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Just as eggs is eggs, so IBM's PC division is pants.

A story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal has disclosed that Big Blue shifted 1,000 staff at its troubled PC division sideways, in a bid to cut costs and so return the unit to profitability.

Weary and regular readers of El Reg do not need to be reminded that Big Blue seems to utter these words every year or so, while competitors of IBM, such as Dell, Gateway, Fujitsu Siemens and now, apparently, Compaq, make hay while the sun shines.

This time round, David Thomas, who ran the PC division until he resigned earlier this week, is repeating the "direct sales over the Web" mantra that IBM has chanted for the last year.

Before IBM assumed the lotus position and started chanting this mantra, it tried humming various other monosyllables in an attempt to turn its ailing PC division round.

The mantra two years back was that the small and medium business market was ripe for the plucking. No doubt IBM was right about this, but the trouble is, according to sources close to Big Blue, no-one could figure out quite how to reach these people.

Meanwhile, small and medium business people went straight to Dell Direct and bought their boxes from them.

The irony here, of course, is that it was IBM which introduced the x86 based PC in 1981 to an unsuspecting world. Both Dell and Compaq originally made their money by copying IBM's successful strategy.

The rest is hysteria... ®

You can find the Wall Street Journal story here (subscription required).

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