Their benefits were probably better than average. You would be in good company of many fine professional individuals but not the company ethos. Cons: As they reduce their US based workforce, the expectation is you train your overseas replacement. Workload kept increasing with no reasonable way to maintain any quality output.
    • “Server Engineer”

      Former Employee — Server Engineer in Richmond, VA. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 8 years).

      Pros: IBM was great when I first started in 2005. It went down hill 3 years later. Good health care benefits. The only thing that made me stick around was I had a great manager.

      Cons: Constantly outsourcing. Have to hand hold India staff. No accountability for offshore staff and their inability. No work/life balance. Upper management constantly trying to work exempt staff 60 hours a week. Pay raises and/or bonuses are years apart if you get one. IBM focused on doing the least amount of work possible for the contract. They don't supply the software/tools to do the job. Only way to get tools is if it was freeware.

      There was no career path. I was stuck doing the same thing for years and losing my skill set. Getting cut from IBM was the best thing that ever happened with IBM. I attended 2 training classes in the 10 years I was there. And that was in the fist 3 years before it fell apart.

      Advice to Management: Do the job you were contracted to do and stop with excuses about the customer. Staff onshore accordingly for the work you contracted to do. If you do a good job on the contract in the first place you can set your contract prices higher. Not low ball to keep the contract. Invest in your employees and train them.

    • “IT Architect”

      Current Employee — IT Architect in Dublin, Co. Dublin (Ireland) I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros: Flexibility; work from home; good opportunities within IBM; structured career paths. Cons: Hard to get training; difficult to advance bands; travel economy. Advice to Management: I believe it is false economy to send employers on long distance trips on economy flights. Obviously cost is reduced, but the downside is exhaustion, sometimes post flight sickness and certainly not somebody who is ready to hit the ground running for its intended business purpose.
    • “Your Mileage Will Vary”

      Current Employee — Technical Solutions Architect in Washington, DC. CEO I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: IBM has over 400k staff worldwide so you have great opportunities to work for them wherever you happen to live. The career paths offered run the full spectrum of degrees and skills needed. You have the opportunity to work with some of the top people in any technical field, right up there with Apple and Google, though IBM is enterprise-only; they don't do consumer-level business. IBM is attempting to re-invent itself currently via CAMSS strategy which features Watson and the Internet of Things, and it will likely succeed.

      Cons: The company's benefits have whittled down over time but they're still pretty decent though with several caveats. For instance, they'll fund your 401k at 6% but you have to wait a full year, then wait till the end of the next year for it to hit. They offer 15 days vacation but it's use-or-lose annually. They'll recap your company laptop but only after 4 years. Their pay levels are not industry leading. Their stock has dropped 35% since I joined a few years ago. IBM is re-inventing itself currently via CAMSS strategy, so it's enduring transformation pains.

      Advice to Management: Value the employee. Many leading companies value their employees as their most valuable asset. IBM has yet to embrace that population-wide. It happens in pockets but it's not prevalent.

    • “Service Delivery”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN . I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: I thoroughly enjoyed the SSR work! IBM had such a fantastic reputation. Having IBM on your resume still looks good.

      Cons: I would not want to be an SSR at IBM today. High stress, low reward. You are expected to actively participate in the sales and leads process, even as a non-customer facing SSR. The pay raise, IF you can get one, does not keep up with the annual increase in the cost of benefits. It is all about making the executives wealthier at an enormous cost to you and your family.

      Advice to Management: Employees do not come to work to make you wealthy. If it is not a win-win situation, don't play the game. Your employees do not have to work for you. When I was told, yet again, that I would not be getting a pay raise I went and found my own. I received a 20% pay raise with a company whose health benefits were not only better than big blue's, but half the cost,

    • “Operations Manager”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Tucson, AZ. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Name brand recognition on your resume. Cons: Company seems to be run quarter to quarter with little thought/investment in long term business goals. Lots of layers of managers that seemingly only job roles are to report on meetings to a higher level of management who then reports that information to another meeting. Email storage. Advice to Management: Invest in your people, products and services don't just focus on quarterly stock results. Cut out about 5-6 layers between the CEO and where the work is done.
    • “Great employer, dying company.”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Fantastic benefits. Great perks. Team-oriented work. Opportunities for those without higher education. Allows one to work from home. Friendly to veterans. Cons: Everyone knows that IBM is a dying company. They excel at research, IT consulting, and business computing, but they have failed to stand out in the big data and social ages. Advice to Management: Offer competitive environment and more substantial conversation. All of the real talent is heading to Wall Street, the Big Three, or startups.
    • “Company driven by stock market.”

      Former Employee — Systems Engineer. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Working remotely, flexible schedule, and great people. Cons: Job cuts happened quarterly. It was brutal trying to keep up with who still supported the accounts. Advice to Management: Get back to the roots of the company and drive new technology instead watching for success and playing catch up.
    • “Good army in the trenches, bad generals”

      Current Employee — Manager in Armonk, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros:Very smart technical people. Interesting challenges. Cons: Terrible executives who lack vision for more than the stock price. Little concern for the human resource. Advice to Management: The board needs to go outside for a new CEO who can drive a vision.
    • “A tech company with a strong Neanderthal culture”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Brooklyn, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (less than a year).

      Pros: Their job descriptions are great. If you like to have your job description to say amazing things, this is the place for you (unless you're actually interested in the content of the actual role).

      Cons: Dinosaur culture. Almost everyone you will meet working at IBM started their careers at IBM and there is a reason for that. The employees or senior management don't really have exposure to the real world and they just don't know how bad the place is. Things like the lack of coffee or proper drinking water for employees do not bother these people because they haven't seen any better.

      The place is a dump. Culture is awful and from the actual work you do (which most of the times is completely meaningless, because of the antiquated management and reporting systems in place) to the treatment you get at the cafeteria (where you are a paid customer but the guy at the grill is out smoking while the cafeteria is open and the cash register person is nowhere to be found because you're in the middle of some kind of forest and there is nowhere else to go) everything is awful...but because nobody at the company has seen any better, nothing ever changes.

      If you come here with prior work experience, nobody will care about or even understand what you did before. Management isn't interested in the real world outside, and the results they produce show it.

      Advice to Management: Stop lying to people in your job descriptions. Put this company out of its misery already, break it up and sell it before it becomes completely useless.

    • “Delivery Project Executive”

      Former Employee — Delivery Project Executive in Monterrey, Nuevo León (Mexico). I worked at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Great career opportunities and an incredible amount of knowledge and training. Cons: Insane workload at the outsourcing units. Advice to Management: Work/life balance can't be limited to a classroom manual.
    • “35 Years at IBM”

      Former Employee —Anonymous Employee in New Haven, CT. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: The first 20 years (1978 -1998) were great. It was like working for a family business. Cons: Revoking medical and retirement benefits was like moving the goal post in the middle of the game. It just did not seem like the fair and ethical thing to do for existing employees. Advice to Management: If you change benefit plans, do it for new employees only.
    • “Service Support Representative”

      Former Employee — Service Support Representative in New Brunswick, NJ. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Worked on different corporate account and learned a lot throughout the years. Work/life balance was great. Worked with great team leads. You get 3 weeks paid time off the first day of employment.

      Cons: No raises. Stopped giving out annual bonus. No career growth. Management expects you to further your education at your expense. Health benefits with high deductibles. (Used to be good; now they're okay)/ Always worried you're going to get laid off come January. (No stability).

      Advice to Management: I don't blame first-line management for this company cutting back on benefits etc.. This company used to be a great company to work for; not anymore.

    • “Bad management that relies on smoke and mirrors”

      Current Employee — Senior Hardware Design Engineer in Poughkeepsie, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Flexible work schedule but expect to work much more than 40 hours a week. If a new hire, they will treat you better for awhile until the favorites are chosen and the next batch come in.

      Cons: Below average pay for above average work load. No pay raises for several years in a row. Raise have been below CPI since Gerstner left. Lower-level management is very political and petty. Upper-level management completely clueless. They think being a "me too" company will lead to profits.

      Advice to Management: They need to take of advantage of the internal innovation instead of try to follow what their paid consultants are telling them is the hottest trend in the industry.

    • “Corporate Greed At Its Finest”

      Former Employee — IT Specialist Doesn't. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Ability to telecommute. Connecting with people locally, nationally and globally.

      Cons: Employee pay was cut by 10% more than once. In office, workers were denied office supplies. Quarterly layoffs due to replacing experienced stateside employees with offshore, inexperienced, undependable, straight-out-of-high-school kids. Ten layers of overpaid management, whose jobs are never in jeopardy, consistently get bonuses because they "make their numbers" by firing people instead of being innovative with cost saving products or processes. CEO and completely unnecessary upper management are totally out of touch — they view employees, who actually contribute by doing the work, as expenses instead of the valuable assets they are.

      Advice to Management: You get what you pay for! Clients will continue to dump IBM because the only concern is YOUR bottom line instead of the quality of service provided to customers.

    • “Great people, no raise, increasing workload”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Rochester, MN. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years).

      Pros: IBM has a great people and I really enjoy the IBM learning and sharing culture.

      Cons: Pretty high turnaround, more work landing at your desk not reflected on the paycheck. Very minimal to none salary increase just for top performers. I think morale of all employees is going significantly down the hill.

      Advice to Management: Try to retain the more experienced employees by evaluating their work other than verbally also financially.

    • “IBM review”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in New York, NY.

      Pros: You will meet a lot of intelligent, talented, skilled people. Some name brand recognition for those who would not know any better.

      Cons: You will be a number, a resource to be used up. Very little career development will be available to give you flexibility to leverage your industry outside the ibm ecosystem. Poor morale.

      Advice to Management: Fix morale. Try to find out what is going on from people other than your management reports who will tell you what you want to hear. And forget the company survey route. As far as technical direction for the company as a whole - it seems that they are lost.

    • “Business Development Executive/Project Manager”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Irvine, CA.

      Pros: Company name recognition, excellent pay, opportunity for advancement as long as you are not on the resource list.

      Cons: NO job security; sales quotas not attainable any longer because they are not even close to being realistic; products and services are in decline and not even competitive; R&D is almost nonexistent, and even when you do an excellent job you could still be resourced for no cause.

      Advice to Management: Management, along with some of the top executives who do a very poor job keep their management roles and many times get promoted to a better position within the company even though they missed their sales numbers by a long shot. Why do you in management protect and promote incompetence by fellow IBMers? Management is protected from the resource actions for some reason and just play a revolving musical chair strategy that keeps them employed.

      The sales teams are NOT as lucky as management is and when the numbers are not where they should be are singled out and resourced almost immediately.

      Why is this the new normal at IBM? Clean up your own departments and groups before singling out the sales teams who are trying to sell some of the inferior products and service offerings they are required to sell.

      Does the total disaster Power and the pseudo Cloud offerings come to mind? This company is now run very poorly and it is only a matter of time until the investors and the board finally realize that severe changes are required for the survival of the company. Then you in management can leave with all of your stock options and golden parachutes thinking you did a great job. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert — January 22, 2016 (PDF). Stories this week include:
    • Rubio, Kasich Respond to Alliance Questions about Social Security and Medicare Cuts
    • Income Inequality is Drastically Affecting Social Security’s Solvency
    • Hospitals are working to Prevent Seniors from Falling
    • Come to the Alliance’s 2016 Western, Southern Regional Conferences
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert — January 29, 2016 (PDF). Stories this week include:
    • President Obama Previews Retirement Plan Changes He Will Submit to Congress
    • Silver Tsunami: 25 Million More Medicare Beneficiaries by 2036
    • A Young Person’s Guide to Social Security Provides Broad Overview of the Program
    • Last Day to Get Discounted Hotel Rate for Western Regional Conference
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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