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IBM Patents

IBM Tries To Patent Offshoring 242

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 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:Relax (Score:4, Informative)

    by againjj ( 1132651 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:44PM (#27395731)
    Looked at the trade deficit lately? []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:20PM (#27396661)

    Microsoft: 4.9%
    IBM: 0.3%
    Hewlett-Packard: 0.2%
    Apple Computer: 0.9%

  • 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 [] 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.
  • Re:Tariffs (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:47PM (#27396861)

    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 on imports? That is truly a joke, if countries impose tariffs on us too, that will pretty much be the end of the American economy...

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:16PM (#27397069) Homepage Journal

    I got three better words: In re Bilski. []

  • Re:Relax (Score:3, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:22PM (#27397111) Homepage Journal

    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 your ideals on the rest of us, thanks.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:38PM (#27397239) Journal

    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 the tractor. It was kind of lame for my grandpa, who had to get trained in a non-farming skill, but he got paid more working for the phone company than he ever would have farming.

    I'm not saying that protectionism is an ideal strategy, but it's better than giving away our standard of living while getting nothing in return.

    You will always lose from protectionism in the long term, and often in the short term. The best strategy is to help these countries improve their standard of living, until there is no point in outsourcing because it costs just as much there. Then they can take care of their own programming needs, and we can take care of our own programming needs.

  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> on Monday March 30, 2009 @11:40PM (#27397585) Homepage

    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 BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @12:02AM (#27397731)
    ...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 custodial penalties as an individual, but that is just not going to happen in a legal system that values property over human life or rights.
  • by Alpha830RulZ ( 939527 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @12:46AM (#27398035)

    But how does that work in a bad economy?

    I dunno, let's look at history. See this []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @01:04AM (#27398155)

    Unless the employee counts are wrong that should be:

    Microsoft: 4437/57,588 : 7%
    Apple Computer: 291/20,000 : 1.45%
    IBM: 1413/130,000 : 1%
    Hewlett-Packard: 520/65,000 : 0.8%

    (ie. apple is 1.45% & HP 0.8% - 1% isn't meaningful, it could be 0.1 or 0.99%)

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @01:56AM (#27398419) Journal
    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 putting it in some kind of investment. Stocks and bonds typically perform relatively well against inflation, and for extra security (without the uncertainty of investing in gold, for example), you can buy treasury inflation protected securities.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.