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Current Topic: Tech Industry

Losing Our Edge?
Topic: Tech Industry 9:47 am EDT, Apr 22, 2004

I was just out in Silicon Valley, checking in with high-tech entrepreneurs about the state of their business. I wouldn't say they were universally gloomy, but I did detect something I hadn't detected before: a real undertow of concern that America is losing its competitive edge vis-à-vis China, India, Japan and other Asian tigers.

And what is the Bush strategy? Let's go to Mars. Hello?

Losing Our Edge?

RealNetworks Seeks a Musical Alliance With Apple (or Else!)
Topic: Tech Industry 9:17 am EDT, Apr 15, 2004

RealNetworks made a direct appeal last week to Apple Computer, its Internet music rival, suggesting that the two companies to create a "tactical alliance" to form a common front against Microsoft in the digital music business.

But if an alliance with Apple could not be struck, Real might be forced to form a partnership with Microsoft.

"Why is Steve afraid of opening up the iPod?" asked CEO Rob Glaser.

RealNetworks Seeks a Musical Alliance With Apple (or Else!)

Does IT Matter?
Topic: Tech Industry 10:36 pm EDT, Apr  8, 2004

Nick Carr's book-length version of the infamous HBR article is due out some time this month. Add it to your shopping cart when you pick up The Confusion.

On second thought, forget it -- don't waste your time.

IT doesn't matter.

In May 2003, I published the article "IT Doesn’t Matter" in the Harvard Business Review. Called "the rhetorical equivalent of a 50 megaton smart bomb," the article challenged the conventional wisdom that information technology has become increasingly important as a strategic weapon in business.

Since then the debate over my ideas has only intensified.

In this book, I offer a deeper analysis ...; I lay out a new framework ...; I examine other sources of advantage.

Does IT Matter?

Realities Make 'Offshoring' Hard to Swallow
Topic: Tech Industry 1:38 am EDT, Apr  7, 2004

If you peel back the arguments in favor of offshoring, what you finally end up with is an article of faith -- faith that history will repeat itself and the US economy will quickly generate enough new jobs in higher-paying industries to compensate for the ones lost to trade. What I've yet to see, however, is even a educated guess as to what those jobs might be.

To me, the 'debate' on the issue of 'offshoring' seems beside the point. It is an inevitable reality. The way ahead is to develop coping mechanisms -- strategies that enable economies worldwide to thrive in this new environment. Those who cast the challenge as a zero-sum game are expressing a defeatist attitude. "Slow down" is not a convincing strategy, either.

If the supposed utopia of the critics is a world in which all Americans simply keep the jobs they have today, indefinitely, while Indians, Chinese, and others are locked out of the information age, then I'm not interested. How is that progress? Do you think the Indians and the Chinese will settle for that?

I'm puzzled to think that anyone would both oppose offshoring and also disagree with Bill Joy. Does anyone agree with Bill Joy but have no trouble with offshoring?

But as Princeton University economist William Baumol and Ralph Gomory, IBM's former research director, point out in an intriguing new book, there are now many industries in which competition is imperfect because entry by new firms is virtually impossible.

Does anyone know what book he's talking about? The only thing I can find is a book from 2000/2001 entitled, "Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests," from MIT Press, which has been cited elsewhere in this debate. People seem to call it a 'new book' repeatedly, despite the publication date. Who refers to a four year old book (especially one on global trade) as "new"? Would you refer to George Bush as our "newly" elected president?

Realities Make 'Offshoring' Hard to Swallow

A Tale of Two Cities | Fortune
Topic: Tech Industry 11:30 pm EDT, Apr  4, 2004

From techie to truck driver in Silicon Valley. From tea broker to techie in Bangalore. The wave of jobs heading offshore causes wrenching loss -- and produces enticing gains.

Some people give up on tech, but other fired techies are steeled by adversity.

In Bangalore the job-gainers are proud of their upward climb and eager to keep on advancing, echoing sentiments of the American Dream.

At VMoksha in Bangalore, Sohraib Italia, 41, has made a steep climb up the economic ladder. His father was the chief financial officer of a jute products manufacturer. He now earns five times as much as his father did a generation ago.

Michael Huston, 59, thought his job at Hewlett-Packard in Cupertino was safe. ... Home Depot told him he was overqualified.

Ravi Trivedi, 29, works full time for HP in Bangalore. Though both of his parents are professors at famous universities, Trivedi earns more than their paychecks combined.

American innovation sparked the job flight now hurting America. And now India has to watch its back.

A Tale of Two Cities | Fortune

Wipro's World-Class Ambitions
Topic: Tech Industry 4:27 pm EST, Mar 21, 2004

eWeek: What is your advice to a student considering studying engineering? Will there be a job at graduation?

Paul: "My view is that anyone who thinks that technology is done is just crazy. The amount of innovation yet to happen is mind-boggling. ... So, the question would be not what should I do as a student, but what are our government leaders doing to make sure the country will have a stable economy?"

eWeek: And your advice for the 40-year-old engineer here in Silicon Valley whose job has been outsourced?

Paul: "Make sure that you are quickly getting yourself into arenas that are, in fact, pushing the edge of innovation. If your job involves sitting in a cubicle and not talking to anyone else, you are at risk. Get yourself into a role that is more attached to the customers or suppliers and is on the cutting edge of innovation."

Are you feeling "boxed in" by your work environment?

Wipro's World-Class Ambitions

Most Siemens Software Jobs Moving East
Topic: Tech Industry 8:52 am EST, Feb 17, 2004

Siemens will move most of the 15,000 software programming jobs from its offices in the United States and Western Europe to India, China and Eastern Europe.

Always look on the bright side of life; at least Americans and Germans (business executives, though not the populace) are once again in full agreement on a major issue of social, economic, and political significance.

Most Siemens Software Jobs Moving East

Getting a Job in the Valley Is Easy, if You're Perfect
Topic: Tech Industry 12:17 am EST, Nov 20, 2003

As the economy bounces back, even Silicon Valley's job market is showing signs of revival. But it has a long way to go. Employers are being extremely picky, the few jobs being offered pay less than they once did, and they do not come with the bountiful benefits and sterling opportunities of the 1990's boom, job seekers say.

"They give you a list of the 30 things they want, and if you're not an identical match, they move on immediately."

"One of the current favorite tricks of companies is to say, 'We're laying off you, and you, and you. Now you, you get to keep your job, but you have to go to India or teach a bunch of Indians your job.'"

Based on the pull-quote above, one could easily confuse this with an article about Friendster, Tickle, or

Getting a Job in the Valley Is Easy, if You're Perfect

High-Tech Jobs Are Going Abroad! But That's Okay
Topic: Tech Industry 2:16 am EST, Nov  5, 2003

There's good news and not-so-good news in the American workplace. The economy is growing, but high-tech jobs have not come back.

Lots of people are worried about it. The fear is understandable. The trend isn't surprising.

So why don't I believe the outsourcing of high-tech work is something to lose sleep over?

Our economic future is wedded to technological change, and most of the jobs of the future are still ours to invent.

This op-ed by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich appeared in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post.

High-Tech Jobs Are Going Abroad! But That's Okay

Who'll develop tech's 'next big thing'?
Topic: Tech Industry 2:14 am EST, Nov  5, 2003

The high-tech industry is waiting for the Next Big Thing to revive the economy, but when it does arrive, it may not come from the United States, Canada or Western Europe.

Developments are more likely to be in Bangalore, Karachi, Beijing, St. Petersburg and Manila.

Ed Yourdon: "I think that many of the jobs that are shifting overseas now from the United States are never coming back. That's particularly true for the low-end IT jobs."

Who'll develop tech's 'next big thing'?

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