Murphy's Law

At International Business Machines last year, they thought everything that could go wrong for the computer company did. Market share fell in every single product line; the once unshakable firm was forced to revoke a 78-year policy against involuntary layoffs; and it recorded losses of $3 billion. This year isn't shaping up any better. Standard & Poor's stripped IBM of its prized triple-A credit ranking, lowering it three notches to double-A-minus. That will adversely affect some $19 billion worth of senior debt. Last March, Moody's Investors Service downgraded IBM's debt rating.

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