IBM cuts 150 jobs from PC division

IBM cuts 150 jobs from PC divisionAmid reports of much larger job cuts. Big Blue trims 150 jobs from its PC division in Raleigh, NC. An IBM spokesman said further layoffs in the division were not planned.

IBM cut 150 jobs from its PC division in Raleigh, NC, earlier this week, the company confirmed Wednesday, amid reports of larger job cuts.

In an internal memo sent Monday, the 14,000 workers in Raleigh were notified of the layoffs. The 150 jobs, which make up less than 1 percent of the total number of employees in the PC division, were not from any particular department within the PC division. IBM employs over 300,000 people worldwide.

The layoffs come during a summer when a number of companies have been letting employees go to streamline costs amid a slowdown in the technology market.

Earlier this month, IBM shed some 1,000 positions in its Global Services consulting business. On Tuesday, PC rival Compaq Computer informed investors it planned to cut 8,500 positions, about 12 percent of its work force, this year.

IBM spokesman Ray Gorman said further cuts in the PC division were not planned. Gorman said the goal of the cuts was to "improve efficiencies and leverage the overall infrastructure of IBM. It's a combination of cutting costs as well as improving the opportunity to increase revenue".

Gorman added that the layoffs are part of a restructuring within the PC division to integrate computer sales with sales of other products and services.

"This is the mother company welcoming the PC division into its arms, so that sales of other products can be buoyed by the sales of PCs," said IDC analyst Roger Kay.

Despite the cuts, Gorman said, the PC division is still hiring new employees and anticipates that it will end the year with the same number of employees that it started with.

But Lee Conrad, a former IBM employee and now a national organizer for the Alliance@IBM, a unit of the Communications Workers of America, called the layoffs in the PC division "just the tip of the iceberg".

Conrad said that in the last couple of weeks, about 850 IBM contractors in New York and Vermont had been let go and that he expects job cuts in sales and distribution.

"IBM has not been very forthcoming about the level of job cuts that are expected this summer," Conrad said.

The Alliance@IBM sent a letter earlier this week to IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano and J. Randall MacDonald, IBM's vice president of human resources, demanding further details on pending job cuts.