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Highlights—May 22, 2004
- San Jose Mercury News: Scientist
who testified in IBM trial withdraws article. Excerpt:
A scientist who testified at the IBM toxics trial has withdrawn a scholarly article
about cancer rates at the computer company after it warned that publication would
violate a court order. Boston University epidemiologist Richard Clapp co-wrote an article
for a medical journal analyzing IBM's employee mortality records. A judge prohibited
Clapp's analysis of that data from being introduced at the company's recent trial in
Silicon Valley. Two former employees who worked at IBM's San Jose plant sued the computer
giant, contending that they developed cancer from their exposure to toxic chemicals.
Although a Santa Clara County jury in February found in favor of IBM, the company still
faces about 200 similar lawsuits.
- Reuters, courtesy of Forbes:
to acquire some IBM assets in Asia. Excerpt: Amkor
Technology Inc., which provides semiconductor assembly
and test services to other companies, said on Monday it agreed to buy IBM's test
operations in Singapore as part of a larger pact. Amkor, based in Chandler,
Arizona, said its long-term supply agreement with International Business Machines
Corp. could generate more than $1.5 billion in assembly
and test revenue through 2010. As part of its deal to buy IBM's Singapore test operations,
Amkor will acquire control of high-end testers, related assets and employees.
- Kaiser Network: EEOC
Officials Defend Decision on Allowing Employers To End Retirees' Health Benefits Once
Eligibility for Medicare Begins. Excerpt: Responding to negative
reaction about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recent decision to allow
employers to drop retirees' health benefits once they become eligible for Medicare,
EEOC Commissioner Leslie Silverman on Monday defended the move at a hearing of the
Senate Special Committee on Aging, saying it was intended to "preserve benefits," the
Chicago Tribune reports. EEOC in April voted 3-1 to approve
a rule under which employers that reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees
who qualify for Medicare do not violate civil rights law on age discrimination. In
addition, the decision allows employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits for
retirees who qualify for state-sponsored health benefits similar to Medicare. The
decision requires approval from the Office of Management and Budget but likely will stand.
The ruling reverses EEOC's prior policy, as well as an August 2000 ruling by the
3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stating that federal law requires employers to ensure
that pre- and post-Medicare-eligible retirees receive health benefits of "equal
type and value." The EEOC said that it had the power
to make "reasonable
exemptions" in the public interest to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of
1967. Critics of the EEOC decision say
the commission "opened the door for employers to drop benefits" and note that
many company-sponsored health plans provide better benefits than Medicare, the Tribune
reports. Testifying before the Senate committee, David Certner, director of federal
affairs for AARP, said, "The fact is that companies are looking to get out of this
benefit anyway. Changing this rule will only encourage more employers to drop this benefit."
- Jim Hightower: Riches Flow
Uphill. Excerpt: Forbe's magazine's annual survey of wealth reports that there are
now 587 lucky souls living in Billionaireville, up 10 percent over the previous count.
These wealthiest of the wealthy added half a trillion dollars to their personal stash
of lucre last year. Among this group of swells are the Waltons – the reigning heirs
of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Interestingly, the company that profits by paying poverty
wages to its employees, returns a king's ransom to those at the top – Forbe's reports
that of the 10 richest people on the planet, five are Waltons, each one sitting atop
$20 billion in Wal-Mart booty. Then there are the CEOs who lavish corporate cash on
themselves. These dandys now average nearly $11 million in annual pay – even as
they downsize their workforce, cut healthcare and pensions for the people who do the
work, and ship our country's best-paying jobs off to foreign shores. ... Well, say
apologists for this system of royal pay, such is the way the free market works. Horsefeathers.
The supply of potential CEOs is huge, and the number of slots is very small, so if
the free market really was at work, CEOs would be making an honest wage. But the system
isn't honest – the pay of top bosses is set by board members hand-picked by you-know-who:
The top bosses. Money flows uphill not because of merit, but because the system is
rigged by those at the top.
- Washington Post: Study: Medicare
Favors Private Insurers. Excerpts: The Commonwealth Fund, which advocates research
on health issues, said in the study released Thursday that the government is paying
managed care plans 8.4 percent more on average than costs in traditional fee-for-service
Medicare. The difference amounts to an average of $552 more for each of the 5 million
Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in managed care plans, or a total of $2.75 billion
in 2004, the report said. ... The higher payments result from the Medicare law that
President Bush signed in December. The law gives private insurers a broader role in the
government health care program for older and disabled Americans.
- New York Times: Intel
Balks at a Request to Expense Stock Options. Excerpt: A majority
of shareholders at the Intel Corporation challenged management on a contentious issue
by backing a resolution calling for employee stock options to be treated as a normal
business expense, Intel announced Wednesday at its annual meeting. But as long as
accounting regulators permit it, the company's executives said, Intel would continue
to report stock options - fiercely defended in Silicon Valley and widely used in
technology companies as a popular form of compensation - in a way that does not show
up as a direct cost on its profit-and-loss statements.
- Washington Post: House
Panel Approves Travel Compensation, Thrift Savings Plan Changes.
Excerpt: Legislation that would give time off to federal employees who travel during
off-duty hours and would allow employees to make changes in their allotments to the
Thrift Savings Plan throughout the year has been approved by the House civil service
subcommittee. ... Under the bills, federal employees who travel on their own time
-- for example, spending Sunday on an airplane to attend a Monday morning business
meeting -- would get a chance to reclaim those hours. The House bill, however, includes
a limit on the hours that a traveler could trade for time off. The cap essentially
would limit travelers to the amount of overtime they would be eligible to collect
if they were working in their office. Travel time has been a sore point with some
federal employees for years. Current rules make it difficult for employees to qualify
for pay while traveling outside duty hours.
- Rocky Mountain News: Qwest
lays off 700 IT workers in bid to cut costs, analyst says.
Excerpt: Qwest Communications laid off up to 700 information technology employees
Tuesday, an analyst and other sources familiar with the situation said Wednesday.
The Rocky Mountain News reported two weeks ago that the nearly 46,000-employee Denver
telco was intensifying its cost-cutting efforts and could eliminate about 5,000 jobs
this year... Qwest confirmed last month it would be taking bids to possibly outsource
parts of its IT department. IBM is considered the leading candidate, followed by
Hewlett-Packard. ... Denver attorney Curtis Kennedy said he would be reviewing the
details of the layoffs on behalf of at least one laid-off worker. A "perpetual concern," Kennedy
said, is that workers within a couple of years of a full pension are laid off and
lose a substantial amount of their potential retirement benefits. "I've seen a lot
of economic suffering because of the missed opportunity to go a few more years," Kennedy
said. "These (people) are outstanding performers.
So what's the trade-off?" Two of the three employees interviewed were within a
few years of a full pension. In their severance packages, employees were provided
lists showing the hire dates and ages of others in their group being laid off.
- Forbes: Palmisano:
IBM Will Top Industry. Excerpt: IBM expects to grow more quickly
than the overall technology market as it taps into new markets, its top executive
said Wednesday, countering concerns about slowing growth. Chief Executive Officer
Samuel Palmisano said that International Business Machines Corp. , whose products
include microchips, computers and software, is targeting a $500 billion services
market that along with market share gains will allow it to grow faster than its competitors.
The services market, called business process transformation, aims to cut costs for
companies by shifting some tasks to outside providers and integrating internal operations
such as the supply chain. "We now believe that the boundaries of this industry are
- The American Prospect courtesy of AlterNet: Seducing
the AARP. Excerpt: For Gingrich, the Medicare bill is just the beginning. The former
House speaker hopes that Novelli's AARP will help him remake the entire employer-based
health-care system as well. And he has reason to be optimistic. Gingrich asked the
AARP chief to write the introduction to his new book about transforming health care,
Saving Lives and Saving Money. In it, Gingrich lambastes the current health-insurance
system, instead advocating one in which a person has "an economic interest in his
or her own health and is the primary guardian of how his or her own money is spent." Novelli
does not distance himself from Gingrich's ideas. In his foreword, he writes that "Gingrich's
ideas are influencing how we at AARP are thinking about our national role" in the
health-care debate. He says he wrote the foreword because "whether one agrees or
not with Gingrich's politics, the book has interesting and important ideas about transforming
the American health care system."... AARP is now at a crossroads. About 60,000 members
have already quit in outrage over the law, and a March USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll shows
a majority of both enrollees and the general public now opposing it. The group has given
its imprimatur to policies that will in fact cover only about 25 percent of seniors'
prescription-drug costs and prevent those who enroll from purchasing any supplemental
insurance to cover the difference. Beyond that, the law may spell the beginning of the
end for publicly financed and run health care for the elderly and will call into question
the future of employer-sponsored insurance for workers. Opposition to the measure is
likely to grow as seniors increasingly understand its provisions, which include caps
on federal Medicare payments, a voucher program, a significant boost to private insurers,
and the means testing of beneficiary payments. And their anger over the drug provisions
will likely grow as many lose generous employer and state benefits in return for bare-bones
coverage. What's more, workers are likely to feel the impact next year as employers offer
them the costly and skimpy plans allowed under the new law.
- Houston Chronicle: Security
in retirement on the menu no more. Excerpt: In 1979, the top five employers, based
on old Fortune 500 listings, were General Motors, Ford, General Electric, IT&T and
IBM. These are big companies, mostly manufacturers, with employee benefit packages
that included health insurance and defined-benefit pensions. They are models of the
corporate welfare state that emerged from World War II, where workers committed to
a lifetime of work in exchange for unmatched security. If you worked for one of these
companies for 30 years and had your act together enough to buy a house and pay it off,
your future was golden. Without ever investing a dime, the combination of a company
pension, Social Security and home appreciation assured a secure retirement. You did
the work; your company did the saving and investing. ... Most Americans, whatever their
job, are conducting their lives as though they still lived in sublime security. This
wasn't unreasonable if you worked for IBM in 1979 because there was a long history
of job security and major benefits. But IBM isn't on the employer menu today. The corporation
that takes care of you from job application to grave is history. Defined-benefit pension
plans are being closed on a regular basis. Pensions are being replaced (at best) by
401(k) plans. Today, if you aren't saving for your personal future – and
saving aggressively – you are living in an illusion.
- Vault's IBM
Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS
employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Some sample posts follow:
doesn't get it" by "Irrational_Exuberance". Full excerpt: Talked
to partner after partner who doesn't understand the depths of the discontent at the
staff level. Still act like BCS is THE place to be -- cutting edge and rewarding
to staff. No awareness of reality. It is next to impossible to motivate and retain
staff these days. Why? Because PwCC/BCS has systematically and irreversibly decoupled
performance from compensation. From the asinine across-the-board 7% pay cuts
at PwCC to the recent movement to incentive pay (another pay cut for staff since no
bonuses were paid - surprise, surprise), what in the world is supposed to motivate
anyone to work hard? It's a major cultural shift. Instead of perform, charge
a lot of hours and you will be rewarded, our current culture is perform, charge a lot
of hours and you will get nothing, or take it easy, don't work too hard, and
you will get nothing. No matter how strong the internal drive to succeed and achieve,
such a demotivating reward system will drive down performance in the end. What
a shame and a waste.
and Peanuts" by "Dose of reality". Full Excerpt: Whether there
is or ever will be a quorum of executives that realize there are serious
fundamental problems with the HR/comp policies is debatable. I do think it
is inevitable – just
a matter of when. However, it is extremely unlikely that any substantive
changes will ever be instituted. Those that are ultimately empowered to reverse
course are too far removed from the realities of staff retention. There is
the pervasive “just
make your numbers” mantra that cascades down to practice directors/ “partners”.
For the most part, the latter are too driven by concerns over their own job
retention to push back.
Behind this, you have the bean-counting and HR juggernauts
whose plans and policies are driven by static numerical analysis and a theoretical “market-based” compensation
strategy. The former gives us short-sighted cost-side decisions and accounting
gimmicks (travel/expense policy restrictions & rebates, etc), and the latter
makes incremental compensation decisions that totally disregard the impact
on staff. It is too easy to rig the assumptions and staff profile analyses
to make it appear as though we are overpaid. Also, it is one thing to assemble
a target compensation strategy if you are starting without a baseline, or any
employees, but when you add the human factor, you have to consider the incremental
impact on staff of reducing compensation below historical levels, below
informal commitments, and below expectations. Market conditions change, so basing
yearly decisions on current conditions is tantamount to the tail wagging the
dog. Staff don’t
base job decisions or motivation on how their compensation relates to a
theoretical market level, they base it on what they get for what they give.
Staff perceptions of inequity (across the board 7% cuts and minimal differentiation
in bonuses) quickly compound after multiple cycles. Ultimately compensation
policy will fail in its primary mission – to incentivize and retain staff.
But in the short term, profits increase – it’s like cheap drugs,
easy to get, makes you feel great, but poison in the long run.
None of the above characters will ever be willing to admit they made a mistake,
and the current planning philosophy is too deeply ingrained. As long as the
stock price goes up every time Sam comments on revenue growth prospects,
expect more of the same. However, it is only a matter of time before this too becomes
unsustainable. Just as inertia allows staff to accept unfavorable policy decisions
without mass desertion, once the sleeping giant of "I'm outta here" is awakened,
there is little to do to stem the tide. Management credibility is nil, and lip service
has no more value. There may be a few very isolated actions to keep "highly
valued" employees retained. However the amount of corrective action required
to compensate for the pillaging of the last four years, is far more than
they can ever offer. They have been closing the profit gap with short term
compensation reductions with no consideration of the long term impact on staff.
If you permit me the analogy, they mortgaged the future at 98% loan to value ratio
with a variable rate, and now rates are rising.
w/o Understanding" by "ancientblueconsultant". Full excerpt:
The upper management of IBM is aware of the problem but they don't understand
it or know how to cope with it. That's because their immediate staffs
have been coerced by the HR and finance staffs into telling their master/mentors
that solving interim and tactical financial pressures is more important
than doing the right things for the business in the longer term. One
of the most serious problems is the corporate image of an organization
led by greedy, immoral and indecent executives. They are really worried about that.
In one site this week, an HR VP was told in a meeting that "IBM has lost
its moral compass blinded by its greed". Big concern was that the person
who said it was one of the most senior BCS non-partner staff and influential
individual in that site. ITS is no better off, but a series of cuts
planned there for early June has slowed the exodus while people wait
to see if they get laid off. By July-August we will see a much smaller,
talent starved IGS unable to do much other than barely respond to RFP's
and jut be a project manager type of integrator. Watch for the sale
of entire industry units in BCS or technology groups in ITS to be sold
off to partners. The SMB services model margin conundrum has begun. That's why
brother Joyce has arrived, my fellow colleagues.
- New York Times: United
Methodist Church Bucks the Trend on Employee Pensions. Excerpt: ore than 17,000 employers
in the United States have discontinued their traditional pension plans in the last
10 years. Countless others have scaled them back. Such pensions, with their promise
of guaranteed, gold watch-to-grave income, are considered by many companies to be too
costly and cumbersome, and it is only a matter of time before they disappear completely.
Now, though, one big employer is resisting the tide. Earlier this month, the United
Methodist Church voted at its quadrennial meeting to start an old-fashioned, defined-benefit
pension plan for its 25,000 American pastors and lay employees - the very type of plan
that so many companies have scuttled. The United Methodist Church appears to be the
first sizable employer to create such a pension plan in many years. The church has
about $12 billion in other types of retirement plans, putting it on a par with big
pension-plan sponsors like Bank of America and Dow Chemical. The Methodists' new plan
will cover about as many people as the one that R. J. Reynolds runs for its employees
in the United States. ... He said he told skeptics that the only way to offer long-term
financial security to pastors was to create a pension plan. "Otherwise you're putting
all the risk on the participant," he said. "They've got everything to gain,
but they're also at the risk of losing."
- Center for American Progress: The
$47 Million Retiree Sellout. How White House/GOP donors bought a Medicare bill
that lets them cut health benefits. Excerpt: On Oct. 29, 2003, President Bush reassured
seniors that "corporations have no intention to what they call dump retirees" from
their existing drug coverage after the Medicare bill passed. But according to the
Wall Street Journal, the White House and its allies in Congress added "a little-noticed
provision" to the law which rewards companies with a tax subsidy even if they
reduce retirees' existing drug coverage. In effect, the provision creates a financial
incentive to reduce retiree benefits. The Wall Street Journal notes that the provision
was pushed primarily by a group called the "Employers' Coalition on Medicare" – an
organization made up of corporations that have given President Bush and the RNC
more than $47 million since 2000. These same corporations stand to profit from
the provision. And it appears at least 10 of them (representing tens of thousands
of workers) are have either tried in the past or are trying to slash retiree benefits.
These 10 companies, which include 3M, AT&T, Bank of America, DaimlerChrysler, GM,
IBM, and Verizon, have alone given more than $17 million.
- Washington Post: Shifting
Drug Prices Muddy Medicare Card Choice. Excerpt: As the
June 1 launch date for the Medicare discount drug card program nears, millions
of elderly and disabled Americans are grappling with a bewildering array of choices.
Enrollees can select only one card and can switch cards only once. So participants
are scrambling to find the one card that offers the best prices for the drugs they
take. But the card sponsors and drug manufacturers have made that task nearly impossible
as prices are changing even before the program has begun, say patient advocacy
- Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD): CAFOD
report: dire working conditions in computer production. Excerpt: CAFOD has proof
that electronic workers in Mexico, Thailand and China suffer harassment, discrimination
and intolerable working conditions. The workers produce parts that end up in
the computers of companies such as Hewlett Packard, Dell and IBM. ... CAFOD saw
interview lists used by recruitment agencies supplying workers for an IBM production
line. Reasons for rejection included: “Homosexual, more than two tattoos, father
is a lawyer, has brought labour claims, worked for a union, pregnancy, does not
agree with IBM policies.” ... Once employed, workers face long shifts on low
pay in illegal short-term contracts that lack holidays, health, pension, and
employment benefits. One worker at an IBM factory said she was even refused time
off when her father died. One of the main problems is that workers face blacklisting
if they complain. Days after three Guadalajara workers spoke to CAFOD about their
treatment, they were fired.
- Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD): Poll
shows lack of knowledge on electronics working conditions. Excerpt: “Clean Up Your Computer”, a new
CAFOD report, exposes the dire working conditions in computer production in the
developing world. It shows electronic workers in countries like Mexico, Thailand
and China suffering harassment, discrimination and intolerable working conditions.
They were producing parts that end up in computers of companies such as Hewlett
Packard, Dell and IBM. The CAFOD report reveals how these high-tech goods are often
made in unsafe factories, with compulsory overtime, wages below the legal minimum,
and degrading treatment. ... CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns, Alison Marshall, said, “Many
people believe computers are produced in some Silicon Valley Utopia. But CAFOD’s
report shows that it is often people working in appalling conditions in developing
countries who make brand name computers. ... “CAFOD believes brand leaders Hewlett
Packard, Dell, and IBM have a responsibility to adopt and to implement effectively
codes of conduct based on internationally recognised standards.”
- Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD): Campaigners
celebrate as IBM unveil code of conduct. Excerpt: IBM has adopted a code of conduct
for their suppliers following CAFOD’s campaign on dire working conditions in computer factories in
the developing world. Katherine Astill, CAFOD's policy analyst welcomed the announcement
by IBM but said "All
three market leaders [in the electronics industry] must still improve their codes." ...
CAFOD Policy Analyst Katherine Astill said, "This is a great achievement for
CAFOD’s campaigners who have sent thousands of messages to IBM. The IBM code
is roughly as good as the codes of other industry leaders Dell and Hewlett Packard.
It is definitely a move in the right direction." On certain issues, such as putting
in place limits of 60 hours per week for workers and guaranteeing employees a day
off per week, IBM now leads the field. ... But CAFOD regrets the failings of the
IBM code. There is an absence of any provision on the right to join unions, there
is a limitation on wage commitments to local law, and an ‘exceptional circumstance’ caveat
on the 60 hours per week commitment. CAFOD is hopeful for greater levels of dialogue
with IBM. CAFOD partners, who have knowledge and experience on issues affecting
workers in IBM’s supply chain
in Mexico and China, could play a vital part as the codes are rolled out. ... What
can you do now? We now need to ensure that IBM’s pledge is properly implemented
so that conditions for workers in factories in Mexico, China really do improve.
Write to IBM to keep up the pressure! Please send an e-card to IBM asking them
to monitor and implement their code of conduct.
|Coverage on H1-B and L1 Visa and Off-Shoring
- Hindustan Times: Bush
campaign ran from Noida call centre. Excerpt: The political split in the US over
outsourcing notwithstanding, till very recently the fund-raising and vote-seeking
campaign for the Republican Party was done partly out of India. And this was
handled by two call centres located in our own friendly neighbourhood in Noida
and Gurgaon. For 14 months between May 16, 2002 and July 22, 2003, HCL BPO Services — the
100 per cent-owned subsidiary of Shiv Nadar-promoted HCL Technologies — had
some 125 agents working in seven teams soliciting financial contributions for
the Republican Party. US presidential elections are slated for November 2004.
The mandate for the teams was to mobilise support for President George W. Bush
and solicit political contributions ranging between $5 and $3,000 from lakhs
of registered Republican voters. The voters’ database was provided by the
Republican National Committee (RNC), the party’s premier political organisation.
But the million-dollar question is why was the contract called off?
Insiders say the growing resentment in the US audiences against
outsourcing to India and strong reactions from Democratic Presidential
candidate John Kerry were at the root of capping the contract. The
anti-outsourcing lobby within the Republicans also had a hand in ending
the contract, insiders divulged. But according to HCL sources one
consideration was non-viability in the last few months after having
covered most voters from the RNC database.
- Computerworld: Forrester
adjusts outsourcing numbers upward.
Research firm expects 830,000 jobs to be sent overseas through 2005; number
will rise to 3.4 million by 2015. Excerpt: Forrester Research Inc. says the number
of jobs moving offshore is accelerating in the short term, and it now expects
that 830,000 jobs will move offshore by the end of 2005. That's a 40% increase
from a previous estimate made by the Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm.
... One of the reasons for this short-term surge is the political backlash over offshore
work. In a twist of the public relations adage that any publicity is good publicity,
the political furor has "increased the awareness of offshore outsourcing, and increased
the awareness of the value of offshore outsourcing," said Forrester analyst Stephanie
Moore. Other factors contributing to the short-term acceleration are the expanding
range of offshore options to other tasks beyond application development and
maintenance, such as infrastructure support, and growing use of business-process outsourcing.
Moreover, U.S.-based companies such as IBM and Accenture are rapidly expanding
- Washington Post: Outsourcing:
Come Sail Away With IT. Excerpt: Meanwhile, Indian outsourcing firms Satyam, Wipro,
and Infosys are offering more IT services to U.S.-based companies, including
cybersecurity tasks that give them a bigger piece of the funding pie, the study
indicated. And more reasons why outsourcing isn't going away, according to Forrester. "Customer
and competitive pressure have caused services and technology vendors like IBM
and Accenture to expand operations in India, China, and the Philippines. These two
companies alone plan to add close to 9,000 jobs in India by the end of 2005," the
study found. The study also noted that India will have new outsourcing competitors,
including Vietnam and North Africa (Forrester lists China too, though it seems
China is already well entrenched on the outsourcing bandwagon). Forrester has planned
a morning press conference on its outsourcing findings.
- Computerworld: Lieberman
calls for new outsourcing ideas.
He called offshore outsourcing 'the tip of an economic iceberg'. Excerpt: Lieberman,
who made a run for the presidency this year, called offshore outsourcing "the
tip of an economic iceberg" that could spell trouble for the U.S. if not addressed.
In his white paper, he tried to carve out a compromise between the "do-nothing" politicians
who argue that offshore outsourcing is good for the economy and the "do-everything" politicians
trying to put up trade barriers. A summary of the white paper is available
online. Under the "do-nothing" approach, high-paying jobs will continue
to move overseas, Lieberman said. The average annual salary for a U.S. software
programmer is about $64,000, whereas programmers in India, China, Poland
and some other countries make under $10,000 a year, he said. Meanwhile, U.S.
corporate spending on R&D
outside the U.S. rose from $4.6 billion in 1986 to $17.5 billion in 2000. Lieberman
called the offshore outsourcing of R&D "stunning." ...
- ZDNet: Does election fallout
bode ill for India tech? Excerpt: A change of governments
in India rattled financial markets there, but analysts said it will do little
to stem the tide of technology jobs being outsourced to the populous nation. "The
trend toward offshoring in (information technology) is so powerful and has
such momentum that I don't think there is going to be any immediate impact," said
Marc Hebert, executive vice president at Sierra Atlantic, a company that helps
large businesses manage enterprise applications from software makers such as
PeopleSoft and SAP. ... Despite the prominent role of IT in India's economy,
some say the ousted leaders gave technology too much attention. Political commentators
have attributed Naidu's rout to his singular attention to the tech industry
at the expense of the development of rural areas. While the software industry
is definitely seen as a plus, its benefits may not have been broad enough to
affect a significant number of the 300 million or more Indians who voted in
last week's elections, said Sridar Iyengar, president of the Silicon Valley
chapter of TIE (formerly The Indus Entrepreneurs but now called Talent, Ideas and
Enterprise), a nonprofit entrepreneurship organization started a decade ago by local
tech workers of Indian origin.
"I think the election has more to do with the distribution of the riches generated
by the tech industry...rather than any effort to curtail the tech sector