Microsoft Brings Politics Into Opening Of New Development Center

from the going-north dept

Microsoft has announced plans to open up a new software development center in Vancouver, just 150 miles from its headquarters in Redmond. The company has plenty of international locations, so the fact that the new site is in Canada isn’t particularly noteworthy. But the company is trying to attach a political significance to the move, as it claims it’s a reaction to a lack of skilled immigrant workers in the US, which is the result of limited visas. It’s hard to know how legitimate this is. There’s no doubt that Microsoft would like to see looser immigration laws, with respect to skilled workers, but it’s easy to see the company taking this opportunity to make a political point, regardless of its actual motivations for opening up the location. Either way, those in favor of greater restrictions should ask themselves if they prefer to see companies going abroad for workers, rather than having workers come here.

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Comments on “Microsoft Brings Politics Into Opening Of New Development Center”

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Anonymous of Course says:

All In Favor Of Wage Busting, Raise Their Hand

Yes, and every year the IEEE releases the
obigatory engineer shortage story.

It’s akin to the jobs no US citizen will
do (for so little money) therefore we Need
the illegals.

I guess in a technology driven society
it is inevitable that engineering
shirts slowly fade from white to blue.

That loud band you jsut heard wasn’t
fireworks, it was your standard of living
crashing down. So we can compete in the
global economy on an even footing.

Isn’t that special?

Simon F. (profile) says:

Canadians have the TN

I understand their point, but maybe pointing out Canada isn’t exactly the right country.

As part of NAFTA, Canadian have what’s called the TN status which enables college-educated Canadian (and Mexican too for that matter) in certain professions to work in the USA. It’s a very easy process that takes about 15min at the border. I know, that’s what I’m currently doing.

Of course it’s a lot more restrictive (1 year period, no intent of becoming a permanent resident, etc.) than an H1-B but still, it’s easy for Canadian to come work in the states.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

M$ Moving

Or they could just open up a software center in Michigan here. Our state is doing rather poorly overall and I am sure they could EASILY fill positions with skilled workers who need jobs. Or at the very least they could train a few people for those who aren’t skilled enough already. Certainly no shortage of labor, thats for damn sure.

ThoughtCancer (user link) says:

As someone who is in the middle of the application process for the Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, I can tell you that it’s not a cakewalk to get a workers visa. First, if you have a company sponsoring you on the Canada side, the process is much smoother, but you’re “owned” by the company for the duration of your visa. If you wish to go as a “free man”, then the process (the aforementioned Skilled Worker Visa, with a direct path to Residency and eventually Citizenship) is much more difficult.

My friend in Vancouver lost her roommate to an employer that refused to renew her work visa (so it was back to Finland for her!).

David says:

Microsoft is Anti-American

The timing of this is just too coincidental. The immigration package, which included higher caps on H-1B Visas is dead for the foreseeable future. Now Microsoft is acting like the spoiled child that it is. They are saying if I don’t get my way, I’m going to take the ball and go home. Good, go. There are plenty of other Operating Systems and Office Suites that are less expensive and just as good or better than Microsoft’s bloatware. Microsoft, don’t just build a new center in Vancouver take your entire company out of the U.S. Please do us a favor. And don’t let the door hit you in your big fat asses on the way out. There is no lack of talented workers in the U.S. There is only a lack of talent that will work for sub-standard wages. Please, Bill, take your anti-American BS elsewhere.

David says:

Re: Re: Microsoft is Anti-American

If Microsoft wants to have foreign workers than let them take their crappy company over there. We don’t need or even want them here.

All I am saying is if they would prefer foreign worker to American workers than take your stinking company there and stop pretending to be an American company. Another American company will fill Microsoft’s spot in a second. Because we are the BEST. Believe me I have seen tons and tons of code written by these supposed highly skilled foreign works…it’s nothing but spaghetti code that follows no standards at all.

If you have to fix it or change it, you may as well rewrite it because you will never be able to read it. It’s that bad. At least American programmers are taught how to code using standards and implement those standards in their code. The issue of a lack of talent is just smoke and mirrors for the real issue. Microsoft and others just want cheap labor. Why pay an American programmer $40,000 a year when you can get a foreign worker for $15,000. The foreign workers are happy as clams living 4 or 5 people in a one bedroom apartment. American’s have families to feed and homes to pay for.

David is Crap says:

Re: Re: Re: Microsoft is Anti-American

Hey David…dont shout BS
Microsoft dont pay $15000 to anybody…you are soo foolish…Microsoft paying 15000….what a joke…Microsoft recruits fresh foreign students from my university with packages of 75000+….They dont hire cheap labor….you are lazy fat asses who want money without working enough…crapy david

David says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Microsoft is Anti-American

First, if you knew what you were talking about, I would take you seriously.

Not every foreign student is getting paid like a senior programmer.

They do hire cheap foreign labor that’s why they hire people like you and not Americans. Foreigners will come here, for very little money, to escape from whatever crappy country they are living in, because the USA is the greatest country in the history of mankind and it always will be. Why else would foreigners be trying to flock here from every corner of the world?

The reason why America is the greatest country in the world is easy. Americans are the hardest working, most skilled labor force in the world, otherwise, we would not be the greatest power in the world. We would be like your silly little country, whatever it is.

Two, if your writing skills are any indication of your programming skills, you have proven my point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Microsoft is Anti-American

Get your facts right. No H1B professional take less than 50 K annually. And, that is just the minimum wage to keep your H1 status valid at all times. Most IT folks in US that I know earn over 85K annually. Well, more experienced people earn higher than that. In my opinion, it is better to earn atleast this much than just living on credit card money that they are unable to pay and then go on unemployment benefits.

Triatomic Tortoise says:

Re: Re: Re: Microsoft is Anti-American

Typical of an American in denial – “I am the best”. Who told you that you about that? Did we earn it? Yes. Are we striving to keep it that way? No.

Remember that in technology, the earth is flat. There are brilliant people all over the world and they will do their best to take the cost advantage. Play the ball. Don’t play a blame game.

Microsoft is trying to maximize it’s worth to it’s share holders and they should do that whatever it takes legally. If the company takes it’s development center elsewhere to maximize profit and they are successful in doing that, they are absolutely right doing that. There is no reason to whine like a looser showing nationalism. America is what it is today because of free market capitalism. There are ups and downs of the policy but that is the reality.

Now let us grow up and write some good software in America to prove that we can do it better here cost-effectively 🙂

David says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Microsoft is Anti-American

I’m not saying Microsoft doesn’t have the right to get their work done as cheaply as possible. I’m just saying they are constantly whining about American labor.

So, if they aren’t happy here, they should take their company elsewhere.

Americans will fill the niche of Microsoft in a hear beat, because we are the most talented and innovative country in the world. That’s why we are the greatest power in the world. That’s why we have the greatest economy in the world. That’s why everyone wants to be here. Simple isn’t it?

We have the most innovative labor force on earth. This is not disputable, it’s a fact. Why else would all the foreign workers want to come here? So they can be part of mediocrity…I think not, they can do that in their current country. They come here to be great. That’s why they come to OUR schools and want to work for OUR companies. They know where the best is. If Microsoft doesn’t think so, please, let them go somewhere else. That’s my point.

I bet after five years they’d be wishing they never left, and want back in. Or they would start hiring Americans to come work for them in whatever country they went to. As the old saying goes: “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Patrick says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Microsoft is Anti-American

Wait. “we are the most talented and innovative country inthe world”? Are you seriously so arrogant to deny that America’s success is contributed by foreign workers? Last time I checked, America is eager to retain doctors and masters from various universities to stay dominant in this field.

America is great because it embraces skilled individuals. Although I understand where you are coming from, you should accept the fact that America is made up of individuals from diverse origins, and that closing borders would kick America back to prehistory. Notice I am talking about cheap labor. I am talking about very talented foreign workers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Microsoft is Anti-American

Who’s Anti-American? Our forefathers came here as poor immigrants, and worked their asses off to make better lives for their families, and that put America on top of the industrial world. Today, when their great, great grandchildrens’ status is taken down a peg because they’re too entitled to stay ahead of the crowd as the world changes around them, rather than work harder to get ahead again, they cry to the government and whine that it isn’t fair, like common record executives. Meanwhile, those who want to come here today and work hard, motivated to fight their way to the front of the pack and compete and make this country a smarter, more effective global competitor in the electronic world, they aren’t allowed to because the state has to protect your entitled little butt’s status in society because you don’t want to work for it. And people wonder why we fall further and further behind the rest of the world.

So I ask again: Who’s Anti-American?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Microsoft is Anti-American

In my opinion, it is very good for Canada and unfortunately, bad for US especially during this time. If a company opens a new ofice in Canada and transfer just 200 of its IT foreign nationals from US office to the new office, Canada will make lot of money out of it. So, for every single IT employee, atleast 4 new jobs open up.. with the new infrastructure (such as as building, security, rent, maintenance, power, electricians etc.). Also, Canada will make lot more money with travel, application fees for Visa etc. So, if other companies like Google, Sun etc. also start following the same procedure (these companies arealso built by foreign nationals and NOT Americans), then I guess everyone would be happy. Foreign nationals will keep their jobs and those of you who think its good for US will have their way. Peace.

A Torontoan says:

This really looks like a political move in its entirety.
Canada is almost as restrictive as the US (it was considerably more restrictive before 9/11) on foreign workers. Also, our population, even with our so-called loose imigration, is one-tenth of the US and most Canadians wont relocate to another city for just a job like Americans do. I guess that is what you get when everyone has health and social services no matter your job status. It is stange that MS would do this, I really think they would be better off in Michigan than Canada, especially with the universities and labor pool there. Or California, or Massachusettes, or just about anywhere in the States. Strange, eh?

Dan says:

Re: Re:

Microsoft has no problem with recruiting folks from Michigan, California, Mass. or anywhere else in the US. They simply offer them amazing relocation packages, and they end up working in Mountain View or Redmond.

The number of skilled US workers that would be willing to work at a (say) Michigan campus rather than Redmond or Mt. View, is probably exceedingly small, so it would hardly be worth it.

On the foreign front, it is much harder to bring in a guy from India than a guy from Florida, there are barriers for entry into the US workforce, so by expanding out of the US borders, it becomes much easier to hire those skilled workers. These people aren’t being hired as tech support or IT either (which are outsourced instead), but as full development and testing engineers.

Though, I do have no doubt that a Canadian campus offers little advantage in this area, I think that the political message tied to this is soley for the messages sake (Bill G. hasn’t been quiet about his support for less control on visas because of a lack of skilled workers in the US).

Bob Knight says:

The MS move and H1-B

When I lived down in Kentucky I lived next door to a group of H1-B’s from India, they did the it worked for a collections call center.

I’m sure no one in the USA could have done the same job. Oh wait why would you want to work for 15k a year, and live 5 people to a two bedroom townhouse.

Skilled labor is one thing, it’s easy to put parts a,b and c in slots d, e and f. Quit another to code for an in house CRM data Base.

Right now to much of our labor force is nuts and bolts and not enough bits and bytes. Regardless we still have enough people that can do the nations IT jobs, we just have to pay them more than 15K.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hm, well according to Bill Gates whenever he visits – so he could just be saying this to butter us up – Microsoft hires more graduates from the University of Waterloo annually than from any other university in the world. Go Canada!

Anyways, is it really that surprising that Microsoft would do such a thing? It’s not like automotive plants in Canada are generally the most efficient ones in North America, yet get shut down first because the Big Three find it magically advantageous to keep less efficient American plants open instead. Either the politicians are going to kowtow and start offering Microsoft the same protectionist benefits to keep jobs in the States, or they’re going to have a brand new studio in Canada where they can take advantage of the new exchange rate and start actively competing with Google’s and Electronic Arts’ Canadian studios (Montreal, Toronto, Waterloo for Google, Montreal, Burnaby, Vancouver for EA) for skilled Canadian developers.

Stu says:

“Either way, those in favor of greater restrictions should ask themselves if they prefer to see companies going abroad for workers, rather than having workers come here.”

Well Joe, are those the only 2 choices you can envision – that we’re destined to be screwed one way or another?

Surely the American worker has more balls than that! At least they used to!

Get to work on the politicians. Use your unions – if they don’t help, vote the officers (or the union) out and get new ones. Use the web – call Michael Moore – do something!

Get mad for g-ds sake!

Nelson says:

I have seen this happening at first hand. I see how outsourcing fails because in the search of CHEAP labor with really bad quality I mean really bad.

I’ve personally seen layoffs of americans in order to keep not better qualified foreign workers. I’ve personally seen how wages go down year after year. Now is even worst they explicitly cut salaries for contractors by 10%.

Also forced contractors to switch from well paying American companies to really bad paying Indian companies. Reducing their salaries by more than 20%.

I personaly even did an experiment applying to 500 jobs in as an American I did not getting a single response.

The list goes ON and ON, this is just ridiculous…

This is like paying for cheap labor to work at your own house when there is plenty of people living in it that is more than capable of doing the job. People that with their money can contribute to that same house.

They always go for the crappy line of “getting the best talent of the world” when most of the jobs are for entry or mid lavel and at the same time laying off people with 10 years in the company.

Again I have names and contact information to confirm this information.

Don’t be mistaken Microsoft is a company that depends of the american people by using their products through american companies and the US Goverment itself which is funded by every single US Citizen.

I hope the goverment enforce harder legal restriction which enforce the rule of having American not been replaced by “cheap labor”.

I really don’t understand the long haul strategy.
Because on a macro economy you need to have people working in order to have them spend money in your products and services.
If you replace the same people that spend the money with CHEAP labor that DON’T spend money in your products and services the entire economic cycle colapses. In other words the country colapses.

This is an issue of National Security, when a company corrupts the economic cycle of this country affecting it’s own people, businesses and families there should strong enforcement by the goverment of the United State to don’t let this corruption happend. Make the people responsable accountable from their illegal actions and be legally punished as this is a Real THREAT to the American People and their way of life.

Because this country is made By The People and For the People of the United States of America and Needs to be protected.

This Posts Here Are Examples of the Imperative Need from the American People that has to be PROTECTED.


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