IBM Layoffs Said To Be Widespread Throughout Company


IBM is following through on its plans to reduce its workforce, laying off an undisclosed number of employees throughout the company worldwide.

The layoffs -- "resource actions" in IBM-speak -- were expected after the company reported a 5 percent drop in sales in its first quarter ended March 31. CFO Mark Loughridge, in an earnings call at the time, said the company would "take the bulk of [its] workforce balancing actions for the year in the second quarter."

An IBM spokesman confirmed cutbacks are occurring but declined to provide details.

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"IBM is investing in growth areas for the future: big data, cloud computing, social business and the growing mobile computing opportunity," the spokesman said in a statement to CRN. "The company has always invested in transformational areas, and as a result, we need to remix our skills so IBM can lead in these higher-value segments in both emerging markets and in more mature economies.

"Change is constant in the technology industry and transformation is an essential feature of our business model. Consequently, some level of workforce remix is a constant requirement for our business. Given the competitive nature of our industry, we do not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans," the spokesman said.

Loughridge also indicated that IBM is considering selling off some of its poor-performing businesses. CRN reported earlier this year that IBM was in talks to sell its x86-based server business to Lenovo.

The layoffs began June 12, and several published reports put the total between 6,000 and 8,000 employees, with the majority occurring outside North America. Alliance@IBM, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America that's tried for years to organize IBM workers, has put the number of layoffs in North America at close to 2,200.

The Alliance@IBM website is rife with comments from laid off IBM workers.

"Just got RAed, after ten years. I was not at all shocked, knew it would happen sooner or later. I will survive and will be happier. Good bye IBM!!!!!!" said one posting from a Somers, N.Y. employee.

"I am one of 83 Marketing & Communications employees being permanently laid off today. Separation date is 7/12. I work from home," said another.

The cutbacks appear to be spread across most operations of the company including the Systems & Technology Group, the Software Group, Global Business Services, Global Technology Services, and research and development.

The cuts are also geographically broad, with reports of layoffs at IBM facilities in Essex Junction, Vt.; Austin, Texas; Littleton, Mass.; Raleigh, N.C.; Tucson, Ariz.; Ottawa, Ontario; and Somers and Fishkill, N.Y., among others.

PUBLISHED JUNE 18, 2013