IBM Layoffs Begin in Workforce Rebalancing Effort
Moreover, IBM said it would invest more than $1 billion into the Watson Group, focusing on development and research and bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market. This will include the establishment of a $100 million venture investment fund to support IBM's recently launched ecosystem of startups and businesses that are building a new class of cognitive apps powered by Watson, in the IBM Watson Developers Cloud. Just this week IBM announced the Watson Mobile Developers Challenge. Announced Feb. 26 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge encourages developers globally to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson. Also last month, IBM pledged to commit $1.2 billion to significantly expand its global cloud footprint, beefing up its SoftLayer infrastructure and other components. Big Blue said the investment includes a network of cloud centers designed to bring clients greater flexibility, transparency and control over how they manage their data, run their business and deploy their IT operations locally in the cloud. In 2014, IBM plans to deliver cloud services from 40 data centers worldwide in 13 countries and five continents globally, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Among the newest IBM cloud centers to launch are Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, London, Toronto, Japan, India, China, Canada, Mexico and Dallas.Meanwhile, IBM will continue to build out its Windows and Linux software offerings for the x86 server platform, and for a while, will provide maintenance delivery on the systems. Lenovo will take over customer services and maintenance operations, the companies said. About 7,500 IBM employees worldwide—including at such sites as Raleigh, N.C.; Shanghai and Shenzhen in China; and Taipei, Taiwan—will be offered employment by Lenovo. Workforce rebalancing is nothing new to IBM. Last year the company took a $1 billion restructuring charge and parted ways with up to 8,000 employees globally. Earlier this month, the Alliance@IBM released figures on job cuts abroad, including angry reports from IBM India workers that began flooding the union's Website, though no numbers were released for India. Yet the alliance reported losses of 1,500 positions in Brazil, 600 in Argentina, 480 in France and 430 in Italy. In addition to Vermont and Minnesota, Alliance@IBM also reports IBM job cuts in various New York locations, Littleton, Mass.; Dubuque, Iowa; Columbia, Mo.; Tulsa, Okla.; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; and Tucson, Ariz. However, according to reports, IBM has committed to bring 500 jobs to a new, 100,000-square-foot, state-owned computer information technology center in Buffalo, N.Y., to train future and current industry workers.
To top things off, IBM in January announced it was selling its x86 business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion. In this deal, Lenovo will get IBM's System x systems, as well as its BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations.