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Reports surface of IBM Watson Health layoffs

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
IBM has acknowledged that layoffs have hit its Watson Health segment, but said it's a small percentage – not the massive numbers that have been circulating on various media outlets.

An unnamed company spokesperson told Fox Business that, “this activity affects a small percentage of our global Watson Health workforce, as we move to more technology-intensive offerings, simplified processes and automation to drive speed.”

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The official IBM statement was, “IBM is continuing to reposition our team to align with our focus on the high-value segments of the IT market. We continue to hire aggressively in critical new areas that deliver value for our clients and IBM.”

Some reports, including one from May 25 on tech news site The Register, said pink slips were said to hit 50 to 70 percent of IBMers in the Watson Health division.

The layoffs appear to have zeroed-in on workers at a number of recent firms, picked up to pump Watson's health cred, including health data player Truven, picked up in 2016 for $2.6 billion; medical imaging play Merge, for which IBM dropped $1 billion in 2015; and 2015 buy Phytel, a healthcare management player.

The layoffs reportedly happened primarily in Dallas, Ann Arbor, Cleveland and Denver – and abroad.

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