A current employee recalls how one colleague used a forced unpaid week off in 2013 to work on his resumť and ultimately left for Qualcomm. "We've lost a lot of people to Qualcomm," says the IBM veteran who asked not to be named.
A former employee reports some IBMers have gone to support Intel's growing foundry business; another said many former colleagues are now at AMD and Freescale. GlobalFoundries recently said it has hired on a temporary basis "200 experienced engineers and managers to support its current Fab 8 ramp" in upstate New York from May to December 2014.
Another former employee laid off in July shared two common complaints: IBM has not spent the money to keep its fabs up to date; and it has done a poor job communicating its plans to staff.
"They really are not transparent down to the trenches as they used to be," he told us. The Burlington fab "has been treated as a cash cow with minimal investments and maximal extraction."
"They just haven't invested [in the fabs] to the point where now they have to sell them or exit the business," another former employee says.
The bigger problem with morale is that IBM is out of step with the times, another former employee argues.
"They still have a 1950s model of lifetime employment and fellowships where you give all the fruits of your brain to the corporation. I don't think today's guys will sign up for that -- they will take their best stuff and go out on their own," he says, noting one recent example.
David Ferrucci, an artificial intelligence expert who led the Watson team, left the company in late 2013 to join hedge fund Bridgewater Associates where presumably he is developing custom AI algorithms.
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