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IBM continues to mislead. Join the conversation

IBM continues to mislead. Join the conversation
9/4/2009 06:00 PM EDT
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Ed442
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re: IBM continues to mislead. Join the conversation
Ed442   10/15/2009 11:49:51 PM
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It's amazing to see the arrogance and ignorance perpetuated by seemingly smart people on here. I know a thing or two about outsourcing since I have had responsibility for deploying the strategy. First off, developing market engineers are typically not qualified to replace a major democracy's engineers in talent and training. But put that aside. All society's have crumbled where those in a position of leadership have not sought to protect those unable to protect themselves. It is a moral obligation that our society protect itself or lose its way of life. Is that IBM management? That's arbitrary. But, it is the responsibility of our elected public officials to ensure our economic model enforces these rules. They have not. Because of that, before this crisis is over, a substantial amount of the people supporting neoliberal economic ideology on this board will more than likely lose their jobs. All of the comments miss a very important economic reality. If we allow capital to freely leave our economy in an economic model that encourages a race to the bottom of the barrel in wages and human rights, we shall soon experience a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. And I can assure you, I understand economics very, very well. That is exactly where we are headed courtesy of like-minded people who have supported policies of many posters on here. Enjoy your self-inflicted pain.

SharmaGupta
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SharmaGupta   9/18/2009 12:44:58 AM
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The USA is doomed. A million Mexicans invade every year under the fence, and millions more tech workers jump over the fence. And, corps are tossing millions of Americans into the proverbial ditch, while sending jobs by the shipload to the hordes in Eurasia. Corps have no conscience. Neither do the robots who think, the law is the law, therefore, making money is good. The Corps OWN the law! You think this tiny recession was bad? Wait until the bottom falls out. That will soon happen, since technology is racing out of the USA ... with her jobs ... and her children are growing up watching TV and doing drugs. The people here prove it: Greed rules in America. Other countries protect their own. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics rears its beautiful multi-horned head. Hear the roar of your jobs rushing over the cliff ... into the real world!

metafor
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metafor   9/16/2009 4:06:04 PM
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"As many posters pointed out, absolutely correctly, a public company has no obligations to serve public interests, and, if it makes business sense for IBM to off-shore its workforce, it should do so. However, it makes sense for the society to promote public interests. And IBM (as well as other IP companies) happens to rely on society's largesse more than most: its business crucially depends on IP protection, such as patents. And what are patents? Artificial monopolies, granted by the society, supposedly for a mutual benefit of the company and society. It's entirely within the rights of the public to decide that the public interests are not served by granting such protections to IBM, and it can protect it IP all by itself without any help from the government. I think the society should say that any company which off-shores IP creation will not get IP protection in the US. They can still do it, if it makes business sense, but they have to keep their own secrets." I'm not an IP lawyer but I think this may already be how it works. I don't believe one can file a patent with the U.S. patent office for inventions overseas. I may be wrong though and I'm sure there may be loopholes to get around this. Most companies (especially semiconductor manufacturers) don't rely on the patent system anyway -- Intel being a primary example. Most of their stuff are trade secrets kept and enforced through NDA's and such.

metafor
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metafor   9/16/2009 4:02:37 PM
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"Do companies owe anything to the communities where they are located or to the nations where they are headquartered?" Yes, but what they owe isn't loyalty. Companies located in the U.S. pay taxes for being allowed to operate. They pay their employees a salary + benefits for their service. They obey the laws of the land. It's no more or less than any individual. I pay my taxes, I use the public services and infrastructure available. IBM does the same. I don't expect IBM to be any more "loyal" to its U.S. employees than its U.S. employees are loyal to IBM; when a better offer comes up, they take it.

Dr.EDA
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Dr.EDA   9/16/2009 11:15:33 AM
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As many posters pointed out, absolutely correctly, a public company has no obligations to serve public interests, and, if it makes business sense for IBM to off-shore its workforce, it should do so. However, it makes sense for the society to promote public interests. And IBM (as well as other IP companies) happens to rely on society's largesse more than most: its business crucially depends on IP protection, such as patents. And what are patents? Artificial monopolies, granted by the society, supposedly for a mutual benefit of the company and society. It's entirely within the rights of the public to decide that the public interests are not served by granting such protections to IBM, and it can protect it IP all by itself without any help from the government. I think the society should say that any company which off-shores IP creation will not get IP protection in the US. They can still do it, if it makes business sense, but they have to keep their own secrets.

SmokeNoMore
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SmokeNoMore   9/9/2009 8:29:31 PM
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As a former IBMer and a working engineer, I don't like the prospect of seeing my job go overseas. As a consumer, I am guilty of searching for the lowest price regardless of where the product is made. I don't think I have one article of clothing that says "Made in the USA" and I am not sure I would pay extra for that label. I would be shocked if the US government mandated that I need to purchase US made products or face penalties. Mirror that behavior... Corporations are 'citizens' and they 'pay' for labor. Because corporations are run by people, they mirror our thinking - cheap labor regardless of origin. Again I don't like outsourcing but, I especially don't like government telling companies how to run their financial affairs. How does the American worker differentiate him/herself and provide extra value to the company? Will the outsourcing pendulum swing back? Do we survive by forming small, specialized shops that license/sell intellectual property to multi-national corporations?

mpd
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mpd   9/9/2009 4:03:54 PM
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Do companies owe anything to the communities where they are located or to the nations where they are headquartered? While I won't argue that companies should be forced to keep plants open forever, I do lean towards yes on this question. In addition to basic infrastructure support, governments also provide IP protection, foreign trade regulation, protection from being seized by said government, and perhaps most importantly, financial market stability. Given all these services, it seems reasonable for a government (and by extension, its citizens) to expect some "loyalty" from the corporation. There is more going on than simply investor quarterly profit. On a related sidenote, if a foreign government tried to buy IBM, the US government would block the sale. In that sense, the corporation is also protected from unwanted foreign takeover.

hardu
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hardu   9/9/2009 7:51:10 AM
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I dare to ask folks who said outsourcing is the cause of America's wealth erosion. First of all every Americans should learn that things don't come for FREE. And where were we when we were ripping cost advantages of outsourcing. I will put just one scenario. Source of outsourcing was not the cost advantage but aging population according to me. There were 76M people from baby boom era,few millions among them are employed and getting older. Would we open our immigration gates to accommodate this work force gap. Answer is definitely no. If you see early stages of outsourcing era, work which was off shored was back office work. At the same time competitive knowledge among young Americans started depleting. Corporations are not the only to blame for this mess. We have to take our responsibility too. If we're loosing our jobs then may be cost advantage is not the sole reason. We're not that competitive too. I am not saying this is the case all the times. I am not really big fan of corporate America and capitalists but this is my view. Regarding IBM i guess they don't want to invest as of now in America i guess..

tparty
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tparty   9/8/2009 6:17:14 PM
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IBM may very well be digging their own grave by outsourcing core operations, I can't argue with that. The point is that they have a right as a company to evaluate and make good business decisions; when we take away that right from a major corporation with government regulation we will make them another GM...a zombie company run primarily with political concerns on all major corporate decisions. Perhaps we can continue that journey down the path of political corporate regulation, and strive to make our economy as vibrant and dynamic as the "workers paradise" of Russia. As ex-VTer stated, 3 groups have an interest. Should we always meet all 3 groups interests? If their interests are not met...employees can quit, customers can stop buying, and shareholders can sell. Companies have to be careful not to listen to groups whose interests are a detriment to the whole. Look at Kodak and Polaroid...great companies, lots of history, destroyed by the transition to digital film. I bet they listened to most of their (films) customers, I bet they listened to most of their employees, I bet they listened to their large shareholders. All to no avail, the vested interest in their cases was to maintain the status quo. They did not navigate the fundamental business transition that needed to take place for long term success and survival. Do you think the employees of the IBM call center in NJ would care if it was in the interest of most stakeholders to shut down or outsource? I wouldn't if I were one of them, I would want to keep operating, raises for everyone (need more to pay all the NJ taxes). Do you think the employees of the India call centers would choose to NOT outsource? I'm thinking they would prefer more work and growth. The 3 stakeholders in a corporation have many subgroups, and I doubt IBM's US employees would consider that their foreign employees may fully disagree with their opinions. This is the fundamental problem with unions...they become an shrill interest group whose goal is largely to maintain the status quo of jobs and pay, regardless of whether that keeps the company competitive. They will drive the car right off the cliff rather than turn and adjust course. American workers are among the most dynamic and competitive in the world, we should not cloud that picture with job protectionism.

milosb55
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milosb55   9/8/2009 3:34:55 PM
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IBM is digging its own grave in a long run. People in India are smart and love to be independent and both are a catalists for number of todays IBM engineers in India that will in future become IBM competitors. milosb55

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