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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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  • I'm sure they're just patenting this so others can't. Otherwise it would be just ... evil.
    • Re:Relax (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Idiomatick (976696) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:12PM (#27395355)
      Even if they patent it and use it if other people can't because of them .... Honestly though in the global scheme out sourcing is probably a good thing, its just bad for the US.
      • Honestly though in the global scheme out sourcing is probably a good thing, its only bad for countries who have nothing to offer.

        U.S. outsources jobs, fine, "loss of jobs", but what about other countries that don't have say the factories to build large equipment outsourcing to the U.S.? Sort of like WW2, but without the violence. Outsourcing the soldiers, but insourcing the manufacturing.

        • Re:Relax (Score:4, Informative)

          by againjj (1132651) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:44PM (#27395731)
          Looked at the trade deficit lately?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USTrade1991-2005.png [wikipedia.org]
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Vectronic (1221470)

            No, but it was good for a laugh...

            My point wasn't really to say that it doesn't/isn't effecting the US, only that it's not just the US, or the US is the only one on the negative side.

            I'm not an expert, probably not even moderately informed in economics, but I just get kinda of sick of people blaming other countries for the US's imbalance of commerce like the US isn't to blame at all. There are millions of people willing to work, but because of regulations, taxes, insurances, and this ridiculously high stand

            • by againjj (1132651)
              Ah, I didn't really get that at all from the post. I read, "Outsourcing is not bad because other places outsource to us." My response was to note that they don't, as much. In other words, I generally agree with you.
            • this ridiculously high standard of living

              Oh poor me, I have the right to work here, but unlike most of europe, no health insurance.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              this ridiculously high standard of living that makes companies outsource

              Oh? And what are you willing to do without? Because let me tell you something: to be on par with the standards of living in India and China, you can say 'bye-bye' to having your own place to live. Instead, you and three generations of your clan will be living in a studio apartment. You won't be able to afford a car, you won't be able to afford decent clothes, and you won't be able to afford to eat anything not obtained from a frickin' soup kitchen.

              If that's how you want to live, fine. But don't impose

              • I said ridiculously high, never said it would have to become exactly the same.

                Besides, if you don't have a job, and refuse to be employed because you aren't making $25 an hour, you'll end up on the street anyways.

                Everyone starts wanting more and more money, quiting their job at $12 an hour, going for the $16 an hour, then $20, $25... the companies that were giving you $16, go "fuck this shit" and look outside of the country, the more those numbers rise, the more companies look outside, why give someone $25

                • Dude...
                  The standard is more like $80 a month.

                  In china they were having severe problems when manufacturing wages doubled and approached $1 a day.

                  But it works, because if everyone makes $1 a day, then basic things like vegetables are cheaper (because you are only paying $1 a day to the person raising food for another 100 people).

                • Everyone starts wanting more and more money, quiting their job at $12 an hour, going for the $16 an hour, then $20, $25... the companies that were giving you $16, go "fuck this shit" and look outside of the country, the more those numbers rise, the more companies look outside, why give someone $25 an hour to do the same as someone else is willing to take $4, what makes you special? cause you just leased a new car, therefore you are a more valuable employee?

                  Well, according to the scenario you've set up, $25/hour is the market price, so the company can pay it or do without.

                  • Hmm, more accurately, they can pay it, or pay less by outsourcing. It could be circumvented if all companies based in X country had to hire people within X country, but even then it would just become regional, the east might be $25, but the west might become more lax in it's regulations, allowing more people to work, drop it down to $20, people from the east who don't qualify there, move to the west, people in the east refuse to go lower than $25, so the east companies outsource to the west, people lose job

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by maxume (22995)

            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 tra

        • Re:Relax (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Idiomatick (976696) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:52PM (#27395813)
          True it's only bad for countries with nothing to offer. BUT because atm the US is waaay ahead of India in lifestyle wages w/e. It will harm the US. Because it is an equalizer. Right now we have a system in place that is unfair globally, the US and other rich countries are benefiting. Outsourcing makes the economy more fair. That screws everyone currently on the top. Ethically we should be OK with fair systems.

          Side note for coding. Coding is VERY easy to export, shipping costs nothing. There are no really special tools involved. Minimal language requirements. All it requires is good brains. So we feel this equalizing force more strongly than other sectors. This results in our average wage not changing much hence our ppp doesn't change. And our wages essentially plummet. Still... those coders in india probably live damn well.
          • Minimal language requirements

            I agree with your main point, but I'd like to add two of my own: communication is essential, when I've worked with offshore development teams, there had to be daily communication between both sides. If you can't get your point across to them, then the development is not going to happen.

            The second point is that our goal shouldn't be to keep 'them' down, it should be to help them raise up to our level as quickly as reasonable. There is enough work to go around, and when they reach a high standard of livin

          • ....Outsourcing make the economy more fair. That screws everyone currently on the top. Ethically we should be OK with fair systems..

            WTF?

            Fair economically ?

            By this definition supply and demand wouldn't be fair, there should be enough for everyone.

            Atlas Shrugged seems more and more appropriate these days but if that doesn't hit the spot I recall a Dilbert where the company outsourced to India; who outsourced to Hungary, who outsourced to Brazil who then outsourced back to the folks who were being outsourced i

            • Re:Relax (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday March 30, 2009 @11:43PM (#27397607)

              The problem is that I pay $300 for Windows while Microsoft sells it in india for $35.
              I pay $5 for a pill and they pay $.10 to the same company for the same pill. ( And in many cases- the company is making a profit on that $.10 pill).
              I pay $19.99 for a movie, and they pay $2.49 for the same movie.
              I pay $1 for an mp3 and they pay $0.00 for the same song (legally!)
              I pay $70 for a pair of shoes that goes there for $5.

              The corporations have laws passed that make it illegal to buy those pills for $.10 and import them to the US for $1.00 and undercut the company's local prices. Likewise for "region" encoded movies. And I.P. restricted web sites for songs. And "trademark protected" shoes.

              So the companies get to hire $5 an hour labor to compete with me at $35 an hour. But I don't get to buy the cheaper products at the cheaper price.

              It's bullshit. Our government has been bought and paid for by these companies and is completely corrupt.

              They sell the dream that you can get rich-- brainwashing us from birth. But in reality your shot is about 1:1,000,000- as compared to 1:5,000,000 everywhere else.

              Insurance is rigged- you are required to take it- but the amounts you pay are grossly over the losses. When the payout exceeds the amounts they owe you, they stiff you or go bankrupt. And "insurance" drives up the prices of every procedure just as "credit" drives up the prices of housing, cars, and everything else.

              It will collapse soon. Probably within 12 years. We can't go into debt any more.

          • by dwarg (1352059)

            Outsourcing makes the economy more fair. That screws everyone currently on the top. Ethically we should be OK with fair systems.

            I get your point but I just wanted to point out that the people "on the top" are doing better than ever in the global economy. It's the upper-middle class that's taking it on the chin. Outsourcing drives down the cost of labor which increases profit margins and/or lowers prices. While prices have gone down some, most of those gains have gone into obscene executive pay and shareholder dividends.

            The upper-middle class was an anomaly sitting between the two kinds of people in this world. Those people that w

          • Re:Relax (Score:5, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @01:13AM (#27398193) Journal

            Except with the little problem that it is NOT fair. One of the reasons why our standard costs so much is because you can't build smokestacks that spew cancer for 25+ miles in any direction, or dump enough toxic waste into the rivers that anything that touches that shit dies. But instead, thanks to the glories of outsourcing, we can pay an "el presidente" to poison the fuck out of HIS peasants so we can breathe clean air. And that sounds fair to you? All outsourcing does is brings miseries on third world peoples. Just see the filthy air in China, the toxic waste being dumped on China and India, the e-waste being dumped on ALL the third world, etc.

            The only way outsourcing equalizes anything is equalizing money into the hands of the rich and the corrupt, while poisoning the poor and insuring a nice premature death from cancer and lots of lovely birth defects. There is a good reason why we can't compete with China. It is because we don't let factories dump poison right out the back into the rivers. And I for one thank every Deity I don't believe in for that. I say while they are outsourcing maybe they should just outsource themselves and their products out of the country. But expecting us to compete with countries that have no rules against toxic waste is frankly fucking stupid and a lie cooked up by ruthless multinationals.The poisons our little outsourcing has wreaked upon the world will end up causing more deaths than the bombs we dropped on Japan. Not really something we should be cheering about.

          • Re:Relax (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:31AM (#27399211)

            Coding is VERY easy to export

            I don't know how many times you've worked with outsourced software developers, but my experience with them is that:
            - If the code done by the outsources needs to connect to code done locally you need to explain them all about the existing code
            - Specifically for the teams I work for in India, about 1 in 4 is really good, the rest not really (India seems to be suffering from the same effect as the Internet bubble caused in 2000 - due to the size of the demand for IT professionals, large numbers of people that should never have gone into IT are working as Software developers)
            - If you're just outsourcing your coding you need much more detailed requirements and design specs than otherwise. Unfortunately, in this industry good specs (of any kind) are few and far between.
            - Any large enough project will have a lot more time spent in requirements gathering, analysis and design than in coding. Actually, with a proper design code is the trivial part.
            - You often don't have that much influence in the hiring choices in the remote site. Often enough that means you get landed with completely inappropriate personnel.

            My personal experience from working with remotely located developers is that, unless you can give them full, well-specified, self-contained projects, the local developers actually end up spending more time supporting the outsourced developers (due to all the documentation and explanations needed) and reviewing/fixing the code developed in the remote site than they would if they just did the project themselves.

      • by Jurily (900488)

        Honestly though in the global scheme out sourcing is probably a good thing, its just bad for the US.

        It's good if you're an investor. Everyone else is fucked.

  • by againjj (1132651) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:12PM (#27395353)
    Actually, it is just yet another a method of choosing the most efficient way to outsource. They have a model of the cost/benefit for various outsource options, a computer program to evaluate it, and a computer system on which it runs. Nothing as sweeping as "IBM Tries To Patent Offshoring".
    • by lastchance_000 (847415) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:23PM (#27395481)
      Project Match, an IBM offshoring initiative the Standard reported on last month, offers U.S. employees the chance to stay with IBM by relocating to another country, to work in an IBM regional division at local wage rates. IBM has roughly 400,000 employees in 170 countries. As of early February, fewer than ten employees had shown interest in the program.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by HanzoSpam (713251)

        It's a good thing you can't patent being a jagoff. They'd have a natural monopoly.

      • by Mr. Sanity (1161283) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:32PM (#27396213)
        Wow, who'd have thought that employees wouldn't want to accept a transfer that locks them into a one-way move to another country? A country where IBM, a company that lays off workers in every market condition, will not be beholden to WARN-style laws? A country where the prevailing pay rate for the position would make returning to America incredibly (or impossibly) costly without people here to put you up until you get back on your feet? Yeah, I can see why few people would take up such a "great" opportunity.
        • 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 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.

    • India is on the brink of a revolution.

      India has been "on the brink of a revolution" for some time now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "The elevation of the poorest people in the world to a western standard of living is happening in our lifetime."

      Yes, we know. Who do you think has been paying for it?
  • 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.
    • by Sheik Yerbouti (96423) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:47PM (#27395757) Homepage

      Thing is though is it is entirely possible to gut the first world middle class through off shoring. I mean first the manufacturer jobs now the knowledge worker jobs?

      I mean we can't all work at Wal Mart as plumbers or for the government can we? Funny thing is once these short sighted companies seeking to boost the bottom line for next quarterly earnings call with Wall St. succeed they will have destroyed our economy and thus themselves.

      Because hiring Indian and Hungarians at low wages is great but selling to them on the same meager wages is not so profitable.

      Perhaps their standards of living will rise fast enough to offset the decline of our standard of living but that is really a big unknown. So this just seems like more MBA asshats fucking all of us including themselves. And believe it or not I am not even a protectionist this is just getting to the point of. Hey are these people even thinking this through? I mean it is the consumption of the first world middle class that props this whole shared delusion we call an economy up. It's all a really big ponzi scheme in a way and if us schmucks at the bottom don't keep buying in the whole thing collapses.

      • 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.

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:16PM (#27396079) Journal
          You should list what those numbers are as percentages of their total workforce. It would be interesting.
          • Microsoft: 4437
            IBM: 1413
            Hewlett-Packard: 520
            Apple Computer: 291

            Never mind the fact that one of those companies is a service company (IBM). Maybe parent to your post chose to ignore the fact that IBM has entire LOBs that are headshops, more-or-less?

          • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:39PM (#27396777) Journal
            Since other people seemed interested, I figured I might as well look it up, and here is what I have:

            Company : H1B/Total Employees : Percentage

            Microsoft: 4437/57,588 : 7%
            IBM: 1413/130,000 : 1%
            Hewlett-Packard: 520/65,000 : <1%
            Apple Computer: 291/20,000 : <1%

            I also found an interesting article [businessweek.com] talking about how many jobs the ipod creates. The result is 13,920 in the US, and 27,250 outside the US. This breaks down to $753 million in the US and $318 million outside the US. Something to think about.
      • Thing is though is it is entirely possible to gut the first world middle class through off shoring. I mean first the manufacturer jobs now the knowledge worker jobs?

        Probably not. The US still produces, in fact the exports alone from the United States are more than the entire GDP of India. The US manufacturing segment produces roughly $2.86 trillion a year, whereas China's industrial output was $1.6 trillion. The United States is not 'behind' in world production.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Supply Chain News: For First Time in More than 100 Years, US Set to Lose Place as World's Largest Manufacturer [scdigest.com].

          Most knowledgeable observers knew the day was coming soon, but now the researchers at Global Insight say that the US will lose its position as the world's largest manufacturer to China in 2009 - some four years earlier than the firm had predicted previously.

          In research done for the Financial Times, Global Insight now says that the US will retain the position it has held for more than 100 years

          • Interesting article, but my point still stands: the US is not 'behind' the world, according to your article, the US still produces 17% of the worlds global value-added factory output. For a country that has less than 5% of the world's population, that's not bad, especially considering it is only a portion of our economy.
            • by timeOday (582209)

              the US still produces 17% of the worlds global value-added factory output. For a country that has less than 5% of the world's population, that's not bad

              But that share dropped by approx. 50% in only 10 years [scdigest.com], and there's no end in sight.

              What if foreign investors reduce their holdings of US dollars by 50% over the next 10 years? What if we have to cut oil consumption by 50% over the next 10 years? We have a diverse economy and not everything will drop by 50%, but those things could. I think our abil

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by phantomfive (622387)
                China has been working for America essentially in exchange for.......paper. It's been kind of nice for us because we've gotten something for nothing. Eventually they will not want to work for so little money, and their money will gain value compared to ours, and cheap consumer goods will not be so cheap anymore. There is a high probability of some accelerated inflation in the next decade. That will be nice if you have debt (like the national government), but if you have cash, you will want to protect it
      • by blind biker (1066130) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:13PM (#27396613) Journal

        They don't care. Most publicly traded companies are managed by corporate psychopaths ("Snakes in Suits", great book) and as such, they don't care for anyone's benefit but their own. If they can make $100.000 at the expense of the whole economy of their (or any) country, they'll do it. If it means hundreds of deaths, they'll do it. They just don't feel anything for anyone, and before their company tanks they'll have jumped ship already.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by BrokenHalo (565198)
          ...If it means hundreds of deaths, they'll do it....

          Well, that's because nobody has thought to stop them.

          To all intents and purposes, corporations are able to act exactly as an individual might given sufficient influence and resources. The difference is that most existing legal systems do not hold corporations culpable in the same way as they do an individual. It would be a refreshing change if directors of companies guilty of flagrant abuses occasioning death or injury could be subjected to the same cus
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tokerat (150341)

      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?

      • I was too busy filing for unemployment because there are no jobs left in America at all.

        There are jobs left in America. And there will be for some time.

        • by pwizard2 (920421)

          There are jobs left in America. And there will be for some time.

          But there may not be enough jobs to go around in a few years in some industries. (that time may already have come) Competition is going to be terrible, and quite a few people are inevitably going to be cut out. If there are lots of people offering a service, then the value of that service must go down as a result, leading to lower wages. (It's like fighting for a sandwich that already has a big bite taken out of it) The problem may be delaye

          • But there may not be enough jobs to go around in a few years in some industries.

            As they say, there is no reason to prop up the buggy whip makers. If there are not enough jobs to go around, find a different industry, it happens. You'll probably end up happier anyway.

            Outsourcing should be a criminal offense in this economy, and I would also love to see a moratorium on new H1-B visas for a few years.

            Protectionism has been shown over and over again to be a bad idea. The best thing to do is help these developing countries raise their standard of living, then there will be no point to outsource to them. They can have their own industry serving their own, and we can have our industry serving us.

            • by pwizard2 (920421)

              As they say, there is no reason to prop up the buggy whip makers. If there are not enough jobs to go around, find a different industry, it happens. You'll probably end up happier anyway.

              Like I said, that can only happen so much, and the pie gets smaller and smaller each time. It's not like there is an infinite amount of jobs and they merely get shuffled around between industries. Besides, not everyone has the flexibility to jump into a new industry at any given time. (when you're young and single, it's no

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by phantomfive (622387)

                Like I said, that can only happen so much, and the pie gets smaller and smaller each time. It's not like there is an infinite amount of jobs and they merely get shuffled around between industries.

                Now wait, it's this sort of misconception that makes people start to think protectionism is a good idea. Do you realize that there are more jobs in the US than there were 20 years ago? Despite advances like robots and computers making us more efficient, and things like outsourcing, there are still more jobs. This is the way humans are: when it appears we have nothing left to do, we find something new and more interesting to do. I sure don't lament the loss of all the farming jobs from the invention of t

                • by pwizard2 (920421)

                  Now wait, it's this sort of misconception that makes people start to think protectionism is a good idea. Do you realize that there are more jobs in the US than there were 20 years ago? Despite advances like robots and computers making us more efficient, and things like outsourcing, there are still more jobs. This is the way humans are: when it appears we have nothing left to do, we find something new and more interesting to do. I sure don't lament the loss of all the farming jobs from the invention of the t

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by BrokenHalo (565198)
                ...and the pie gets smaller and smaller each time

                Talking of pies, that reminds me of this morning's fortune cookie:

                In "King Henry VI, Part II," Shakespeare has Dick Butcher suggest to his fellow anti-establishment rabble-rousers, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." That action may be extreme but a similar sentiment was expressed by Thomas K. Connellan, president of The Management Group, Inc. Speaking to business executives in Chicago and quoted in Automotive News, Connellan attributed

        • That's for sure, 'cause those burgers won't flip themselves!

    • I've got Karma to burn, and you just hit a sore spot for me, MoFo. My wife and I are both degreed electronics techs, worked in aerospace, and TOGETHER brought in $70K for a few months, then 9/11 happened, her job got off-shored, I got laid-off and informed I was "over qualified". I was out of work for almost 2 years, lost our home and cars, my credit has been wrecked for years, I've had to change my career and start over, yada, yada, yada...

      We've had to live in my parents basement, move into a rural area, a

  • Jumped the gun? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gollito (980620)
    I think somebody jumped the gun on this one. April fools anyone?
  • by dattaway (3088) * on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:19PM (#27395431) Homepage Journal

    No wonder why they want to outsource That's a big number. In my day, patents were slowly incrementing in the 7 figure range. I can't wait until they hire monkeys to type up more applications. IBM made the best typewriters...

    • Looks to me like a five digit number with the year dropped in front.
    • Granted patent numbers still are in the 7 figure range, I think we're around 7,500,000 ish.

      Patent applications have a different numbering system that has the application year as a prefix. This new system only started around 2001.

      • Technically, the number is for a Patent Application Publication. The application itself has a different number, in this case, 11/860336.

        If it issues, it'll get a third number - the patent number - which, as the parent poster mentioned, is currently somewhere just barely above 7,500,000.

  • The patent is invalid. Everybody knows you need Crisco to do offshoring right. :\

  • 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 Trojan35 (910785)

      Offshoring is good when done right.

      However, many companies that start embracing offshoring are doing it out of desperation... and that usually is just as much a failure as the strategies that got them into their mess in the first place.

  • by pugugly (152978) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:28PM (#27395551)

    I'm patenting a "Method for doing business without regard to ethical or moral principles."

    The cool thing is that patent trolls now have to come to me first - take that assholes!!!!

    "Oh my how the money rolls in!"

    Pug

  • 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.

    • by Renraku (518261)

      Leave China out of this. They have the resources and know-how to put down any kind of revolution or protest. At best they'd ignore the protesters, and at worse they'd just mow them down with a few machine guns.

      India, maybe I can see. India isn't itself wholly united yet, though, and they've been through some pretty rough times. It'd be a miracle if the people could unite enough to demand better wages. But look at what happens if they do. Will the companies stay in India, knowing that they might have t

    • by tchdab1 (164848)

      You don't need nearly the leverage of 1/100th or 1/10th the wage difference.
      IBM appears to make it work with as little as 2/3 (66%) of a wage difference.
      In many cases I'm working with 20-year olds in that foreign country, with little experience, and I'm trying to help them learn and get by on that wage of theirs which is a fraction of mine with over 25 years experience.
      And I guess it's pretty similar to if the new worker was a college grad here in the US, but they're not.
      I look at the empty desks of the peo

    • 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.

      You're view only makes sense as long as the land or shares have value, and are limited. Where does the value from the shares come from? It comes from what is produced.

      Fortunately, there is no lock-hold on production, especially in the software industry. What is happening to those people who've lost their jobs and money in the last year or so? A lot of them are starting their own companies. This is going to be competition for IBM. Hopefully IBM can keep up.

      As long as Americans are capable of produc

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Qrlx (258924)

        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.

    • I certainly expect China to step up and take care of the workers unions pretty quickly.. after all the workers already have the Communist party to protect the brotherhood.

  • Too bad someone will give some prior art example as soon IBM try to enforce it.
  • by subreality (157447) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:37PM (#27395661)

    They are trying to patent a *technique for evaluating* offshoring.

    I love reading /. for the news, but the constant need to deliberately misinterpret the news to spin it into some kind of hysteria is tiresome... This place is Fox for Nerds, News You Can Read Somewhere Between the Lines.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:02PM (#27395907)

      There is only one sentence with the words "Slashdot", "journalistic", and "integrity" in it that makes sense: "Slashdot has no journalistic integrity".

      Alternatively:

      Slashdot? Haha. Journalistic? Hahahaha. Integrity? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAOMGWTFLOLBBQROTFLMAOHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      • There is only one sentence with the words "Slashdot", "journalistic", and "integrity" in it that makes sense

        Crap, I thought it was, "Slashdot structure saved from invasive integrity-intensive jumping by journalistic jaguars."

    • Who the heck modded this funny? I'm perfectly serious.

  • by coppro (1143801) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:38PM (#27395669)
    Next thing you know, they're going to patent patenting. Actually, even better: they'll patent patents. At least then maybe the American government will review the law.
  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hope you are trying to be funny here, because that was how most of the world used to work, till the US used it's muscle to tear down tarriffs and barriers. Countries like India did not have any means to compete with the capital intensive manufacturing like automobiles and other consumables that the US used to produce. Well, now, all that lobbying and bribing for reciprocal removal of tariffs in the belief that we could sell our goods has come back to haunt us.

      The tide has changed and now we want tariffs o

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
        Nah, he's just another idiot who doesn't understand how the world works. My first thought on the comment was "he just reinvented the tariff. Probably thinks it a great innovation, as well!" Free trade has been of enormous benefit to the entire world, tariffs are such a pain in the ass to deal with in business.
  • > 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.

    I suspect that as a business practice this can be made to look really good on a spreadsheet, but is going to monumentally suck in real life, and not just for the employees relocated to Parakou.

  • So if they're granted the patent, does that mean we can openly and vigorously blame IBM for all the jobs lost to outsourcing? I smell lawsuit!
  • Yeah, all the IT people laugh at that overpriced, overfed GM autoworker. How dare they get paid $40 an hour to build cars! How ironic it is, that those programmers never realized that if a country could paid someone 1/8th US wages to build cars, that maybe they could pay someone to program computers at the same discount. The only way to protect your standard of living is to kick foreign competition out. The USA and EU should form an exclusive trading block, and just screw the rest of the world. That mea

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by guruevi (827432)

      Except that that worker is a line worker doing very 'boring' jobs similar to a helpdesk line in the IT world which makes $12/hour tops. The actual wage of a GM line worker is around $25-30/hour but because you need so many of them that is very unsustainable in an economy where 'the other ones' do it at less than half the price. In what sane IT company does a first line helpdesk jockey earn $30/hour when you can hire 2 or 3 for that price?

      • by tjstork (137384)

        Except that that worker is a line worker doing very 'boring' jobs similar to a helpdesk line in the IT world which makes $12/hour top?

        I would argue that today's programming is almost as much assembly line taylorism as building a car is, and, programming is by far an easier job, because there's no physical labor, modern wizards make it pretty easy to put together basic data screens, you sit in an air conditioned building or even at home...

        Bottom line is, if you think that you are somehow immune to internatio

  • Finally (Score:3, Funny)

    by tthomas48 (180798) on Monday March 30, 2009 @11:21PM (#27397481) Homepage

    A patent I can fully endorse. So IBM can corner the market on poorly developed spaghetti, while simultaneously removing the cost advantage to outsourcing by anyone else. The free market is better than regulation!

  • B1H (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088)

    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.

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