Big Blue's Blues

Another deep round of belt tightening is changing the shape of IBM

IT WAS SHOCKING ENOUGH WHEN THE BLUEST OF America's blue-chip companies, IBM, announced last November that 20,000 of its 350,000 employees would either retire or resign by the end of this year. But when the estimate of departing workers doubled to 40,000 last week, the effect was numbing, both to the public and to the markets, where IBM stock is trading near its 10-year low. By the time the last pink slip and gold watch are handed out, the world's largest computer company will be but three-quarters the size it was in 1985.

IBM's downsizing will change not only the volume...

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