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IBM The Almighty Buck The Courts News

Arrested IBM Exec Goes MIA On the Web 185

Posted by kdawson
from the never-heard-of-him dept.
theodp writes "Among those charged in the largest hedge-fund insider trading case in US history was IBM Sr. VP Robert W. Moffat, the heir apparent to IBM CEO Sam Palmisano and the guy behind Big Blue's 'workforce rebalancing' and the sale of IBM's PC unit to Lenovo. IBM's not talking about the incident, but it's interesting that Moffat's bio is MIA at IBM.com ('Biography you tried to access does not exist.'), and his Smarter Planet video can no longer be found ('This video has been removed by the user.') at IBM's YouTube Channel. Do you need approval from the Feds before tidying up after someone who's under investigation? BTW, if stories and comments appearing in the Times Herald-Record and Poughkeepsie Journal are any indication, Moffat may want to avoid a local jury trial. 'I have talked to a few IBMers today, and there seems to be a lot of cheering in the halls of IBM over his arrest,' said Lee Conrad of Alliance@IBM."
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Arrested IBM Exec Goes MIA On the Web

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  • Bernie Madoff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by br00tus (528477) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:46PM (#29779051)
    Before Madoff was arrested, a Google search for his name pointed to many pages at Yeshiva University, which he gave a lot of money to. If you clicked on the Google cache, there were glowing profiles about him. If you clicked on the actual pages, his name had been pulled out of all those pages almost as soon as he was arrested, because I was Googling all of this the day after he was arrested. It's still all probably on archive.org [archive.org]
  • Re:Funny enough (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:50PM (#29779089)
    Biography? Is that some kind of "cult of personality" thing that these execs like to engage in? Because generally the life story is not important to me in the slightest, only whether the particular employee has the skills for the job. Reminds me of the times I met high-level execs (CEO, VP, and others) of a major Fortune 500 company I used to work for. They were all very smooth talkers who knew how to look good for a camera and knew how to tell a crowd whatever BS it wanted to hear, and they generally reminded me of politicians more than anything else.

    I think they are cut from the same cloth, as both the execs I've met and politicians I've met were fevered egos who derive their self-worth from how many subordinates they can collect. They didn't seem overly concerned with objective criteria that indicated success or failure of their ventures, only that everyone was "on board". So doing the job and doing it well often wasn't enough for them; what they really wanted was for you to buy into it heart and soul, a status that many people learned to fake around them. I guess the difference between the execs and the politicians is that the execs are after money, while the politicians are after power (often because they already have money). Otherwise there's a great deal of overlap in both the personality types and the skillsets.
  • RIP IBM Thinkpad... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brxndxn (461473) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:53PM (#29779099)

    IBM Thinkpad was by far the best laptop line.. Now, it's basically just another piece of crap laptop. Moffat deserves jail time just for this.. "Crimes against quality."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:00PM (#29779153)

    I just want to testify to the anger towards IBM in the Hudson Valley. IBM has moved from being a socially responsible organization towards being a profit driven company. During the process a lot of people have gotten hurt. People who invested their lives working for IBM lost their pensions. They went from being a massive economic presence and benefactor to being a fading sun. If this guy was one of the reasons for the move towards a new cutthroat IBM then good riddance.

  • Speaking of such.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NoYob (1630681) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:39PM (#29779397)
    From one of TFA:

    Cost is part of the calculation, Mr. Moffat noted, but typically not the most important consideration. "People who say this is simply labor arbitrage don't get it," he said. "It's mostly about skills."

    You know, I keep hearing that, but I have yet to see any proof. And if you walk into any American CS program, you'll see plenty of American students as well as foreign ones. What I'm saying is that there are plenty of qualified US students coming out of US universities and there are plenty of qualified US citizens to do any IT job. If you find that not to be your experience, I'd like to point out a few issues your organization may have:

    1. Your HR department may be screening out folks you want.
    2. Many times, your job reqs get changed by HR and they publish something completely different from what you're looking for.
    3. You are demanding too much, and if that's the case, you still won't get it overseas - unless, they're lying about their skills.
    4. You are located somewhere that no one really wants to live. Has your local population been trending down: like in the rust belt areas?

    In other words, I am very skeptical of anyone who says they can't get qualified people - especially in this economy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:48PM (#29779445)
    Worked for 23+ years at IBM Greenock Personal Systems Manufacturing, then they sold us off to Sanmina - SCI who closed us down less than 2 years later. Always remember Moffat's speech to those being jetissoned about how we were all like his children and how you have to let go of your children if they are to grow and realise their true potential. Patronising c**t..... More like hiring Jeffrey Dahmer as a babysitter. Am organising a reunion of my old department to celebrate.
  • by coolgeek (140561) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:52PM (#29779473) Homepage

    If Watson were still here, the people would be retrained into the next phase/project/product. It would cost money. Having people with such a diverse skill set would be a huge boon to innovation. Watson would see that end game and hold out for it.

    People used to know, if you got hired at IBM, you were set for life. This is how Watson attracted the best of the best. Their failure to keep their eye on the ball is a primary contributor to their current position as an irrelevant has-been.

    My friend's dad was a typewriter repairman for IBM most of his life. He had MS. When the Selectrics started disappearing in the mid-80's and as the MS started to impair him, they retrained him to work on a bench, repairing PCs. When his MS progressed to the point that the PC repair was too much for him, they gave him an office, and his one responsibility was to file a report on a monthly basis. He was not required to come to work every day. Still received full pay and benefits until he could no longer show up once a month, after he took a fall resulting in injury. He was able to leave with his pension and full benefits.

    IBM was more than a corporation, it was an institution. It is extremely sad that this institution no longer exists.

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @04:09PM (#29779567)

    I say this as an American: we've become barbarians. We torture [wikipedia.org] people. We incarcerate more people, both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis, than any other nation in the world, and think it's okay to gang-rape 1% of our population [wikipedia.org]. Our wealth is distributed like that of a banana republic [baselinescenario.com]. We're stupid [4brevard.com], vapid [mtv.com], and like a feral child, we snarl [blogspot.com] and bite [wordpress.com] when someone tries to help us [scienceblogs.com]. America really is the sick man of the world, and personally, I'm about ready to give up and pronounce the disease incurable. We can argue about causes and solutions, but you can't deny that we're in a steep decline. As George Orwell write,

    We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

  • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:00PM (#29779849)

    Let's just call it an extreme form of capitalism...

  • by turtleshadow (180842) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:01PM (#29779863) Homepage

    IBM may be able to as a legal maneuver remove all the Bios and promos made by this executive. However IBM's data retention and phone system logging is going to be hotly tested. Not much is done in IBM without some tracking system. Most the company phones have logs, all the emails are archived/retention for a few years. I think even the old Sametimes messages were also logged once long ago. It sounds like the US Justice Dept will have wiretaps as the big evidence.

    Unfortunately IBM's polices on email retention may put at jeopardy the cache. I think it was 3-5 years worth. IBM learned not to keep a lot of communications after problems with anti-trust lawsuits. Law enforcement may face a mess if they need to go back into the mainframe system because only a few persons know that system outside IBM and internally that generation was being wiped out.

    I will laugh out loud if IBM drags its feet in producing all the documents when this hits the courts as this is what it sells to customers at a high premium. IBM's legal legions are 2nd to none for litigation and maneuvering and the do not fear the US gov.

    Anyhow it is trival as I think this guy got caught with his hand in the cookie jar when the US gov was fishing for bigger fish such as hedgefund managers who are suspected of funding terrorists. [businessinsider.com]

  • Time Was... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:23PM (#29779999) Homepage Journal
    IBM used to boast during the new employee orientation that IBM "Put the employees first, the customers second and the shareholders last." Time was people would network throughout the company and someone would be happy to help out if someone from another department needed help to move a project forward. Time was we believed we could do anything and our company wouldn't fuck us over.

    Too bad there's not a company like that anymore...

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:39PM (#29780113) Homepage
    It's never about skills. I have worked for companies that do off-shoring. They're no better. They're the same. Some are good but some aren't. But the off-shore team was much bigger because you can get developers for less than minimum wage in this country and amazingly companies can live with loads of incompetence when labour is dirt cheap.

    It's not just about wages, it's also about labour laws and not having to give benefits like pensions. They would probably even pay uk wages to these people as long as they still get to treat them like shit.

    These people aren't dumb, they know they're being taken advantage of. The good ones are looking to move to the UK, Canada, US, etc to get their decent wage and benefits.
  • by jtheisen (893138) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:47PM (#29780171) Journal
    You also do almost 100% of the world's innovation and produce the vast majority of art and culture. Within the last 100 years, you saved us from the Nazis, fascist Japan and International Communism and you're the only power who could save the world again if another threat comes up. Yes, the US appears to be mean and cold - but I shudder to think where the world would be without you. I believe that these things are unfortunately two sides of the same coin.
  • by Jaysyn (203771) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (todhsals+nysyaj)> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @06:03PM (#29780277) Homepage Journal

    In the past 2 years, my company's bread & butter has been cleaning up GIS (Smallworld, specifically) crap done by an Indian outfit for one of the largest ISPs in the country. They got paid to screw it up & we get paid to fix it. Needless to say, the ISP in question no longer outsources design.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:10PM (#29780713) Homepage Journal

    You have a pretty skewed view of the whole situation. For example, Prescott Bush founded the family fortune on working for a company which funneled funds to the S.S. to do Hitler's bidding. And since we're talking about IBM, this is an excellent time to mention that IBM of Germany built and delivered the machines to manage the concentration camps, and actually printed the punch cards as well [villagevoice.com], but does their level best to deny their part in history [scrapbookpages.com]. Nonetheless, many [jewishvirtuallibrary.org] racial groups have reason to recall. No, I don't have any Obama hating to do today, don't worry... But to have the head of a dynasty founded by a known Nazi collaborator [guardian.co.uk] head the CIA, then become president, then get his son into the office... Well, it should put this whole conversation into perspective.

    Hot diggity DAMN I love the internet. It makes it so easy to cite your sources. If articles like these start dropping off these here internets, you'll know to run and not look back.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:02PM (#29780941) Homepage

    It is really quite straight forward. When Lenovo purchased bought the thinkpad unit, they naturally enough in business terms, dumped that purchase price into that units debt structure. In order to start paying off that debt, which basically adds say around 5 to 10 percent (depending upon how quickly they want to reduce that debt) to every notebook sold. They simple cut corners and hope to trade on the prior reputation of quality, basically lie about the current quality and pretend it was the same as before in order to sustain higher profit margins. This is done for as long as possible, until sales start to suffer and then they either return to a higher quality to rebuild the image or drop the price.

    Typical lie, cheat and steal, modern business marketing and sales tactics. Quality it doesn't have to be there as long as they can spend enough of PR=B$ marketing to convince you it is there when it is not.

  • by jawahar (541989) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:13AM (#29781881) Homepage Journal
    "Behind every great fortune there is a crime." --Honore de Balzac
  • by herojig (1625143) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @01:01AM (#29782001) Homepage
    In the old America, institutions like IBM were expected to provide jobs, benefits, and in general, social welfare for all in the community. There used to be a word for it (that had meaning): good corporate citizen. As someone who grew up in Poughkeepsie, I can attest to the fact that during the 50's, 60s, and 70s, IBM was a good corporate citizen. Our high school had a mainframe, and we learned to program using keypunch machines. My dad retired there, and even though he is gone, my mom is still living with the best medical benefits you can imagine, as well as a decent monthly check. Of course this is "costly and inefficient." But there was a time in America when the relationship between worker and work was not just controlled by the bottom line, but there was a more humane side to capitalism. That system no longer exists, but for those with short memories or are too young to understand, it once did. You can't change the way things were. Today, it seems there are hangers on to the old way, and those just born into the newer one, hence the rub and ill feelings in the Mod Hudson Valley. That area saw a rise in growth and prosperity based on the achievements of IBM workers, and then saw a downturn that never rose up again after IBM management changed to the likes of Robert W. Moffat. The downtown mall went from being a vibrant shopping and meeting area, to a crack house. The school system went from being one of the best, to the lowest of the low, and people fled in droves once there wasn't a good corporate citizen around to provide what they wanted. What happened in that one small river valley has happened all over America, and I fear she is now ruined beyond repair. The greed inherent in American society has finally conquered the good that was once more deeply ingrained.
  • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sjames (1099) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @01:14PM (#29785139) Homepage

    One does wonder when the executive culture and financial media routinely heap praise on executives who can make the "hard decisions" where "hard decision" is defined as one that hurts people in favor of profits and never means the decision to do the right thing for people in spite of the short term costs to the company. The latter decision seems to actually be the harder one since so few ever actually take that path.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2009 @09:34AM (#29793153)

    and it only goes back to the mid 80's. I thought the 1st ever IBM layoff happened around that time, but according to google it was Feb 1993. It was pretty much all downhill from there. For IBM and the rest of corporate america, who read IBM's decision as an "OK" to balance economic inequities, as well as bad mgmt decisions, on the backs of "regular" employees.

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