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IBM Tries To Patent Offshoring

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the riaa-business-method dept.

IBM 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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242 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395287)

i have outsource this post!

Don't freetards like working for free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396639)

So this has got to be a boost then!! Actually getting paid?? Whodathunk//

This is just ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395325)

The US patent system is just broken!!

Re:This is just ridiculous (4, Funny)

thhamm (764787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395541)

yes much better in soviet russia, there patents offshore IBM!

Sad state of the world we now live in... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Sad state of the world we now live in... (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396251)

of course everything is broken. but noone wants to admit it (especially you, you ac). it's safer to at least *try* to win the competition than to really challenge it in itself.

I hope it works (4, Funny)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395823)

and IBM charge a ridiculous fee for those buisness that want to "use" this patent.

Re:I hope it works (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396511)

then we should wish they get this patent and actually charge other businesses ridiculously for outsourcing; most of us don't work for IBM anyway, so IBM will help you keep your job. go IBM!

The best patent on the planet!

Won't get that far (1)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396665)

2 words: Prior Art

Re:This is just ridiculous (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396307)

The Bilski case outlaws buisness methods meaning this will be denied by the patent office.

Relax (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395331)

I'm sure they're just patenting this so others can't. Otherwise it would be just ... evil.

Re:Relax (4, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Relax (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395665)

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 (3, Informative)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395731)

Looked at the trade deficit lately?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USTrade1991-2005.png [wikipedia.org]

Re:Relax (2, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#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".

Re:Relax (1)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396229)

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.

Re:Relax (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396527)

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:Relax (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396195)

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 trade deficit doesn't really prove that a 14 trillion dollar economy is rotten to the core (but I would agree that there are lots of problems).

Re:Relax (4, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Relax (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396843)

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 living, their wages will be as much as ours, and outsourcing won't be a problem.

Re:Relax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395863)

huh? so it's fine if people in other countries lose their jobs to another country, as long as the job isn't stolen from the US?

Re:Relax (0)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395405)

Otherwise it would be just ... evil.

Everything MS knows about business they learned from IBM up until OS/2.

Re:Relax (0)

Cally (10873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395605)

Oh, right, I see; that's a relief! If I thought that IBM might be about to corner the market in stabbing hard-working employees in the back before pitching them over the side, I'd be concerned about the future of western civilisation. Now I can sleep easy, secure in the knowledge that they will cross-license it to all comers. Hoorah! for the market.

Re:Relax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395845)

They should make a law that you can't try to patent something when you know the patent is invalid.

That would stop these 'protective patents' from ever appearing.

Patent naming outsourced? (1)

jperl (1453911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395335)

Seems that IBM outsourced the naming of the patent. "Resource sourcing" sounds quite funny.

Title way too sweeping (5, Informative)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#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".

What wasn't in the summary (5, Informative)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:What wasn't in the summary (1, Insightful)

HanzoSpam (713251) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395801)

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

Re:What wasn't in the summary (5, Insightful)

Mr. Sanity (1161283) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

How many years has it been? (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395399)

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.

Re:How many years has it been? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395429)

India is on the brink of a revolution.

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

Re:How many years has it been? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395549)

Africa? bullshit. Indians look like niggers but they're actually asian. that's why they're good at following directions, reading from a script, etc. Put a nigger on the other end of a tech support and if he bothers showing up for work, he'll probably spend all day trying to get laid with the fat white women that call in for help with their printers.

Re:How many years has it been? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395637)

Someone mod this Insightful. Guy is completely spot on.

Re:How many years has it been? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396769)

Indians are smarter than nigs, but it's unfair to call Indians proper Asians because Indians are much stinkier than nigs are. In contrast, the Japanese natrurally don't have B.O. and their military rejects those who do.

Indians tend to think that they'll be totally alpha if they eat the stinkiest things possible(chutney and curry for starters) and then never bathe while they sleep in their own urine. Most cats enjoys baths more than Indians do, and Africans at least go bathe in the river once in awhile.

But the final and most unifying point to make is that it's all fine and dandy as long as you don't have to work with either one.

Re:How many years has it been? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396065)

Word. You know that when you call tech support and a guy named Jamaal answers the phone, you're gonna spend a long day not getting your problem fixed.

Re:How many years has it been? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396601)

Africa? bullshit. Indians look like niggers but they're actually asian. that's why they're good at following directions, reading from a script, etc. Put a nigger on the other end of a tech support and if he bothers showing up for work, he'll probably spend all day trying to get laid with the fat white women that call in for help with their printers.

He? He'll? -> It. It'll

Re:How many years has it been? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395765)

Interestingly enough, there is good reason to blame American labor unions for not moving the bulk of their efforts to China, India, etc. [blogspot.com]

Re:How many years has it been? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395967)

Yeah, I have always been amazed that Unions are NOT pushing it everywhere. They take the attitude that 3rd world countries can not compete and are unimportant. Yet, it is EXACTLY where they SHOULD be. The west is overall OK (not great, but OK). But workers in China, India, Brazil, etc are treated horribly and subjected to horrible environmental conditions. If the unions would even push a LOW MINIMUM HOURLY WAGE, it would make a difference to the world.

Re:How many years has it been? (0)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396555)

Yeah, sure. Maybe YOU would like to go and organize a union in China.

Have fun when the commies start tearing your fingernails out and sell your kidneys.

Re:How many years has it been? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396759)

Ummm... isn't that exactly the sort of treatment the unions had to face in the U.S. when they first started?

What's different now?

Now all unions want to fight for is a fifteen minute break every ten minutes. What happened to the spirit of "we shall overcome?"

If they actually cared about American jobs, they would be going to China and doing what needs to be done. Period.

Re:How many years has it been? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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:How many years has it been? (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:How many years has it been? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396749)

Who do you think was getting the short end of the stick when the western world was going around colonising the rest of the world and pillaging their resources?

Re:How many years has it been? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396879)

The revolution is yet to come - India has a social problem that is it's achilles heel.

Countries with ever increasing populations cannot sustain economic growth to the exclusion of the many. India does not have a solid birth control program in place.

Unlike the US, India is a feudal culture, one that tends not to practice the meritocracy common in Western countries.

The American spirit is far superior to anything in the world. It is this spirit that continues to produce remarkable leaders (every so often) that make America better.

Over the next 100 years watch the US adjust to new realities. We will demand it of our politicians and get it.

All this huffing and puffing about H1Bs and outsourcing is a temporary phenomenon - until such time as Americans adjust to the new reality - and begin to compete head-to-head.

This reality check has been sorely needed, because Americans have forgotten they are better off working together to get what they want so their kids have a better life.

For now, watch IBM take the next step, sooner or later, and move it's headquarters to a jurisdiction with no taxes. The 'I' in IBM will finally mean what it says.

The thing about IBM (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395409)

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.

Re:The thing about IBM (5, Insightful)

Sheik Yerbouti (96423) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395757)

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.

Re:The thing about IBM (4, Interesting)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:The thing about IBM (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396079)

You should list what those numbers are as percentages of their total workforce. It would be interesting.

Re:The thing about IBM (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396661)

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

Re:The thing about IBM (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396773)

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?

Re:The thing about IBM (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396777)

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.

Re:The thing about IBM (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396051)

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.

Re:The thing about IBM (3, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396613)

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:The thing about IBM (2, Interesting)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395767)

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?

Re:The thing about IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395809)

Why would I want to CATCH SARS?

Re:The thing about IBM (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395849)

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.

Jumped the gun? (2, Insightful)

gollito (980620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395417)

I think somebody jumped the gun on this one. April fools anyone?

Re:Jumped the gun? (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395719)

MOD PARENT UP. /. got rolled.

Re:Jumped the gun? (1)

Froboz23 (690392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396011)

No, this is real. You can search for patent application 20090083107 directly from the US Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO isn't known for their sense of humor.

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html [uspto.gov]

Application #20090083107 (3, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395431)

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...

Re:Application #20090083107 (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395487)

Looks to me like a five digit number with the year dropped in front.

Re:Application #20090083107 (1)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395527)

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.

Re:Application #20090083107 (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396357)

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.

exterminate, exterminate... beep. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395435)

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

Re:exterminate, exterminate... beep. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396245)

If you are courteous enough to use lubrication, you might as well do it right and use something water based.

I.B.M (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396581)

U.B.M

We all B.M. for I.B.M.

Bullet dodging armor (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395447)

Now we know why IBM was working on this. [slashdot.org] Let's face it, you don't fuck over that many people without winding up with somebody gunning for you. Being an IBM executive in this country sure isn't going to get you much love for a long, long time to come.

Re:Bullet dodging armor (1)

HanzoSpam (713251) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395641)

Now we know why IBM was working on this. [slashdot.org] Let's face it, you don't fuck over that many people without winding up with somebody gunning for you. Being an IBM executive in this country sure isn't going to get you much love for a long, long time to come.

I'm all for letting them leave. That's probably the first original idea they've had in over a decade. Seriously, when was the last time they introduced a product the invented themselves, rather than buying? Get 'em outta here. Give the newer companies a chance to succeed without getting swallowed up and dismantled by the IBM and Microsoft type companies.

Bad Timing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395459)

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

for the win (5, Interesting)

Xenious (24845) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395483)

Maybe if we let IBM patent it then everyone else will stop doing it?

Re:for the win (1)

simplexion (1142447) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395703)

Now that would be awesome!

Re:for the win (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395895)

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.

This provides for an entirely new strategy (4, Funny)

pugugly (152978) | more than 5 years ago | (#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

Its a defensive patent... (1, Troll)

Snotman (767894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395555)

to be used against unscrupulous companies that use offshoring to lower operations costs that are incurred by over-paid US engineers, programmers, and HR(aren't they dirt cheap anyway?).

It is like patenting slavery (3, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395619)

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.

Re:It is like patenting slavery (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395865)

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 to pay competing wages for the same terrible service? Nope. They'll be off to find another country to exploit. So the workers might be reluctant..after all, working 12 hours a day to stay fed and clothed is better than working 0 hours a day and starving.

Re:It is like patenting slavery (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396145)

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 people who were here a few months or years ago, who are now replaced by the lower-wage person thousands of miles away.
There is something wrong.
Spreading the wealth around the world is not the wrong thing, just as helping a new worker, no matter where they are, is not the wrong thing.
The wrong thing is dumping the existing good person because of the wage difference (or labor law difference, or environmental law difference), and leaving any responsibility or accountability for them behind.
Is Capitalism another way of never having to say you're sorry?

Re:It is like patenting slavery (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396615)

The only reason this system works is because of immense and egregious human rights abuses in these countries, lack of pollution and resource depletion/renewal regulation.

India has one of the highest amount of child malnourishment [bbc.co.uk] in the world. This has actually increased since engineering offshoring began in earnest so the idea of wealth redistribution occurring between countries raising the standard of living in general is wrong.

China has half of its people living in poverty while allowing kleptocracies in Hong Kong and in mainland China to run rampant. Children in some factory towns are being born with 10x the amount of lead the World Health Organization says can lead to permanent brain damage because mothers in these factories making American crap are forced to work well into their 8th month of preganancy around dangerous chemicals inside the factory and breathe the air and drink the water that is polluted from them when at home.

IF the price of what it is going to cost to clean up these countries after we exploit them for labor and resources and a premium were put upon the human rights of those workers than the US and Europe would like a pretty good deal economically. Instead we have allowed the proponents of free-market capitalism to be treated as if their word was inviolate and any argument against them to be treated as an act of treason against the US way of life. Well maybe the US way of life should0 be held accountable for a lot of the mess we are in today and those whom some would of considered prophets when they made predictions about the way globalization would be hindered if we enforced 1st world environmental, human and worker's rights on 3rd world countries has brought us to this dire impasse where the rights of billions are being ransomed for the privileges of millions.

Re:It is like patenting slavery (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396395)

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 producing things of value, there will be no problem competing with China and India. So what if IBM wants to help India produce more things of value? The more people are producing, then the more valuable stuff there is for all of us to have.

Re:It is like patenting slavery (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396573)

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.

Re:It is like patenting slavery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396793)

Not sure where you pulled that out of. India has had very organized and very powerful labor unions for the last 60 years or more. And organized labor in India is required to offer retirement and other benefits through a goverment mandated and controlled "Provident Fund" for many years now.
The problem is the lack of jobs compared to the population. For the people that do have proper jobs, the conditions are not really worse off like you make it out to be!

Bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395621)

The application only published on March 26. It was filed in 2007. Note to anyone posting a patent or application: scroll down, please.

Also, the link to the patent office in the summary doesn't work for me.

Solving US unemployement, one patent a time (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395627)

Too bad someone will give some prior art example as soon IBM try to enforce it.

Journalistic integrity, FFS (5, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Journalistic integrity, FFS (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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

Re:Journalistic integrity, FFS (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396517)

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."

Re:Journalistic integrity, FFS (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396161)

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

Okay, really? (2, Funny)

coppro (1143801) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Okay, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396847)

Hmmm, maybe SCO can get in on this too!

Tariffs (5, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395673)

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:Tariffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396799)

Great idea. Then foreign software companies could charge much less for software since they wouldn't be liable for the tax and therefore be given a leg up on US software companies. Protectionism doesn't work.

Re:Tariffs (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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...

transfer overseas (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27395677)

> 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.

well, they did perfect it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27395935)

I'll bet a paycheck that IBM are some of the original H1B lobbyers

Hope in Obama (1)

edivad (1186799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396183)

I really hope Obama will keep up on what he promised during the campaign, and take proper action towards companies the privilege outsourcing their jobs.

Economic Terrorism (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396217)

IBM and other companies that are affiliated with Wall Street are nothing better than economic terrorist.

Dear IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396285)

Dear IBM,

I have no idea what part of my business is most important to me. Please take my money and make recommendations as to what part of my business I'm going to outsource to you. Please understand that I really don't know where in the world gives the best value for performing the sort of tasks I'll be outsourcing. Kindly inform me as to whether I should be giving you money to outsource in a third world country, or whether I should be giving you more money to have you do this work for me in a first world country.

Please get back to me at the earliest, this money is burning a hole in my pocket.

Regards,
Management

this post has arrived (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396335)

..two days early.

Yest, it is that much ridiculous that I doubt we'll have something better for the Fool's day.

Not too suprising to me (1)

nitro77 (1454233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396535)

I worked for a large semiconductor company in the R&D group. We had top Phd's from around the world. Some of the Phds would sit in their office and only write patents. They would receive $10,000 bonus for each patent that was granted. This bonus applied to anyone in the company. I know of at least one case where a lowly tech support person received a bonus.

Companies make very much money on patents. My predecessor had to restore five year old tape backups to help win a case in court. The case was worth hundreds of millions plus license fees.

I am sure that IBM also have patent incentives. If the patents lawyers think they can get money, they will submit the patent.

didnt IBM get the note? (1)

scientus (1357317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396677)

This is a post-Bilski [wikipedia.org] world. This shit is invalid.

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