The U.S. computer industry is dying and I’ll tell you exactly who is killing it and why

18326481-empty-computer-room-abandoned-building-basement-sf-old-mintThis is my promised third column in a series about the effect of H-1B visa abuse on U.S. technology workers and ultimately on the U.S. economy. This time I want to take a very high-level view of the problem that may not even mention words like “H-1B” or even “immigration,” replacing them with stronger Anglo-Saxon terms like “greed” and “indifference.” The truth is that much (but not all) of the American technology industry is being led by what my late mother would have called “assholes.” And those assholes are needlessly destroying the very industry that made them rich. It started in the 1970s when a couple of obscure academics created a creaky logical […]

Disney’s IT troubles go beyond H-IBs

DisneyLetterDisney has been in the news recently for firing its Orlando-based IT staff, replacing them with H-1B workers primarily from India, and making severance payments to those displaced workers dependent on the outgoing workers training their foreign replacements. I regret not jumping on this story earlier because I heard about it back in March, but an IT friend in Orlando (not from Disney) said it was old news so I didn’t follow-up. Well now I am following with what will eventually be three columns not just about this particular event but what it says about the U.S. computer industry, which is not good.

First we need some context for this […]

Autodesk’s John Walker explained HP and IBM in 1991

autodeskcoverOne reader of this column in particular has been urging me to abandon for a moment my obsession with IBM and look, instead, at his employer — Hewlett Packard. HP, he tells me, suffers from all the same problems as IBM while lacking IBM’s depth and resources. And he’s correct: HP is a shadow of its former self and probably doomed if it continues to follow its current course. I’ve explained some of this before in an earlier column, and another, and another you might want to re-read. More of HP’s problems are covered in a very fine presentation you can read here. Were […]

AWS shows Cloud is NOT a high-margin business

AWSearningsLast week Amazon.com was the first of the large cloud service companies other than Rackspace to finally break out revenue and expenses for its cloud operation. The market was cheered by news that Amazon Web Services (AWS) last quarter made an operating profit of $265 million with an operating profit margin of 19.6 percent. AWS, which many thought was running at break-even or possibly at a loss, turns out to be for Amazon a $5 billion business generating a third of the company’s total profits. That’s good, right? Not if it establishes a benchmark for typical-to-good cloud service provider performance. In fact it suggests that some companies — IBM […]

The Indiana Pi Bill, Ellen Pao, and IBM

IBMjapancoverThe Indiana Legislature is in the news for passing a state law considered by many to be anti-gay. It reminded me of the famous Pi Bill — Bill #246 of the 1897 Indiana General Assembly. There’s a good account of the bill on Wikipedia, but the short story is a doctor and amateur mathematician wanted the state to codify his particular method of squaring the circle, a side effect of which would be officially declaring the value of π to be 3.2.

The bill was written by Representative Taylor I. Record, sent to the Education Committee where it passed, went back to the Indiana House of Representatives where it […]