IBM to fold PC sales force into Global Services

The drop in worldwide PC sales has been so severe for IBM Corp. that the company has moved its PC sales division back into its normal sales and distribution channel, eliminating it as a stand-alone unit.

The re-organization means the loss of some 150 jobs and the globally dispersed IBM PC salespeople, who currently report directly to the top man in the U.S. PC sales division, John Judge, will soon report to their nearest IBM Sales and Distribution office, be it in North America, Europe, or Asia/Pacific, IBM spokesperson Ray Gorman said. PC orders will then be processed through those regional offices.

The move reflects a change in priorities for IBM regarding the importance of PC sales versus the sales of other technologies, such as servers and software.

Roger Kay, an industry analyst with IDC, in Framingham, Mass., believes that while IBM will benefit from cost cutting, the effect for customers should be transparent.

“From a user point of view, the only difference is you’re talking to the front end of the beast all the time,” Kay explained. “The idea is that the geographic regions are now going to have the responsibility for the front end of the operations of the PC group [within IBM]. This is a re-org that has some cost savings, because they do reduce some redundant functions in the field. That does mean some layoffs, but also it’s really more about getting leverage out of the IBM infrastructure.”

The global re-organization of IBM’s PC sales division also reflects the growing trend toward solution-oriented approaches, in which entire business technology platforms are delivered to companies together instead of as one individual product at a time.

Kay said this solutions approach from IBM should continue to win PC sales for Big Blue.

“[IBM is] on the solutions sales side of things. If you’re the grand guru that can solve some enterprise’s problem, then you can probably have most of the sales,” Kay said.

IBM Canada, in Markham, Ont., can be reached at

– With files from Dan Neel and Ed Scannell of