If markets lie offshore, jobs must follow
Walter Nodelman states that "the market, not Bangalore, is key to the crime of offshoring" (Crosstalk, Feb. 7, page 30). While I empathize with Mr. Nodelman on the subject of offshoring, I'd like to bring up a few points on why the very companies mentioned in his letter have no option but to offshore.
I always find people asking, "Why does my company outsource jobs to India or China?" But I don't find them asking, "Why does my company sell products in India or China?" Answering this second question not only answers the first but also reveals the very global nature of this business.
If we take a product such as a microprocessor from Intel, what is the total available market? Assuming a PC can be sold to every human being on earth, it's about 6.5 billion units (ignoring buys related to technology upgrades, etc.). More than a third of this total available market is in China and India. Assuming that a processor has a selling price of $200 in the United States and a production cost of $150 (including R&D and manufacturing), there is a net profit of $50 for the company.
Can a common man in China or India afford a $200 processor? Of course not. Assuming that the affordable price is $100 in that market, how can Intel sell in that region and still make a profit? By reducing the production costs. And that is where offshoring comes into the picture. Unless U.S. companies tighten production costs and bring them in line with the acceptable selling price in the available market, they cannot sustain business growth.
Should the Japanese complain about Toyota or Honda, or even Sony or Toshiba, setting up offices and manufacturing plants in the United States? Should Finns worry about Nokia setting up product development centers in the United States? In this era of globalization, the available market cannot be global unless some of the associated jobs and community development activities become truly global. It is not about journalism quality or cheap labor; it is all about business.
Lakshmikantam Chitturi, Senior CAD engineer
Teradyne Inc., San Jose, Calif.
'Collapse of U.S. education system' at root of jobs losses
Re Ron Wilson's editorial, "Social or financial?" (Feb. 7, page 4): If the U.S. is so immobile, then why are hundreds of thousands of immigrants flocking to our shores? The problem reverses itself in engineering, because the jobs in that area are emigrating offshore because of the collapse of the U.S. education system and the excessive salary expectations of underqualified U.S. engineers. The market will eventually provide all solutions, even though they may not be in our national interests. What is the engineers' lobby doing to correct U.S. deficiencies?
Steven J. Czonstka, Chief executive
Tech Management Enterprises
Bluewater Bay, Fla.
Whizzy chips are great, but not if system bungles their use
This letter was inspired by your Feb. 7 story and review (page 63) on the AD199XX Class-D audio amplifier. The designers appear to have done their jobs, producing a device with good sound and low EMI. High-end television is one of the applications targeted for the product. However, if the next-level designer or integrator misapplies the part, the work of Analog Devices' engineers will be largely for naught.
Unlike many engineers, I'm not an "early adopter" of new technology. I still don't have a computer at home. But when my girlfriend and I became addicted to college basketball, we purchased a 50-inch plasma TV from a company best known for PCs.
The TV generates a fair amount of acoustic noise. Of course, you can't hear it above the high ambient noise of the showroom. I suppose most people blast the sound anyway, so the acoustic noise is masked. But there's a bigger problem: Video signals couple into the audio. When listening through the cheesy internal speakers, this is a petty annoyance. But when I pipe the audio through a modest amplifier and speakers (with response down to about 35 Hz), the noise becomes intolerable. It doesn't appear to be related to cable routing or system ground loops.
The sound is great when I bypass the TV and run the satellite receiver and DVD player directly into the amplifier, which is what they do in the showroom. But my amplifier does not have remote control. And getting up to turn a knob is so 20th century. Further, the TV has a number of useful audio features (such as tone control) that make controlling the sound with the TV remote highly desirable. I've thought up several solutions that don't involve taking the 125-pound behemoth off the wall. Perhaps I'll publish the best one.
Squeezing the last 0.01 percent of THD and IMD out of an audio IC is of little value when the signal is corrupted with video buzz. The TV engineers either did not do their jobs or (more likely) weren't permitted to do their jobs.
George Woodward, Senior design engineer
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