Big Blue Blues

Robert Cringely, on the case now for seven years, argues that IBM is doomed:

Even on the surface, IBM in early 2014 looks like a troubled company. Sales are flat to down, and earnings are, too. More IBM customers are probably unhappy with Big Blue right now than are happy. After years of corporate downsizing, employee morale is at an all-time low. Bonuses and even annual raises are rare. But for all that, IBM is still an enormous multinational corporation with high profits, deep pockets, and grand ambitions for new technical initiatives in cloud computing, Big Data analytics, and artificial intelligence, as embodied in the company’s “Jeopardy” game-show-winning Watson technology. Yet, for all this, IBM seems to have lost some of its mojo, or at least that’s what Wall Street and the business analysts are starting to think.

Just starting to think? The truth is that IBM is in deep trouble, and has been since before the Great Recession of 2008. The company has probably been doomed since 2010. It’s just that nobody knew it. These are harsh words, I know, and I don’t write them lightly. By doomed, I mean that IBM has chosen a path that, if unchanged, can only lead to decline, corporate despair, and ultimately insignificance for what was once the mightiest of American businesses.

This is some of the best business reporting I’ve read in a long time, and it’s about a company so long-lived and omnipresent in its field that you don’t really ever give it much thought. Cringely has, and concludes that the “Praetorian Guard appears to be in charge these days.”

That’s the death knell for any company — or country.

Read the whole thing, and there is apparently more to come.