Outsourcing, Telco Act, Microsoft & SCO

Not a day without yet another part of our existence becoming virtualised. For US$14.95 a month, plus US$5.95, you get to fire ten 22-calibre shots, all without leaving your computer. True or not? Well, it's the internet. Correspondence as to the merits of adding Managers to the species available for hunting will not be entered into.

Top Stories

- How our jobs were outsourced

- Telco Act tweaking futile?

- Microsoft goes SCO

- The abstracted life

Not a day without yet another part of our existence becoming virtualised. For US$14.95 a month, plus US$5.95, you get to fire ten 22-calibre shots, all without leaving your computer. True or not? Well, it’s the internet. Correspondence as to the merits of adding Managers to the species available for hunting will not be entered into.

- Live-Shot online hunting

- How our jobs were outsourced

India. The country that gave Britain its national dish is now taking our jobs, as outsourcing hits more and more professions. It’s easy to see why: India has the largest number of English speakers in the world, I understand, and many of those happen to be rather well educated. And there’s the low wages that make employers elsewhere salivate.

IT jobs are particularly vulnerable to outsourcing. In Australia, Telstra and contractors have shifted around 1,000 Aussie IT jobs to India. Fellow telco Optus announced today that it too will send jobs to India — 150 from its Tasmanian callcentre.

Jobs peripheral to IT are also susceptible to the Indian outsourcing contagion. PR agencies working the hi-tech biz like Hill and Knowlton, Burston Marsteller and Edelman believe they can curry on schmoozing with local media remotely. Indianised PR would be a terrible shame because PR people are wonderful, glamorous beings who add sparkle and entertainment to journos’ dreary lives. For a week now, I’ve tried to meet up with a certain media relations executive to find out if the person’s head actually whistles when walking by, as my esteemed colleague Paul claims it does.

Still, it makes sense for PR people to follow journo-wallahs who are also starting to get outsourced to India. Last month, venerable news agency Reuters said it would triple employee numbers in India. Reuter’s Bangalore centre houses editorial staff as well as data processing, with running costs only two-fifths of equivalent units in New York and London. You can’t argue against that, and who needs truly local content anyway?

So who knows, the Friday FryUp may become the Tuesday Tandoori at some point. Wonder what Mumbai freelance rates are like?

- Is your job going offshore?

- Optus plans Indian callcentre

- Optus moves 150 jobs to India

- PR firms consider passage to India

- Reuters To Nearly Triple Staff In India By End-05

- Telco Act tweaking futile?

I am currently torturing myself by reading the Implementation Review of the Telecommunications Act 2001 discussion paper, found over at the Ministry of Economic Development’s website.

So far, I haven’t found the bit that says something like “The Act is a total failure that did nothing to promote competition but only caused New Zealand to slide backwards in the OECD rankings.” I’m sure it’s there somewhere though.

Next week, look for our meticulous analysis of the discussion paper, or our dismissal of it as a bureaucratic smokescreen to hide subsidies to a certain incumbent telco. Depends on how grumpy reading the paper makes us.

- MED: Implementation Review of the Telecommunications Act 2001- Discussion Paper

- Microsoft goes SCO

Now that SCO’s kamikaze attack on the Penguin appears to have failed, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer getting the bullhorn out and engaging in some FUD flinging of his own.

“Use Linux and get sued” is Ballmer’s message to Asian governments. Steve claims Linux infringes some 283 issued (but not validated) patents. Apparently, 27 of these belong to Microsoft even. Microsoft is concerned about Linux eating into its business in Asian markets, hence it’s time to slap on the patent frighteners so that especially governments there buy Windows instead. I’m sure IT buyers in Asia appreciate Ballmer’s blunt advice to them.

Nevertheless, it has to be recognised that Ballmer speaks from experience here, when he goes on about patent law suits. Microsoft has been sued quite a number of times for patent infringement, costing it billions of dollars in settlements. On the other hand, apart from SCO’s failed attempt, nobody has taken Open Source to court for patent infringement.

- Microsoft warns Asian governments of Linux suits

- Patent Lawsuits Crowd Microsoft's Horizon

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