Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM Tries To Patent Offshoring

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

    by gollito ( 980620 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:18PM (#27395417) Homepage
    I think somebody jumped the gun on this one. April fools anyone?
  • Bad Timing (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:21PM (#27395459)

    Patenting offshoring just as globalization collapses and protectionism is gaining favour. Talk about closing the barn door after the horse has bolted...

  • 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 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 HanzoSpam ( 713251 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:50PM (#27395801)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:51PM (#27395807)

    "The US patent system is just broken!!"

    Its only broken if we live in a true Democracy. Its totally fine (in the eyes of the ruling elite) if we live in a Plutocracy (ruled by the rich), as then, the people in power, the ones who make the rules, and their rich friends can then buy and control everything (and everyone) with patents and lawyers.

    Worse still, as a Plutocracy becomes more extreme it becomes a Kleptocracy (ruled by thieves). After all, its not as if the people who write the laws and their friends in power are giving millions of tax payers money to their rich friends, so they and their friends can prop up their rich lifestyles, while millions suffer the consequences. (Plus few of the rich will be brought to justice for the suffering they cause (after all, their rich friends who write the laws, choose what is considered the law)).

    The point is, its far worse than broken. The whole of society is distorted to serve the minority of rich and powerful at the expense (literally) of the majority of people. Therefore the patent system is broken as a symptom of a much larger problem, which is, we don't have a real Democracy (anywhere in the world) as everyone worldwide lives in Plutocracies. Worse still, since the economic problems started, its showing we are at times in a Kleptocracy. It means most of the time, we have been near the extremes of a Plutocracy, which in hindsight makes sense, as the ones in power push as far as they can get away with, until large numbers of people start to see huge problems. Then the ones in power change tactics and move into other areas people can't see, until they become extreme and so on. Currently the patent system is becoming extreme, but its nothing compared with the money now openly flowing around the world, from rich to rich, while millions of other people suffer. Thats new. They are now so openly helping themselves in a huge feeding frenzy they are saying is all for our good. Yeah right.

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @07:58PM (#27395859)
    Of course, that was based on using money fixed to ours and using it to destroy our own middle class. What will be more interesting is the possibility of NEW companies coming from India ONCE they untie their money AND drop their trade barriers. I am hopeful that this will lead to more companies that truly do expand the commercial world, as opposed to usurp one with another (like China is trying to do).
  • Re:Relax (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vectronic ( 1221470 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:00PM (#27395891)

    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 standard of living that makes companies outsource, when a lot of the workers are probably willing to do away with all that nonsense and use a basic work = cash, sort of under-the-table thing which seems to be what attracts companies to outsourcing, WYSIWYG systems. Granted in some cases they abuse it, which amounts to basically slavery but that's not a "given".

  • 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.
  • 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 Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:07PM (#27396543)
    "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?
  • 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: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 BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @12:35AM (#27397969)
    ...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 a measure of America's falling productivity to an excess of attorneys and accountants, and a dearth of production experts. Lawyers and accountants "do not make the economic pie any bigger; they only figure out how the pie gets divided. Neither profession provides any added value to product."
    According to Connellan, the highly productive Japanese society has 10 lawyers and 30 accountants per 100,000 population. The U.S. has 200 lawyers and 700 accountants. This suggests that "the U.S. proportion of pie-bakers and pie-dividers is way out of whack." Could Dick Butcher have been an efficiency expert?
    -- Motor Trend, May 1983

  • Re:Relax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT 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:Tariffs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:06AM (#27399071) Homepage
    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.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:21AM (#27400019)

    Correct - but if you check your original post Apple is listed as "less than" 1% (it looks like I only wrote 1% because Slashdot ate my "less than" character :( ). I still think one decimal point is more useful for comparison (ie. 7.7, 1.5, 1.0, 0.8).

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @10:44AM (#27402015) Journal

    Well I like to answer the "better than starving" argument with "we should be offering our poorer neighbors a friendly hand up, not paying an iron boot to keep them down". Because outsourcing is supporting some truly bad regimes by giving the "el presidente" types plenty of cash while the peasants get to enjoy lead, mercury, PCBs, dioxins,etc. And how is it "better than starving" if you poison their air and land so damned bad that it practically is unlivable?

    It isn't like they can just clean this stuff up when the multinational goes somewhere else because they found they could save a nickel by going somewhere else. Just look at how many superfund [] sites there are in the US where some corp has stuck us with the bill for land that is no longer fit for human habitation. Do we really think the third world will EVER be able to recover all that poisoned land?

    I think in the end we will look at the outsourcing to the third world for what it is: the exploitation of the weak by the rich and powerful. In the end this shit is just as evil as slave labor, child exploitation for sex and labor, and every other sick evil thing we have done to the helpless. Only unlike those others this will be killing long after the greedy bastards that dumped it have turned to dust. And folks wonder why so many hate the US?

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.