Whirlpool Outsources Global Tech Ops To IBM

Big Blue will handle IT operations for the appliance maker in 40 countries.
IBM said Wednesday that it has won a multiyear contract to provide technology services to appliance maker Whirlpool.

Under the deal, IBM will provide Whirlpool with a range of IT services, including mainframe, server, storage, and network support. IBM will also provide desk side and help desk support services. The contract covers Whirlpool operations in 40 countries, according to IBM.

An IBM spokesperson declined to provide financial details or the precise length of the contract.

"The relationship with IBM supports our strategic road map by providing standardized infrastructure processes backed by IBM's industry expertise," said Whirlpool CIO Kevin Summers, in a statement. "We expect these changes will allow Whirlpool Global Information Systems to more quickly flex to changing business conditions and improve the quality of service we provide to our businesses."

Whirlpool's earnings slumped in 2008 as the recession reduced demand for household appliances. Moody's and Standard & Poor's recently downgraded their ratings on the company.

IBM hasn't been immune to the economic crisis, either. Although the company's fourth-quarter earnings, announced last week, beat analysts' expectations, sales declined in some key areas. IT services sales fell 3.7% year over year and sales of business services declined 4.5%. Sales of Intel-based servers plunged 32%.

To cope with the downturn, IBM is shedding staff. The company has laid off more than 3,000 employees since the beginning of the year, according to IBM workers group [email protected] IBM confirms that it is wielding the ax, but won't reveal specific numbers.

Shares of IBM were up .65% to $92.26 in midmorning trading Wednesday.