Don’t tease IBM, especially about India

May 21, 2008

ibm.jpgWe found out on Wednesday what happens when you mess around with Big Blue.

CFO Mark Loughridge came to the Reuters Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit to talk about all sorts of things, but it was his story about building the software services business in India that caught my attention. Loughridge was asked about whether it might make sense for IBM to hook up with a bigger Indian software services company. This was his response:

Well, you know, the Indian services software services company I’d think you want to team up with is us.

He then said that IBM in fact is the No. 1 software services business in India, and explained why:

It was some years ago and I forget exactly how this rolled out, but one of the co-chairmen I believe, of Infosys compared the relative services content of IBM to the Indian providers, and had likened IBM to Detroit and had likened them to the Japanese car manufacturers… The implication’s obviously they’re going to do to IBM what the Japanese car manufacturers did to Detroit. That statement was a seismic event for us. So we now have 74,000 employees in India.

Loughridge also talked about why it’s better to have a good mix of business coming from big, developed countries as well as high-growth emerging markets:

I do think that it’s a different environment now. … If I were in a business model where I needed double digit growth out of the G7 to drive performance, I would be in a cold sweat.

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