[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: What ever happened to... DEC?
>Gary, was it you or someone else who said they went to work for IBM because
>it would be the last American computer company to go out of business before
>the Japanese companies took over the computer industry completely?
No it wasn't me that said that. It's ironic though that when IBM's stock
fell to around $30 (or whatever) the rumors were rampant that we would be
acquired by a Japanese company. I joined IBM because my advisor at Maryland
was a consultant to IBM Federal Systems. They were working on a secret
project (at the time) with Locus Computing Corporation to build a
distributed Unix. IBM was a major backer of a startup that spun off of
several UCLA Ph.D. dissertations. When I joined IBM I didn't plan to stay
as long as I did. I thought I would work on the Locus stuff at IBM for a
couple of years while my wife finished grad school, and then I'd go off to
DEC or Bell Labs or somewhere like that.
IBM is actually a very strange place to work. It's almost like a cult.
From the day I joined they drilled us on how they have this no layoff
policy, they are the greatest company on the planet, every other company is
scum, they will protect us for life, and we are the chosen few. They lead
you to believe that the world would come to an end if you left IBM. After
my daughter was born, I started to buy into all this crap because I wanted
to give my family the best. There was a period where I absolutely hated
what I was doing, but I thought I'd be crazy to leave my protective parent
You can imagine what it was like when IBM started to implode in the early
90's. IBM ended up laying off 200,000 people over several years. The
tension level and the sense of betrayal the employees felt was unbelievable.
The rumors were rampant and nobody was doing any work, which just made
things all that much worse.
The best thing that happened was when IBM sold us off. At the time I
thought it was the end of the world and all my colleagues did too, but now
4.5 years later things have improved tremendously. It's like I've been
de-programmed from the cult. It's amazing though, how many people are still
fixated with IBM. We've lost many people that have quit and returned to
IBM, and some of the old timers still talk as though it was the most
horrible thing that we were sold. It's particularly amazing, because people
with 25 years of IBM service were allowed to retire with their full
pensions, and guaranteed a position with the new company at the same salary
as they had with IBM before they retired.
Hopefully things will work out as well for DEC as they did for us. It is
ominous though that Compaq plans to layoff so many people. We were lucky in
that IBM Federal Systems was very profitable, and there were no layoffs
during the acquisition by Loral and the subsequent merger with Lockheed