I'll let everyone in on a little secret. IBM is getting rid of most of its software developers because it wants to get out of the software development business. The reason is because they, for a variety of reasons, produce mediocre software, and the executives know it.
IBM's strength is its sales channels. It can command high prices for it's software because it is a trusted brand, and it's very good at strong-arming customers into purchasing expensive complicated solutions once they get their foot in the door.
IBM's new software business model is as follows....
1) Find holes in their "portfolio" for providing end-to-end solutions for customers.
2) Purchase existing companies where that software is already implemented (e.g. Rational, ILOG, Green Hat, Cognos, Buildforge, Telelogic, etc...)
3) Sell said software at much higher prices than the original company could have ever gotten away with.
4) Reduce headcount by eliminating developers from purchased company, replacing them with offshore developers whose only purpose is to "maintain" the newly acquired software. Also, eliminate less-profitable niche products and lay off those developers except for the cream of the crop.
5) Reap huge profits.
Check out the list of companies they've acquired...
So don't think that the executives at IBM are idiots. They're not. They've found a way to squeeze tons of profits from existing software companies. They have no reason to care about employee morale. They don't need developers. They've got too many as it is from all of these acquired companies. Bad morale means employees will leave on their own, meaning they don't have to pay severance.
Also, IBM typically purchases companies for a handful of their product line. That leaves lots of smaller software products that IBM simply has no use for (not a large enough market, duplication of product lines, etc...). Often, "rebalancing" means chopping these products out of existence. IBM has literally THOUSANDS of these small niche products that it wants to eliminate.
So for developers, it sucks, because the IBM executives have no need for you anymore. There's no reason for IBM to produce its own software anymore. Why risk starting development on a complex product when you can just purchase the finished product? You're nothing more than a "resource" that they have too much of and which needs to be reduced through "resource actions".
But for executives and shareholders, it's a wonderful arrangement. Don't be fooled....IBM can be profitable doing this for a very long time. Please keep in mind that IBM reducing US headcount from 130k to 90k is misleading. That number does not include the huge number of employees that they've absorbed through acquisitions. They've laid off many more than 40k US employees, and they have no reason to stop now.