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IBM Layoffs: Big Blue Looks To ‘Reposition’ Workforce As Cuts Hit

An online forum suggests a spate of ‘resource actions’ especially impacting the GTS cloud infrastructure consulting services division. CNBC suggests a 1,700 worker reduction

IBM has executed another round of layoffs this week, with reports of some 1,700 employees losing their jobs as the company restructures its workforce to focus on cloud and other emerging technologies, according to several media reports including CNBC.

"We are continuing to reposition our team to align with our focus on the high-value segments of the IT market, and we also continue to hire aggressively in critical new areas that deliver value for our clients and IBM," Ed Barbini, an IBM spokesperson, told CRN via email.

CNBC -- citing a person familiar with the matter -- reported half of 1 percent of global staff were let go in the latest round, which rounds to 1,700 of the company's 340,000 workforce.

[Related: Report: IBM Considering 30 Percent Reductions In Global Technology Services Staff, Redeploying Thousands Of Services Professionals]  

Employees shared anecdotal stories Thursday suggesting a surge in "resource actions" across several divisions and geographies around the world. The layoffs appear particularly concentrated in the Global Technology Services division, according to the anonymous reports posted on the online forum

In its earnings statement in April, IBM reported a revenue slump, with disappointing results in Global Technology Services. The infrastructure and cloud services division, which also encompasses technology support, declined by 7 percent year over year.

One anonymous poster on forum wrote: "60%+ of GTS Infrastructure Services Delivery teams have been RA’ed today... The same thing, 90 days for us."

"GTS north america got hammered today. Many many many head counts. Me included :(," wrote another.

Yet another post was simply titled: "IBM Cloud Services Layoffs Have Started Today".

The cuts appear to be across the board.

"Folks are getting three months to find a comparable job or leave," one employee wrote about the Watson Health division that delivers cognitive computing solutions to the health care industry.

At the same time, IBM has also been hiring, with 25,000 open positions listed as it bulks up staff in emerging divisions like analytics, security and blockchain, the company has said in the past.

The most recent job cuts come as IBM prepares to close its acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion in the second half of the year.

In May of 2018, IBM confirmed cuts in its Watson Health division, though denied an early report citing unnamed insiders that more than half that division was let go, mostly impacting employees of startups IBM purchased in the health care sector.

The Register reported at the time staff reductions were aimed at workers at Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven; Chicago-based Merge Healthcare; Dallas-based Phytel; and Cleveland, Ohio-based Explorys. Those companies were all acquired by IBM in 2015 and 2016.

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