• U.S.

TROUBLE Too Damn Comfortable!

1 minute read

Things look a bit grayer at Big Blue these days, at least judging from an internal memo leaked last week by someone within IBM. The theme of a charring corporate review delivered at an April management meeting in Armonk, N.Y., was “Everyone is too damn comfortable at a time when the business is in crisis.” The critique continued: “There’s no fun being a no-growth business. It’s not the stockholders’ fault. The problem belongs to those who manage the business.” Remarkable words under any circumstances, but most remarkable considering the source: IBM chairman John Akers.

The cause of Akers’ aches is hardly a secret. Once synonymous with computers, IBM has seen its worldwide share of the industry toboggan from 37% in 1983 to a current 23%, with little relief in sight. Such statistics may ; have been on Akers’ mind when he warned his captive executive audience, “If any one of you is not keeping pace with the industry, then that is unsatisfactory performance.”

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