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Microsoft Outsourcing High-Level Work 660

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the saying-good-bye-to-the-middle-class dept.
philistine writes "The Seattle Times reports
A Seattle labor group said it has new evidence that Microsoft is shifting high-level work to foreign contractors, including work on the next version of Windows. The evidence is a cache of Microsoft contracts with Indian technology vendors that were leaked to the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, an AFL-CIO affiliate that has focused on outsourcing in its effort to organize tech workers."
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Microsoft Outsourcing High-Level Work

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:22PM (#9836205)
    Linux will be free off all those foreign contributions.
    • by the.jedi (212166) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:32PM (#9837166) Homepage
      I'm interning at microsoft this summer and someone asked Ballmer a question about outsourcing. I think the more interesting part was when he asked all the foriegn born interns to raise their hand. I'd say it was 50% if not more. He continued that microsoft was already hiring globally so the real question was did they want development labs in other countries.

      That being said I'm sure there are people just as bright in india as there are here. There are also
      inexpensive codemonkeys in both countries and if window source is getting sourced to them it'll suck even more.
      • So, will the Indian Tech support sweat shop now finally be able to answer the questions raised from the bugs introduced by Indian programmers and...since I cannot understand either one now, will the product tehy develope at least sell well in.........India?
        (think Deli accent): "Hi My name is...uh...Bob"
  • by garcia (6573) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:22PM (#9836211) Homepage
    Does this mean that MS Windows is now a security threat threat [slashdot.org] too? Because afterall, we could now have terrorists embedding code into Windows that is malicious!
    • Good point, but it will not be heeded. After all, the Department of Homeland [IN]Security uses Windows.
    • That's what I was thinking about. Really interesting to see how Microsoft responds to that question, here's one of their previous respond http://www.securityfocus.com/news/191 [securityfocus.com]
      • Best quote:

        "Review is boring and time consuming, and it's hard," said Steve Lipner, manager of Microsoft's security response center. "Simply putting the source code out there and telling folks 'here it is' doesn't provide any assurance or degree of likelihood that the review will occur."

        And if somethings hard, we just shouldn't do it, right? And "boring"! Like testing software is ever "fun".

        So, MS's suggestion seems to be that, since it's kinda tough and not super fun to look through source code for pr
        • by 1984 (56406) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:34PM (#9837189)
          That's not what he's getting at, and your suggestion that it is is unreasonable.

          Ignoring the history of Microsoft's product security at large the simple point he makes is a good one: opening the source for inspection is not the same as the source actually being inspected. In fact it takes some time and skill to inspect source for vulnerabilities, and it's a distinctly unglamourous job. And that's why the "it's open source, it must be secure" mantra rings plenty hollow -- very few people are interested enough to take the time.

          Or did you never have to compile a new version of Apache, OpenSSH or OpenSSL to fix a security problem?
          • opening the source for inspection is not the same as the source actually being inspected. In fact it takes some time and skill to inspect source for vulnerabilities, and it's a distinctly unglamourous job.

            There seems to be some sort of assumption that everybody has to read and inspect the open source for it to have any value. There seems to be some sort of assumption that vulnerabilites are the only bugs worth looking for. Hardly.

            Source downloaded and never looked at again. Saves hours if not days if you
          • The only people I've ever heard say "it's open source, it must be secure" are anti-OSS people who are trying to paint the OSS advocates in a bad light.

            What is said is that opening the source offers more opportunity for review and quicker response time to problems. It's hard to deny that this means OSS has the ability to become more secure than close source software since it can be reviewed more. Not all is, but then not all closed source software is reviewed at all either.

            The best of both worlds is that O
            • The other advantage of open source is you can look at what the code's like, and make a rapid and informed decision about how reliable the software will be, without having to spend weeks evaluating and testing.

              I've downloaded open source software, taken one look at the source, and rm -rfed it.
    • Please, like there can't possibly be any terrorists in the U.S. who could do the same, or for that matter, criminals who would compromise code for evil purposes other than terrorism.
  • by Ckwop (707653) *

    For all I know the Indians might be better programmers but working on the law of averages the problem solving ability of an indivdual is probably independant of their location. So it really is about the cold, hard dollars. The thing is capitalism isn't any more free than communism. What good is being able to criticise your government when there is only a choice of two parties?

    If you took Joe Six-pack and actually took the time to educate him on the fact that he can't mess with the chips in *HIS* playstati

    • Why should a company's profit be at the expense of an individuals welfare?

      Absolutely. Companies in this country should make the same profits regardless of how many employees they have to pay every month.
    • by hoggoth (414195) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:34PM (#9836392) Journal
      > If you took Joe Six-pack and actually took the time to educate him on the fact that he can't mess with the chips in *HIS* playstation 2 legally because of some weird-ass law called the DCMA...

      You have a strange idea of who "Joe Six-Pack" is. Joe six-pack is shooting squirrels with his 12-gauge while he spits chewing-tobacco into a coffee can which is overflowing onto his shoes, staining them the color of this god-awful Slashdot section.
      I don't think he has had much luck soldering hacked chips into any consumer electronics lately, and he surely isn't worried about the DCMA.

      • A applaud you for working in the color-scheme dig in a nearly-on-topic rant. I just lost my mod points, sadly, and this hideous color thing is burning my eyes out. What was wrong with good old slashdot green?

        Oh, and Joe would probably shoot 'em with a .22 or maybe a 410, but a 12 gauge just makes too much of a mess. Um...not that I'd know or anything. And he'd use a Pepsi bottle. And wearing faded camo pants. And apparently I know waaaay too much about rednecks...

      • by Otter (3800) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:50PM (#9836597) Journal
        You have a strange idea of who "Joe Six-Pack" is. Joe six-pack is shooting squirrels with his 12-gauge while he spits chewing-tobacco into a coffee can which is overflowing onto his shoes, staining them the color of this god-awful Slashdot section.

        I think you've got John Kerry's next hunting story there. "There's nothing Theresa and I enjoy more than crawling around on our bellies shooting squirrels with a 12-gauge! As you can see, you hillbilly morons and I are a lot alike."

      • by sirshannon (616247) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:26PM (#9837091) Homepage Journal
        I will assume you're just joking, but in case you're not, then I have to mention that your description of Joe Sixpack is way off base.

        Joe Sixpack is the guy that does manual labor. Like welding. And soldering. Hell, he even knows how to pronounce the word. He can change his own oil and he does so. Consumer electronics are more likely to be soldered in his home because he knows how (unlike most geeks and anyone that wears a tie to work). He may be an electrician, even. Or a plumber. Or a machinist. Or any of the millions of other non-IT, non-service jobs in the US.

        He is mad about the chips in his car's engine because he is not allowed to buy the tools to work on them. He may not own a Playstation, but, as the grandparent said, he'll be pissed when he finds out there is a law against modding it. He didn't have a Playstation when he grew up but he modded everything from his bike (with playing cards and clothespins) to his cars.
    • by The-Bus (138060) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:42PM (#9836486)
      They "outsourced" cars too... Or would you rather be driving a Pinto? The company's profits go to the owners of the company, shareholders. You know, the people getting $75B in dividends from Microsoft (Bill Gates once famously said $640K should be enough dividends for any company). Now, I disagree with the DMCA because it is anti-capitalist. But capitalism in itself isn't cruel. It sucks for some people, but it's better than socialism, where it sucks for everybody.

      (This is gonna get me modded down for sure).
    • >Out sourcing is an evil plain and simple.

      Ask an Indian worker if he thinks its evil or not.

      >Why should a company's profit be at the expense of an individuals welfare?

      Why is the individual's welfare so dependent on a nameless/faceless corporation? Whatever happened to a person's independence? On one hand, you want the government to stop bothering you with restrictive laws, on the other hand you want corporations to be responsible for your personal welfare.
    • by servognome (738846) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:52PM (#9836640)
      Why should a company's profit be at the expense of an individuals welfare?
      I find it amusing how people feel companies are some nebulous single entity.
      Stockholders are the ones who own the company, and I would bet most people on /. are probably stockholders in some form (mutual funds, 401k, individual stock investments, etc). Most of them would also prefer to invest so their money gets a 10% rate of return than 1%. If your stock is underperfoming then you sell it and get one that gives you a better rate.
      As consumers you look to maximize your money when you spend. You would prefer to spend $50 on a new cell phone from company A than to spend $100 on the same cell phone from company B.
      So basically we are telling companies, make more money for us, but we want to spend less on the stuff you sell. How can companies respond? Reducing costs, like materials and LABOR. Outsourcing isn't something new, its been done for decades in other industries like manufacturing. People in IT have been benifiting from reduced costs on items and increases in stocks they own because of outsourcing in other industries, now that it's their job in jeapordy they complain.
      If you want to know what drives corporate greed, just look in the mirror.
    • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:04PM (#9836825) Journal
      Out sourcing is an evil plain and simple. Why should a company's profit be at the expense of an individuals welfare?
      Please don't mod me into oblivion here, but it's worth hearing the arguments for outsourcing.
      1. The extent to which jobs are being outsourced is a bit overstated. Yes, there are thousands of people being laid off and yes they may face a lot of difficulty until they find another job, but that is small compared to the 'churn' of jobs, i.e. the number of people chopping and changing jobs day in day out in the USA. It sounds like a lot when you hear the numbers totalled up, but in the grand scheme of things it's not that much.
      2. Protectionism is always self-defeating in the end, be in trade or in labour. If you want foreign companies to stop investing in the USA and creating jobs for Americans, what better way than to take protectionist measures that will instantly invite retaliation?
      3. Companies that could make components on their own account choose to sub-contract work out to smaller suppliers because they can do the same work cheaper and better. Same applies to companies that can get the same work done in foreign parts. Now there are times when it might not work out (like support calls being routed to India resulting in communication difficulties) and in that case the work will come back home and rightly so. In the end it's all about getting a better deal. If American companies can make it cheaper to buy products and services in the US, then the American economy as a whole benefits.
      4. The rest of the world has people to feed, bills to pay, etc. If outsourcing helps to spread the wealth, stabilise the rest of the world and narrow the gap between rich and poor then let's do it. "But" I hear you say, "working for slave-labour wages does not a rich man make." True, but studies show that foreign investment in the developing world leads to an upward pressure on local wages. Workers for western firms in the developing world may earn less than their counterparts in the west, but compared to their counterparts locally, they earn more. The economist had an in-depth study on this about a year ago -- I wish I'd filed the data away somewhere because I don't think their online archive goes back indefinitely.
      • by smcdow (114828)
        The extent to which jobs are being outsourced is a bit overstated.

        Actually, it's probably understated.

        Companies outsource for a number of reasons, and a big reason is to keep their activites secret. It's pretty common knowledge that companies do a lot outsourcing in secret so that their competitors don't know what they're up to.

        Didn't Wired just do an article about this practice?

    • by Percy_Blakeney (542178) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:13PM (#9836942) Homepage
      For all I know the Indians might be better programmers but working on the law of averages the problem solving ability of an indivdual is probably independant of their location.

      Since when did the law of averages have anything to do with programming ability? I would say that Indians generally are not only better programmers, on average, but better theoretical computer scientists, too.

      Go look up some of the premier computer science departments in the country (or even around the world) and take a hard look at the number of Indians (and Chinese) PhD students. Then go look at the average quantitative GRE scores of Asians [ets.org] and compare them to other races. Seeing anything interesting?

      The reality is that the education system in India is generally more rigorous, especially when it comes to math. I doubt that Microsoft's primary motive for outsourcing is money -- they're not hurting for cash -- but instead is simply an effort to try and find a large number of great computer scientists. Unless we start increasing the effectiveness of our own elementary and secondary school systems, we're going to be slowly left behind.

      • by Yokaze (70883) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:59PM (#9837494)
        I'll give you two hints:
        Have a look at the number of Chinese and Indians in the world. And second, have another look at the average GRE scores of Non-US citizens.

        Yes, a more rigorous education system could be the cause. Yes, the US education system could be improved.

        But taking your arguments from that data doesn't help your cause.
        Non-US citizens taking the GRE are already a subset of the Non-US population, and probably not the dumber one. Chinese and Indians are 1/3 of the world population, so they are represented accordingly. Especially when you consider that those major CS departments are well funded and aren't discriminating in respect to nationality.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:23PM (#9836228) Journal
    Are they outsourcing high-level work, or work on Windoze?

    -jcr
    • What amazes me is that Windows is so much of a pain in the neck someone actually has to pay people to work on it!

      If it was really cool/interesting/good to work on Windows, wouldn't the best hackers just voluntarily contribute their free time to improving it for free?

  • More workers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Klar (522420) <curchin@g m a il.com> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:24PM (#9836234) Homepage Journal
    Are these new jobs, or taking away from current jobs in the states? Maybe this will speed development up on Longhorn... or maybe not..
  • Now we accuse Microsoft of being insecure as foreign saboteurs slip destructive code snippets into the programs they're working on.

    Of course, what was their excuse before this?

  • by mblase (200735) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:25PM (#9836239)
    I was going to say something about the government taking issue with Microsoft outsourcing Windows code to non-Americans... how it might make it possible to introduce dangerous code, backdoors, security exceptions and all sorts of potential disasters.... ...and then I realized, well, how much worse could it be?
  • by slashrogue (775436) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:25PM (#9836241)
    Are these outsourced workers going to be working on the same Windows code that Microsoft claimed would be a national security risk if it was ever exposed? Anyone else remember that [discount-e...inator.com]?
    • I also remember when their case was before the DOJ and they said that remedies against them would hurt the economy. Well, I guess we don't have to worry about that anymore. Phew!

      Well, profitability IS more important than abiding by ethics or laws. And outsourcing is good for our economy, right? Let's give them a tax break.

      • Blockquoth the poster:

        And outsourcing is good for our economy, right? Let's give them a tax break.

        Where are you living? In the good old USA, tax breaks don't require anything so mundane as economic justification. Tax cuts first, last, and always! And to deserve a tax break, you don't need to aid the economy. You just need to send checks to the correct party.
  • *yawn* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    A Seattle labor group said it has new evidence that Microsoft is shifting high-level work to foreign contractors

    That's hardly surprising really, they're a multinational corporation, and everyone's foreigh to someone.

    I donb't begrudge Slashdot working up a bit of controversy for ad hits, but stirring up racism is immoral imho.
    • by RickHunter (103108) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:50PM (#9836607)

      Yes, because not wanting Microsoft to unethically exploit foreign contractors, who would be charging more money for their services if their countries didn't lack labour-protection laws, is so racist. As is demanding investment in foreign countries that helps them build their own economies, instead of just stripping them of their resources.

  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:27PM (#9836274) Homepage
    The key to not getting bumped as a tech wage slave by outsourced labor is to not just learn a TECHNOLOGY, but learn a BUSINESS alongside it. Then your value will lie in the combination of business knowledge and tech know-how that you have. The kind of work value that this results in is not nearly so easily exported.
  • by webword (82711) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:28PM (#9836287) Homepage
    I want to outsource my liver functions to India, that way I could drink all day and all night and my own liver would be fine.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:29PM (#9836302) Journal
    It's bad for MSFT et all to outsource programming work to cheaper labor markets.

    It's good for corporations to expect Open Source zealots to write it all for free.

    Cheap software takes away more jobs than free software?

    I thought the whole point of the OS movement was to make the programmer completely irrelevant.
  • by tabdelgawad (590061) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:29PM (#9836306) Homepage
    I'll say it until people understand it or refute it: you cannot be both for free trade and against outsourcing. They are the same thing. There is no difference between importing computer hardware and importing software services (outsourcing) except in the particular sector affected.

    Perhaps the ranters should send back all their hardware to Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, etc. and buy American!!
      • I'll say it until people understand it or refute it: you cannot be both for free trade and against outsourcing. They are the same thing. There is no difference between importing computer hardware and importing software services (outsourcing) except in the particular sector affected.

      I won't argue the point, after all largely you're correct but there's more to consider in this case.

      Microsoft has (supposedly) dedicated itself to security and making their code more secure. If they're outsourcing all/par

      • by gilroy (155262)
        Blockquoth the poster:

        they'll have miles and miles of new spaghetti code introduced by programmers who's native language isn't English. Yes they may know English but since they're not located in the US they'll likely be using another language to communicate in their local workplace.

        Um, they're contracting with India. English is spoken quite well there -- perhaps not the accent you're used to, but still the Queen's English.
    • Good thing I'm against free trade and for fair trade.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      "I'll say it until people understand it or refute it: you cannot be both for free trade and against outsourcing. They are the same thing."

      No they are not. If they where the same thing I could compete for the jobs being outsourced. Since I cant, this is not free trade. Free trade means that no one gets excluded.

  • Yet a Microsoft spokeswoman said none of the company's core intellectual property is being developed outside the company.
    I think this was a glitch. The article meant to say
    A Microsoft spokeswoman said none of the company's core intellectual property is being developed outside the company, yet.
  • The Puzzling Reality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eberlin (570874) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:31PM (#9836326) Homepage
    You know, the strangest thing that struck me about outsourcing is that a lot of the companies doing so are doing well BEFORE outsourcing. They do so in order to save money and increase profits. In turn, that translates to "growth" and better eyecandy for investors.

    Not a lot of these companies are hurting for cash. They outsource for more money. I wonder if people would support such companies if they knew where the workers were from. I mean sure, the consumer saves a buck or so because of the cheaper labor...but will they be willing to pay that extra buck knowing they're supporting a competing but an absolutely "Made in the (insert country here)" product?
    • "I wonder if people would support such companies if they knew where the workers were from."

      No one cares where things are made, thats why more people own Nintendos+Playstations than Xbox's, drive more Honda Civics than Ford Mustangs, and download pron from .jp more than .us....

      Consumers want higher quality products for less. But that won't stop them from complaining about jobs being outsourced while they're playing with their Aibo.
  • India again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Yarro (704772) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:32PM (#9836346) Homepage
    The evidence is a cache of Microsoft contracts with Indian technology vendors

    Isn't it strange how Slashdot's outsourcing stories are always about India and China?

    They're never talking about shocking evidence of contracts with e.g. Canadian or Irish technology vendors.

    Not that I'm suggesting that this is barely veiled racism. You can get modded down for being honest about that.
    • Maybe that's because the Irish & Canadians actually get paid real money. Nobody's going to outsource to them when they have slave labor elsewhere.
    • Re:India again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KingJoshi (615691) <slashdot@joshi.tk> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:54PM (#9836672) Homepage
      For some, cultural or racial issues may be at play. For others, it may have more to do with the greater disparity in cost of living and other factors that make it much harder for an USian to compete for a job versus an Indian or Chinese.

      I was reading the Toronto Star recently and it was saying how while outsourcing was causing lost jobs for Canadians, they were also gaining US outsourced jobs. The world is getting smaller. People still haven't learne how to deal with it.
    • Pardon me (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Azureflare (645778)
      This has absolutely nothing to do with condoning India. No one (afaik) is exhibiting racist attitudes towards India and China in this story.

      This is notable not because it went to India. That's where everything is going these days, which is good for them. They are really booming... And they need it too.

      What is notable is that Microsoft is doing the exact thing that people touting MS have been saying about open source.

      I want those people to eat their words now. What will they say is better about MS ov

  • by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:39PM (#9836444) Journal

    saying-good-bye-to-the-middle-class dept.

    Forget the many economist that make arguments like this one [economist.com], stating that outsourcing will ultimately benefit consumers...

    Forget government data that downplays the significance of offshore work...

    Forget the fact that companies like Microsoft sell millions of dollars worth of software to foreign countries around the world...

    ...and just jump to the conclusion that the entire US middle class is doomed.

    Nice!

    • Blockquoth the poster:

      Forget the many economist that make arguments like this one, stating that outsourcing will ultimately benefit consumers...

      I think the best that can said is, we don't know how it will play out. What good is a change that benefits consumers, if those consumers can't consume because they're out of work and have no money? Or to put it another way: When the Steel Belt died, retail in the Steel Belt died, too. It had to -- with no one working, who was going to buy?

      Ironically, there

  • Will this accelerate the formation of a Microsoft union? When MS outsources, the pickets go up?
  • Quoth the article (which very few people will bother to read):

    Much of the work involves testing, preparing user guides and building specialized tools. One of the Infosys projects is a guide for customers switching from an Oracle database to a Microsoft database.

    Now, here's what happens:

    • d00d did you hear the latest about M$?
    • what?
    • they're outsorcing most of their development work to Inidia d00d!!
    • really???
    • no shiet. I saw it on Slashdot. Windoze is being written in India and like .NOT and Yukon and s
  • What Microsoft, and all these goat cheese for brain companies dont realize is, once most high paying jobs move out of US, who is going to buy their overprice crud? Do they see Chinese or Indians lining up to spend 300+ dollars to buy Office?
  • When products are imported at artificially low prices, we impose tariffs to keep things in balance for domestic suppliers (The recent shrimp fiasco is a perfect example).

    Why the hell aren't we doing the same thing with companies that outsource? The coding and work that they get is saleable commodity with a set value. And it financially affects companies and people in this country in a negative way financially. Why not balance the scales?
  • by dekeji (784080) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:49PM (#9836592)
    India is a country of 1bn people. If Microsoft wants equal access to the Indian market, it seems only fair that they have proportional numbers of developers in India, which means that you would expect 3x as many Microsoft developers in India than in the US.
  • Money And Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:51PM (#9836630) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft's outsourcing moves not only involve cutting costs, they also involve politics. Both China and India have very high rates of software piracy and as companies like Microsoft demand greater protection of intellectual property, they run the risk of pushing said countries into free open source software. If OSS becomes the standard in India or China, then Microsoft loses Windows and Office sales forever.

    So in an effort to prevent the spread of OSS, Microsoft is investing millions of dollars into a research center in China and efforts in India. This makes big time political points too, which makes it less likely that the governments in either country will lock Microsoft out of the game with OSS. It's still risky though, as both India and China have made moves to encourage local software development on Linux.

    Right now I'm betting that MS will eventually put a good portion of development in China where the labor costs are even less than India and it is politically more stable. But that's just a wild guess. In any case, low and mid level coders' days are numbered at MS.
  • by surreal-maitland (711954) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:57PM (#9836719) Journal
    A concern is that even the highest-skilled and best-paying work, such as software development, is now subject to competition from lower-cost locales abroad.

    HAHAHAHHAAAHAHAAHAH!

    whew. "highest skilled work . . . such as software development" that's a good one.

  • by jht (5006) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:00PM (#9836764) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is still growing. They're hiring more workers here in the US. According to this article, they're also hiring people in India (and other places as well, I'd assume). They've given programming jobs to the companies in India.

    But they're still hiring programmers here, as well. So what's the problem? Should Microsoft hire only US workers? Should they only be allowed to grow here?

    What I don't see here is Microsoft getting rid of their US workforce to hire in India. And (according to Microsoft's statements) most of the core work, and all the "IP development" is based here. And Microsoft is hiring more US workers as well.

    In summary, this really doesn't appear to be a Big Deal. Now, 3Com dumping their product operation to pretty much outsource all their product development to Huawei? That's significant. But 3Com is just a shell of it's former self, so nobody really paid attention to that. When Linux starts being spread around the world, then I'll worry about globali...

    (What? You say Linux isn't a US company? It's a global project already? Developed by volunteers? Oops...)

    Um, never mind that last point!
  • by Louis Savain (65843) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:10PM (#9836908) Homepage
    Outsourcing is a problem only because we have a slavery system. Our livelihood depends on working for others so we can pay our taxes. The reason that we have to work for others is that 99% of people have been deprived of an inheritance in the wealth of the land. Income property is owned by a few and the state. The others are slaves. Artists, programmers and inventors depend on their work to make a living. Can we blame them? We all depend on our labor because we are all slaves. So now we are swimming in a ocean of laws and rules that take away our remaining liberties, one by one.

    Let's face it, if you cannot put a fence around it or put chains on it, it does not belong to you. Makes no difference whether it is ideas, writings, software, music or what have you. Once you've released it, like the air, it belongs to nobody and everybody.

    Intellectual property owners (such as Microsoft and the music industry) will fight freedom with everything they've got. Right now they have two formidable weapons: IP laws and powerful police states to enforce them. But those who yearn to be free also have a formidable weapon, the internet.

    The internet and other communication technologies (e.g., file sharing systems) are the first major kinks in the armor of a sick system. As technology progresses, the system will eventually collapse. What will happen to a slave-based economy when robots and advanced artificial intelligences replace everybody, i. e., when human labor, knowledge and expertise become worthless? It will be orders of magnitude worse than outsourcing.

    And don't think for a minute this won't happen in your lifetime. The internet is the latest giant leap in human communication. Before that came mass telecommunication technologies and before that was the movable press. If history is any indication, we can expect a giant leap in technological progress and scientific knowledge. In fact, it is happening before our very eyes.

    We should all demand a system where everybody is guaranteed income property, a piece of the pie, an estate if you will. There is plenty for everybody.

    Communism confiscates all property and enslaves everybody. Capitalism gives property to a few and enslaves the rest. It's sad. The land should not be divided for a price. It should be an inheritance for us and our children and their children. It's the only way to guarantee freedom and a truly free market in a world where human labor is about to go the way of the dinosaurs. Demand liberty! Nothing less.
    • by servognome (738846) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:33PM (#9837174)
      happen to a slave-based economy when robots and advanced artificial intelligences replace everybody, i. e., when human labor, knowledge and expertise become worthless? It will be orders of magnitude worse than outsourcing.
      Then it will be time for the great robot war!
    • by Bull999999 (652264) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:59PM (#9838093) Journal
      Believe it or now, majority of millionaires in US are first generation millionaires. The reason being is that the children of millionaires tend to be spoiled and are more likely to blow their money away.

      How about have the government provide a guaranteed income property, why don't you stop pissing away your money on stupid crap and use the money saved to buy your income property? Do you really want to government to chose your investment for you since they did such a great job with Social Security?
    • It seems to be quite good.

      What you are advocating is that we become a subsistence farmers society, or what, is our plot of land going to feed us in autopilot mode or what?

      I guess you are also a proponent of rigid population control, in the style of one child only policy in China, since otherwise your "inheritance" will srhink with each new generation of new forced farmers.

      We, specialy in developped countries, live in an era when we are living longer, healtier (smokers, you suck) lifes, of food overabunda
      • I want some of that you are smoking. It seems to be quite good.

        Do you always start an argument with ridicule? Not a harbinger of honest motives, I would say.

        What you are advocating is that we become a subsistence farmers society, or what, is our plot of land going to feed us in autopilot mode or what?

        Why would a distribution of land to families lead to subsistence farming, pray tell? Would farming technology be any different than it is now, just because ownership has changed hands. There is no reason
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:23PM (#9837050)
    I'a a 25-year veteran of working as a software developer as both a permie and a consultant.

    I know the politically-correct policy is to consider that programmers from countries such as India do reasonable work, but my experience is that it is just not true. I keep finding that the resultant source-code from outsourcing is abysmal.

    I've worked on projects for several different companies where programming has been outsourced to India and Russia, and it has always cost way more money to put it right than outsourcing the project has saved.

    I expect Microsoft will also find this out the hard way, and to the end-users disadvantage.

    • by pe1chl (90186) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:43PM (#9837279)
      My experience is that it does not matter to where you outsource it. Any job outsourced to another company can result in bad quality code.
      Remember that every company will tell you how good the quality of their programmers is, how good their methodology is, etc. But in the end they just allocate a bunch of programmers to your job, and every time a new (= always more important) job comes in, the best people are moved to there and a new load of trainees continues on your work.

      This can happen when you outsource to India, but it may just as well happen when you outsource to a reputable company in your own country.
    • by vrai (521708) on Friday July 30, 2004 @03:31AM (#9841385)
      I concur. The last two companies I've worked at have made some attempt to outsource high-level work (usually Java). In both cases the experiment failed because of the abysmal quality of code that was produced. It was pretty clear that the 'expert, degree level' people we'd paid for had about a weeks programming experience between them.

      Companies do not, have not and never will outsource because it results in good quality work. That's merely a lie to placate their customers. They outsource because it cuts costs and lower costs means higher stock price. Now given that most company directors have bonuses tied to rises in stock price, and the damage the outsourcing causes won't become apparent for a few years; it's pretty obvious why outsourcing is occuring.

    • Our experience was exactly the same. In the end, we decided to try to hire the better performing individuals (if legally and contractually possible), and mostly dump the indian companies. Since a few years we are mostly using hungarian and polish contractors, in-house.
  • Security Risk? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eric Damron (553630) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:28PM (#9837122)
    I hope they aren't going to hire offshore programmers. Wasn't there an article on Slashdot just the other day about how some terrorist rogue programmer might slip something awful into Linux and destroy the civilized world? The article said that the US government shouldn't use open source because of this bogus reason.

    Seems to me that the government using proprietary code that has been out sourced would be an even greater risk.
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:40PM (#9837247) Homepage
    Eh, what was it, 12, 14 years ago? Downsizing was all the rage and cause of much spillage of ink and political discussion. Yeah, I think Bush the elder was king of the 'downsizing' economy, and Bush the younger is king of the 'oursourcing' economy. Lets see, before then it was 'automation', and going way back, hah, 'industrialization'. Yeah, all those steam engines were putting laborers out of work!

  • by Bull999999 (652264) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @07:11PM (#9838208) Journal
    This is another classic case of slashdotters flip floping on their values. Most slashdotters want MS to crash and burn, yet now they are arguing that MS shoudn't outsource because it's bad for it.

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