Such a sad story and so unnecessary. IBM acquired Blekko in 2015 during 'peak Watson' and I was fascinated to peek behind the curtains as it were. What I found was both inspiring and terrifying.
There were so many great people who had tremendous insights into applications of machine learning, neural networks, and generalized knowledge engineering as a service. It reminded me in some ways of PARC in the 80's. And like PARC, this effort was in the service to an institution that fundamentally didn't understand the ideas of ubiquitous networked compute that backed the web, much less the value proposition of this core technology.
While I didn't walk the "hallowed halls of executive row", the ripples and changes that emanated from there told of a company desperate to stay relevant being managed by executives who didn't understand the environment but were desperate to stay employed. And for me, nothing is more sad than seeing a 20 - 30 year veteran of a company, sabotage its future to hold on their current job for one more year.
One of my roles at the various companies where I have worked has been "change agent." Getting the company's head around fundamental change that will keep them from getting in their own way down the road. Critical to any change effort it is essential to help people see their role, and more importantly where they add value, in the post change universe so that they won't fight the change with all their efforts.
IBM was being driven at that time in a very top-down sort of approach. Edicts like "This year you will all adapt an agile methodology." Which on their own make no sense at all to the folks lower down the chain. Sort of like saying "Everyone will only wear white pinstriped suits to work from now on." Everyone then incurs an expense of getting a bunch of new clothes, and they have no idea why they have to do this or how it helps the company. It was fascinating to listen to the responses of senior leaders to the "be agile" command. Almost all of them simply discussed how to take what they were already doing, and report them in a "agile" way, so that they could check the box.
That isn't change leadership, that is simply injecting noise into the system and reducing efficiency.
Now it may sound like I think they were all idiots, but I do not. I recognize the challenge of being a senior leader at a company in an industry that they once led and are now trailing. The board of directors might exhort you "go faster, get better, catch up" with no actionable guidance whatsoever. And the strategies that such companies use to recapture some relevance are not unique, buying the "hot new company" and trying to inject their momentum into your own. But it isn't as simple as making the CEO of "hot startup" an EVP in charge of "doing great things, but using the existing staff." Because the existing staff will push back on all the things the newly minted EVP is trying to change because, in part, they don't see what their role and value will be in the changed company. And if you have no role or value, you get RA'd.
A good friend of mine used to call them "Corporate Antibodies" and that was a really good analogy. Whenever change was in the air they would activate and work to shut it down. Which is why I spent quite a bit of time learning ways to introduce changes without triggering the corporate immune system. If you do it well, you get no credit at all for the change it just seems like everyone sort of decided that this was the right direction and changed course.
So it is a sad moment for me to see the wonderful work of the engineers and scientists that brought many amazing technologies to market being treated as a humiliating failure on the part of a former giant in the computer industry.
 Different companies use different euphemisms for laying people off, Sun use to call them "Job Relocations", Google called them "Group alignments", and IBM calls them "Resource Actions" (you know just balancing some resources by moving some numbers around on a ledger.)