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The Decline and Fall of IBM: End of an American Icon? (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Robert Cringely , Katy Gurley , Lars Foster
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IBM is in serious trouble. Big Blue, as the company is known, tends to rely for its success on magical thinking but that magic ran out a long time ago. The company got in trouble back in the 1990s and had to hire for the first time an outside CEO, Lou Gerstner, to save the day. Gerstner pushed IBM into services with spectacular results but this hurt the company, too. As services have became commoditized IBM could only compete by offshoring the work and quality suffered. The other negative impact of Gerstner was his compensation which was for the first time in IBM
history very high. Only the Watson family had become rich running IBM with later CEOs like John Opel and John
Akers living comfortable lives with lots of perks, but they never got BIG RICH. That changed with Gerstner.
Sam Palmisano an IBM lifer followed Gerstner as CEO and followed, too, the Gerstner playbook. Palmisano retired three years ago with a retirement package worth $241 million, replaced by IBM's first woman CEO, Ginni Rometty, who certainly expects a comparable golden parachute. In order to achieve these numbers, though, IBM has essentially sacrificed both its customers and employees. In order to have ever growing earnings per share the company has cut labor to the bone, off-shored everything it can, dropped quality, deliberately underbid contracts to win them then not performed. IBM's acquisition policy is one of buying companies to get their sales then cutting costs to the bone and under-delivering. This and share buybacks have kept earnings growing until this house of cards recently began to fall.
Ginni Rometty, who will end up taking the fall for Palmisano's flawed strategy, has stated a very specific earnings goal for 2015 that she will destroy the company to achieve if she must. This book how IBM fell from grace, where it is headed, and what specifically can be done to save the company before it is too late.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Robert X. Cringely has been a Silicon Valley journalist and character for more than 30 years. An early employee of iconic companies including Apple and Adobe Systems, Cringely began his career as an engineer then transitioned into reporting and analysis, first at InfoWorld and since 1997 as one of the first Internet bloggers, first at and now at His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the world including Forbes, The New York Times, Newsweek, MIT Technology Journal and many others. In addition to InfoWorld he has worked as a columnist for Inc. and Worth magazines and ASCII magazine in Japan. His previous book, Accidental Empires, was published in 18 languages. His television documentaries made primarily for PBS and UK Channel 4 have aired in more than 60 countries. Cringely lives in Santa Rosa, California with his lovely wife and three young sons.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 3731 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 203 Seiten
  • Verlag: NeRDTV. LLC (3. Juni 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00KRHWZ22
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #99.850 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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6 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Robert X. Cringely is a pen name. His real name is Mark Stephens. For further details about his personality go to Wikipedia.

The Preface of this diatribe ends with “Alas, that IBM no longer exists. So I had to write this book to get it back.” Cringely-Stephens never worked in IBM, his motivation seems dubious.

His book’s 187 pages contain 96 pages of quotations declared as input from IBM insiders either anonymous or signed with a name, maybe with a pen name like Cringely-Stephens: 28 pages with ca. 50 inputs dated May 2007; 10 pages with 16 inputs dated 2009; 3 pages with 6 inputs dated 2011; 21 pages with 28 inputs dated 2012 and 20 pages with almost 50 inputs dated 2013, in total ca. 150 inputs. To put this into perspective: IBM has approx. 430.000 employees!

Cringely-Stephens writes in his Introduction: “here is “an e-mail I received this January from a complete stranger at IBM. I have since confirmed the identity of this person. He or she is exactly as described.” … “Please keep this confidential as to who I am, because I’m going to tell you the inside scoop you cannot get. I am rated as a #1. That’s as high as you go, so calling me a disgruntled employee won’t work.” The name of this person remains undisclosed.

He continues: “The only time a traditional reporter bothers to look – really look – inside a company is if they have a book contract, and that is rare. But I’ve been banging away at this story for seven years.” Finishing this pamphlet triggers the famous question “Cui bono?” Maybe he has been commissioned with a “secret” book contract by an IBM enemy, who knows.
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War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Von AL
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Langer Atem des Autors
Interessant geschrieben und zusammengefaßt.
Viele Kommentare von Betroffenen und Insights.
Wird interessant ob und welche der vorgeschlagenen Lösungen überhaupt in die Realität (seitens der Firma) umgesetzt werden.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Von uptoyou
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
The author could have made a summary of the book in one sentence. There is little strategic or real business knowledge. Too easy for cheap journalists.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.6 von 5 Sternen  126 Rezensionen
39 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Read the book in less than 2 hours.... it's that good. 5. Juni 2014
Von Mark Woolfson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
As a former IBM'er with a tenure running from 2002 through 2012 I can say that I have seen and heard a lot of what Rob has stated. Much of what he asserted in the services arena I have personally witnessed in some form. Some of the soundbites that came to mind as I was reading it would simply put the jaws some [reading this book] would have on the floor - through it.

I found nothing in this book that was false. It's about time this came out for the public to see.

I sure do hope a few influential people look at this book and question IBM executives, and then question them some more. Eventually, their playbook will be emptied and all that would be left is the IBM'er that needs to truly illustrate what is in his/her heart and mind to make any real progress.
60 von 68 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Cringely and IBM are similar, in a way :) 8. Juni 2014
Von Not Mee - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
The bad:
Well, for starters, the book is only about 70 pages long. The rest are readers' comments copied from his blog. That's 150 pages of comments.

The book is rushed and unfinished, it was obviously not well edited or proof-read. The quality of the writing could be better too. Hyperlinks do not work, pages do not have page numbers, no bibliography, and so on, and so on. Very rushed.

I honestly expected deep analysis or insights. Not very impressed.

So in a way Cringely and IBM are similar, they sell you one thing, but deliver less and of poor quality :)

The good:

Unfortunately, he is right about IBM, and his info about IBM is 100% correct.

You do not really need to buy this book, just read his blog.
18 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen The right intent; poor arguments 14. Juli 2014
Von Snowfall86 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Cringely's objective is clear and accurate - IBM is a poorly managed company that somehow skirts media criticism. IBM is one of the world's largest companies, and outside of stock analysts there seems to be a general unawareness of the global technology leader's decline from within.

As a regular reader of his blog, I was very excited to see he was writing a book about IBM's recent history and decline. Unfortunately the arguments within the book do not provide enough evidence to support his claims. I agree with Cringely on several points, however this will do little to sway those who oppose his views.

I wish there were more research and better editing. Where is the data that shows IBM is behind in the cloud? Why do stock buybacks fail in the long-term, and can you provide some examples? I want information from the source that proves IBM is in decline. Cringely seems to rely on employee water cooler talk and "an old friend of a friend who's a CTO" as factual basis for his complaints about IBM.

There are some examples of botched customer contracts, but we never hear from the customers themselves - just what Cringely wants to hear from internal employee comments. We are also not presented with a pro-IBM opinion aside from a mass employee email in 2007. Even in a book that is anti-IBM management, you need to understand the IBM executive strategy in order to further prove your point. Instead of quoting IBM management and providing counterpoints, Cringely just calls them political conservatives (??) with too many MBA's. The book ends up reading like an extended blog post written by a disgruntled employee.

Finally, I question the editing. I understand a mistake in a self-published book, but it just looks bad when you keep seeing the wrong "their" or "effect" used. And I think the employee comments could have been better summarized. In closing, while I agree with Cringely's main summary, the problems within IBM could have been detailed much better.
27 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Really an important book for anyone considering IBM to read. 5. Juni 2014
Von Book buyer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I have worked with IBM for 20 years or more and have seen their decline into a high cost, yet low skill body shop full of cheap (to IBM but not to the customer) foreign workers. It's a pathetic descent into mediocrity. I've cleaned up their messes many times and am engaged in just such a project right now. Also the way they treated their US employees is despicable.
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Right about the current mismanagement. Weak on recommendations for correction. 10. Juni 2014
Von MCD - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
After a decade in IBM sales, it was a pleasure to take the package and get out. The fundamental points of mismanagement, especially the total focus on Earnings Per Share versus long term investments in technical capability ring very true to me. I thought the employee comments were interesting but he included more than necessary. If you tracked IBM over the years you have seen most of these types of comments before. His recommended changes were weak and seemed at times to show a shallow understanding of this part of the industry. I liked his recommended check list for customers to challenge their service providers. I would add that internal IT staff should be challenged with the same list. My experience is that almost no service provider internal or external would be able to meet his challenge as well as they should and neither is likely to be able to with the amount of money that customers are currently willing to spend on IT.

The book will be important as it will likely get good media attention due to Cringely's notoriety and should create additional pressures to IBM's stock price which is truly the one item that the Senior Management is concerned with.
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