Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 7.34.09 PMWhen I closed the doors on my business, Annex Research, on June 30, 2014, I did not think I would ever return to the analyst bullpen again. But one should never say never. So here I am, writing this short blurb about IBM only 18 months later.

But don’t worry. I am not unretiring, like Michael Jordan, who retired in 1993, 1998, and 2003 only to unretire in 1995 and 2001. 🙂 I love my life outside the bullpen and I intend to stay out. So this is a one-time shot. Sort of like pinch-hitting in late innings in just one game into which I stumbled accidentally.

I glanced this evening at the IBM 4Q earnings release as I was checking the precipitous stock market declines over the last several days. I have not looked closely at IBM in probably in a year. And I noticed that IBM tumbled even more than the Dow or S&P – down almost 5% just today (Jan 20). So I pulled up the IBM chart to see how bad things were.

I glanced at the IBM 4Q earnings release as I was checking the precipitous stock market declines over the last several days. I have not looked closely at IBM in probably in a year. And I noticed that IBM tumbled even more than the Dow or S&P – down almost 5% just today (Jan 20). So I pulled up the IBM chart to see how bad things were.


And they were pretty bad indeed. Since April 22, 2012, the IBM stock has declined 41%, from $207 to $122 per share.

Which should surprise no one on the Annex Research client list. Here’s what I said in part in that Apri 2012 report titled “BIG BLUE FEET OF CLAY:”

And we have a feeling this may be only only the start of a longer-term slide for this erstwhile bellwether stock of the Dow Jones Industrials’ index. Why the pessimism?

Three simple words: Lack of growth.

No amount of rhetoric and news-spinning by IBM’s CFO, Mark Loughridge, could reverse that fact.”

In August 2013, I updated that forecast and renewed our my call for a long-term decline of the erstwhile computer industry leader (“IBM: IN TROUBLED WATERS AGAIN“:

“Over 30 years ago, at a time when the world thought that Big Blue could walk on water (see TIME magazine cover, July 1983), we said IBM was sailing in troubled waters.  Nobody believed us, of course, least of all IBM executives.


And crash IBM nearly did nine years later. As the company teeter-tottered on the brink of oblivion, the Board ejected the IBM chairman and launched a rescue mission under a new “change artist” in early 1993.

We are in a similar situation now. When we said in Apr 2012 that IBM was stuck in its place with feet of clay while the marketplace around it was exploding, nobody believed us, either, least of all IBM executives.  Our media friends also remained largely mum about it. Witness the continued stock rise despite shrinking revenues (left chart).

Well, that illusion is now over.  Just like 30 years ago, the truth is slowly seeping out…”

Well, it took two-and-a-half more years for the stock market to accept this dose of reality.

Or did it? Will we see another resurrection attempt by the Big Blue faithful?

I doubt it. Even the most zealous IBM supporters must put their self-interests first. Unless they throw caution to the wind and decided they must hop aboard for one last ride on the Big Blue Titanic.

IBM Titanic June 1983 ACR

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 8.07.33 AM copy


Bob Altzar Djurdjevic is a writer, musician, video maker, thrice-ordained Inca-shaman, geopolitical commentator, business analyst, playwright-producer... He is also founder of non-profit organizations Stewards of the Earth ( and Truth in Media ( ALTZAR shares his time between Maui, Hawaii and Scottsdale, Arizona. You can follow his blog at and his travelogues at Bob had also worked as a business consultant and advisor to top executives of large multinational computer companies for 36 years (1978-2014). He had spent 8 years working for IBM prior to starting his own business in 1978.


  1. Bob, I sure do not want to bring you out of retirement but I am working on my next book about IBM entitled “THINK Again! How IBM Maximized Shareholder Value, Lost it and Can Regain it.”

    I too am in retirement but find writing about my old alma mater too much fun. So I am in that “new retirement” where we continue to work, but do what we want without money being the driving force.

    If you are game, I would love to send you my introduction for your comments and insights.

    No, is fine as I am sending it around to a wide variety of folks for their thoughts before diving in too deep financially to publish it.


    – Pete

    • ALTZAR says:

      Sorry, Pete, but I am really done with IBM. Good luck with your project.

      • Bob, not a problem. I sure understand. That is the feeling of a lot of my friends, and after so many years of resource actions, I understand. Enjoy life! Enjoy retirement!



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