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IBM Patents

IBM Tries To Patent Offshoring 242

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the riaa-business-method dept.
Ian Lamont writes "IBM has filed a patent application that covers offshoring employees. Application 20090083107, dated March 26, 2009, is a 'method and system for strategic global resource sourcing.' Figure 2 gives a pretty good idea of what's involved — it shows boxes labelled 'Engineer,' 'HR,' and 'Programmer' with crossing arrows pointing to cylinders labelled 'India,' 'China,' and 'Hungary.' The article speculates that IBM may apply the methodology to its own staff — it reportedly plans to lay off thousands of employees and has even started a program to have IBM workers transfer to other countries at local wages."
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IBM Tries To Patent Offshoring

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  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:16PM (#27395399) Homepage Journal

    India is on the brink of a revolution. The creation of a middle class between the very rich and the very poor is imminent. The writing is on the wall and the corporations are already moving on to Africa. So I'll ask again, how many years has it been? The elevation of the poorest people in the world to a western standard of living is happening in our lifetime.

  • The thing about IBM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:17PM (#27395409) Journal
    IBM is a typical blue chip company. They get things done, but tend to move slowly, relying mainly on their reputation to differentiate them from the competition. They tend to move slowly, in a systematic way. I think they are an example of where outsourcing could work, because since they are slow already, the normal problems of communicating across a globe aren't going to be as serious.

    The main problem they will have is making sure their foreign teams are good. On the other hand, that isn't always an easy problem even with teams in the United States.

    Sorry if this goes against the typical Slashdot ideology against outsourcing, but the truth is I feel more sorry for workers in developing countries who might not have running water or electricity 24 hours a day, than I do for an American programmer making $80k a year who might have to look a little harder for a job (that includes me). Spread the wealth. There's enough to go around.
  • for the win (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xenious (24845) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:23PM (#27395483)

    Maybe if we let IBM patent it then everyone else will stop doing it?

  • by linzeal (197905) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:35PM (#27395619) Homepage Journal

    Slavery, both ancient and modern has been only been successful in places where its implementation is predicated by state sanction and overwhelming force if threatened. China, India and SE Asia are developing the nascent foundations of worker's unions and it would not be surprising if this populist sentiment will rise to the point where they are at the throats of their governments with calls for better working conditions, human rights and a greater sharing in the financial rewards. Currently offshoring in manufacturing works on the premise that you have a person making 1/10th to 1/1000th of the wage of the people who ship, retail, and design the products. Does that sound sustainable to you?

        Just because an idea makes immediate quantitative financial sense for a select few be them landholders or shareholders, the long term economic value of a process is something quite different. It is very much like the difference between weather and climate where one can model accurately the weather systems and their effect on a specific locale for a few days but can't extrapolate that knowledge beyond a certain limit either geographically half-way around the world or temporally years or decades into the future.

      As these country's workers gain skills and begin automating the manufacturing processes and need less people in manufacturing both for local needs and export and begin to design and manufacture more for the local markets we are going to see less and less of a world populated with crap designed for Americans and built by others. To expect the rest of the world to serve America's aggrandized view of itself for much longer at the rates of slavery is foolish and for IBM to attempt to capitalize upon an idea with 1000's of years of prior art is just bad patent law and needs to be regulated against.

  • Tariffs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:38PM (#27395673) Homepage

    Its about time that we taxed software and support from US companies that outsource.

    You want to outsource your programmers or call center to India? That's just fine. Now show us how many hours your foreign staff has worked. Alright, now we're going to tax you so much that you end up paying 2/3rds of what you would have paid if you had stayed in the USA. We're putting this money towards unemployment benefits and other social programs, to offset the number of workers you dumped so you could hire someone to do it for five dollars a day.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:47PM (#27395765)
    Interestingly enough, there is good reason to blame American labor unions for not moving the bulk of their efforts to China, India, etc. [blogspot.com]
  • by Tokerat (150341) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:47PM (#27395767) Journal

    Sorry if this goes against the typical Slashdot ideology against outsourcing, but the truth is I feel more sorry for workers in developing countries who might not have running water or electricity 24 hours a day, than I do for an American programmer making $80k a year who might have to look a little harder for a job (that includes me). Spread the wealth. There's enough to go around.

    I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I was too busy filing for unemployment because there are no jobs left in America at all. how sorry will you feel for American s when WE don't have running water and electricity anymore?

  • by Amiga Trombone (592952) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:04PM (#27395937)

    Some interesting info I picked up doing some research on who was hiring whom, and where. Here's a short list of companies in our industry, and the number of H1-B's they hired in 2008.

    Microsoft: 4437
    IBM: 1413
    Hewlett-Packard: 520
    Apple Computer: 291

    You tell me - which of these companies has produced the most innovative products over the last decade? By the way - unlike the other three, Apple doesn't offshore their product development - it's all done in Cupertino, Ca. Also, when you call their tech support, you'll reliably get connected with someone who speaks English.

  • Re:Relax (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maxume (22995) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:30PM (#27396195)

    Lately? It is still huge, but it actually shrank a bit the last two years (the graph cites this file as source data, but is 3 years out of date):

    http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/gands.txt [census.gov]

    And a little less than half of it is oil, which isn't exactly a threat to our ability to manufacture (it is just an expensive habit):

    http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/current_press_release/exh9.txt [census.gov]

    There isn't really anything good about a huge trade deficit, but a ~trillion dollar trade deficit doesn't really prove that a 14 trillion dollar economy is rotten to the core (but I would agree that there are lots of problems).

  • B1H (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Monday March 30, 2009 @11:36PM (#27397561) Homepage Journal

    plans to lay off thousands of employees and has even started a program to have IBM workers transfer to other countries at local wages

    I have to at least give them kudos to provide such an option. But I'd really be pissed if the target country does not allow reverse visa workers (or something comparable). We should clamp down on such countries. They dump all their products and services on the US, but often have fits if things go the other way. A lot of 3rd-world countries are fair-weather "free" traders.
                 

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:30AM (#27399205) Homepage

    Probably more likely that its people from abroad, especially the EU, who really don't want to move to the US with its much less protective legislation. A smart US based IBM employee should be signing up for the move to France, Germany or Scandanavia, better healthcare, that isn't linked to your employer, better food (in France anyway) and a chance to completely change your perspective on life.

    Now it would be interesting what the odds are on IBM allowing a US to France transfer.

  • by Qrlx (258924) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @05:43AM (#27399575) Homepage Journal

    So what if IBM wants to help India produce more things of value?

    You're trying to tell us altruism, not cost-cutting, is the motivation for globalization?

    I want some of what you're smoking.

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