Magical thinking at IBM

Third in a long series of columns about what’s wrong with IBM

The current irrationality at IBM described in my two previous columns and in the comments so far from about 300 readers is not new. Big Blue has been in crazy raptures before. One was the development of the System 360 in the 1960s when T.J. Watson Jr. bet the company and won big, though it took two tries and almost killed the outfit along the way. So there’s a legacy of heroic miracles at IBM, though it has been a long while since one really paid off.

There are those who would strongly disagree with this last statement. They’d say that with its strong financial […]

By |April 19th, 2012|2012|79 Comments

Something’s rotten in IBM Dubuque

Part two in a long series of posts about what’s wrong with IBM  

IBM’s 2015 plan was hatched to deliver $20 earnings-per-share to the delight of Wall Street. IBMers were offered a carrot, a few shares of stock granted at the end of 2015, as a reward for helping them achieve that target. It appears that IBM’s goal is not to issue any of those grants as they continue to conduct resource actions (IBMspeak for permanent layoffs) and remove talented and valuable US employees in favor of moving work to low cost countries such as Brazil, Argentina, India, China and Russia.

Work that stays onshore is mainly sent to what are called Global Delivery Facilities (GDF’s), […]

By |April 18th, 2012|2012|210 Comments

Not your father’s IBM

This is my promised column about IBM — the first of several on the topic, all to be delivered this week.  The last time I wrote at length about Big Blue was in 2007.  I have been asked by readers many times to revisit the subject, something I haven’t wanted to do because it is such a downer. Writing the last time I hoped the situation, once revealed, would improve. But it hasn’t. And so, five years later, I turn to IBM again. The direct impetus for this column is IBM’s internal plan to grow earnings-per-share (EPS) to $20 by 2015. The primary method for accomplishing this feat, according to the plan, will be by […]

By |April 18th, 2012|2012|448 Comments

Watch out IBM!

Back in 2007, when I was still writing for PBS, I posted a couple of columns about IBM that caused great consternation for the company. I predicted an acceleration in offshoring and outsourcing that upset IBM employees and customers alike. Thousands of IBM careers were about to be disrupted. The company denied my story and even, I’m told, made a few changes to its plan in response to what I had written. It showed the power of the blogosphere, how one person with a little insight and good sources can affect an industry. And it’s about to happen again.

This coming Wednesday I’ll post another IBM column based on a look I got recently […]

By |April 14th, 2012|2012|79 Comments

Microsoft AOL Patent Theater

Nothing is ever exactly as it seems in the business of technology and that certainly applies to AOL’s recent patent auction, won by Microsoft with a bid of $1.056 billion. This event wasn’t really an auction and had little to do with patents, yet it probably marks the peak of the current patent bubble.

On the face of it, AOL selling its 800 patents to Microsoft was about raising cash for the troubled online company, allowing it to pass some of that money on to disgruntled shareholders in the form of a one-time dividend or share buy-back. And the patents were substantial, since they included not just AOL’s own productivity but also that of Netscape, Mirabilis (ICQ), and any other AOL acquisitions over the years.  […]

By |April 12th, 2012|2012|39 Comments