The New IBM — vampires in our midst

Ginni_RomettyA memo went out this week to managers in IBM’s U.S. Integrated Technology Services division requiring that future use of additional sub-contract (1099) workers must be approved in advance by a director or vice president. This includes coverage for sick days and vacations, not to mention inevitable customer emergencies. The memo further required that the renewal of any ongoing 1099 contracts include an across-the-board 10 percent reduction in labor rates to IBM. While this may not sound like news, inside ITS it has great meaning since the company has already been cut to the bone. There are, for example, reportedly two remaining IBM experts on HP-UX, HP’s version of Unix. Yet IBM supports customer running […]

Georgia Tech’s $7000 polyester masters in computer science

Productivity is good but wage stagnation is not. This trend will only be exacerbated by the trashing of U.S. education standards.

In case you missed it, the Rambling Wrecks of Georgia Tech will next year begin offering an online masters degree in computer science for a total price of just under $7000 — about 80 percent less than the current in-state tuition for an equivalent campus-based program. The degree program, offered in cooperation with AT&T and courseware company Udacity, will cost the same no matter where the students live, though two thirds are expected to live and work outside the USA. Time to complete the degree will vary but Georgia Tech thinks most students […]

Amazon.com isn’t killing Best Buy: blame Best Buy IT

BBclosingBest Buy is in trouble you know. It’s in the news all the time. I wrote a big column about it myself last year. Same store sales have suffered, corporate employees are being laid off, the big U.S. electronics retailer is pulling out of Europe. Best Buy management is in turmoil. The founder leaves in a huff, then tries and fails to take the company private, and is now making nice-nice with the same management he previously reviled. There’s a new head of stores (I wish him well) who thinks the answer is price matching, better sales training and paying workers to sell more stuff, which sounds like commissions […]

Two H-1B’s walk into a bar: more on the visa scam

$10000There’s an old joke in which a man asks a woman if she’ll spend the night with him for $1 million? She will. Then he asks if she’ll spend the night with him for $10?

“Do you think I’m a prostitute?” she asks.

“We’ve already established that,” he replied. “This is just a price negotiation.”

Not a great joke, but it came to mind recently when a reader pointed me to a panel discussion last September at the Brookings Institution ironically about STEM education and the shortage of qualified IT workers. Watch the video if you can, especially the part where Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith offers to pay the government $10,000 each for up to […]

More stupid IBM tricks put customer data at risk

I heard from dozens of readers this morning about a message IBM sent to its current employees concerning their 401K plan — changing it from a contribution in every paycheck to a single contribution at the end of the year. Of course if you are laid off that means no annual contribution, less retirement savings, but a real bonus to the company. This, in itself, isn’t worth a column. It’s just Scrooge IBM being more Scrooge-like in search of that 2015 earnings target. What is worth a column is putting this news in the context of IBM having failed its recent internal security audit, which should concern IBM customers.

What, they didn’t tell you?

How well is […]