RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Tuesday’s Skinny about the dilemma facing many former IBM employees at Lenovo provoked some criticism, questioning “water cooler rumor tone of voice” and “pointless” commentary.

Just stirring the pot, the writer said.

On the other side of the coin, another writer took me to task last week for a comment made about Lou Dobbs of CNN. I didn’t mean to sound like Dobbs, who is outspoken to say the least about offshoring, outsourcing, and illegal immigration. However, a writer criticized me for daring criticize Dobbs whom the writer said is about the other news reporter that seems to care about those issues.

Sensitive times. Sensitive issues.

WRAL Local Tech Wire has written a great deal about layoffs at IBM and Lenovo in recent weeks. This is important news because both firms have a major presence in the Triangle (IBM’s largest in the world, in fact, at least for now. Big Blue’s hiring in India is like a tsunami.)

Granted, as I have noted, both companies must make serious adjustments to meet the tremendous changes threatening to swamp companies on a global basis.

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that there are many valuable, long-term employees who are getting hammered as their jobs are offshored. And some of the challenges these people must deal with, such as training their replacements while not being allowed to apply for other jobs because they are – for the time being – considered “critical,” are amazing.

Good business, perhaps. But tell that to the man or woman in their 50s still paying to put children through college and wondering whether they can retool their skills to find another job at an equivalent rate of pay.

At the same time, LTW has invested a great deal of time in reporting the launching of new products and initiatives by both those firms – and others – to capitalize on the opportunities technology and globalization offer.

The Skinny and LTW will continue to report these stories with the attention that all deserve.

More changes are ahead, you can bet.

On Tuesday, new statistics showed Lenovo fell to No. 4 in global PC sales behind Acer even though shipments increased. Competition is absolutely fierce. Lenovo reported huge profits for the most recent quarter, thanks in part to its many layoffs of former IBMers who make a lot more than their Lenovo compatriots overseas. Lenovo is on the record as saying jobs being phased out here are being filled in Beijing and elsewhere.

Will the trend stop? Who knows? We’ll be watching.