IBM is reportedly planning its largest corporate layoff ever – cutting 111,800 of its staff.A report by a respected Silicon Valley journalist for Forbes said around 26% of the company’s 430,000-strong workforce would be cut this week.
The previous largest corporate redundancy was also carried out by IBM, when it cut 60,000 staff in 1993.
The company’s reorganisation is codenamed Project Chrome, and most of the staff being laid off are in the US.
It will pave the way for IBM to focus on cloud computing, it is claimed, rather than its traditional hardware business.
Reporter Robert X Cringely wrote: “To fix its business problems and speed up its ‘transformation’, next week about 26% of IBM’s employees will be getting phone calls from their managers.
“A few hours later a package will appear on their doorsteps with all the paperwork.”
However, some technology commentators have said they are sceptical about the size of the reported cuts.
In a statement to Sky News, an IBM spokeswoman said the rumour was “ridiculous” and “baseless”.
She said: “If anyone had checked information readily available from our public earnings statements, or had simply asked us, they would know that IBM has already announced the company has just taken a $600 million charge for workforce rebalancing.
“This equates to several thousand people, a mere fraction of what’s been reported.
“Last year, IBM hired 45,000 people, and the company currently has about 15,000 job openings around the world for new skills in growth areas such as cloud, analytics, security, and social and mobile technologies.
“This is evidence that IBM continues to remix its skills to match where we see the best opportunities in the marketplace.
IBM was founded in 1911 and adopted the name International Business Machines in 1924.
It currently creates hardware and software, and provides infrastructure, hosting and consulting services.
It has revenue of around $90bn (£60bn) and is one of the most profitable companies in the US.