Microsoft Outsourcing High-Level Jobs


By Kristi Heim

San Jose Mercury News

Two years after Microsoft executives began urging managers to outsource software development work to India, a Washington state technology union says the company has sent increasingly high-level jobs overseas, including some related to Longhorn, the next version of Windows.

The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers says it obtained internal documents from a Microsoft worker that show dozens of Microsoft projects now being handled by companies in India, such as Satyam, Infosys and Wipro. Through such outside companies, Microsoft has hired 1,000 contractors for work ranging from software design to Web development, WashTech says.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to confirm the numbers or the authenticity of the documents, but said WashTech’s claims were off base.

“These accusations do not reflect an understanding of the global nature of our business,” said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake. “It’s part of our business model to work with thousands of companies around the world.”

‘The global nature of their business’, that’s a good one. Translation: ‘We can so we are.’ I think the fact that the richest corporation in the world is cutting minor corners by outsourcing to save a few dollars they’ll hadly even miss pretty much says it all about the standard corporate excuse that they’re only doing it because they can’t afford not to.

The fact that Microsoft or other technology companies hire workers overseas is no surprise, but the company’s aggressive outsourcing efforts are moving into more advanced work and into the latest products, argues WashTech President Marcus Courtney.

In July 2002, Microsoft Senior Vice President Brian Valentine gave a presentation urging managers to begin outsourcing software-development projects to contractors in India for “quality work at 50 to 60 percent of the cost.”

“There’s a shift taking place, and I don’t know if employees realize how serious it is,” Courtney said Wednesday. “They’re hiring developers and hardware engineers overseas, and it’s clearly duplicating a lot of the work that gets done in the U.S.”

Documents provided by WashTech list contracts with outside companies for projects such as the Longhorn Migration Guide, .NET Application Security, and deployment of the Windows Server 2003 update. A migration guide refers to software that helps customers move to Longhorn from a different operating system, and .NET is Microsoft’s technology for Web-based services.

“It’s going to happen more and more just because Microsoft products are more mature and so they require less intense design work,” he said. “So it becomes feasible to do it thousands of miles away.”MS code-geeks better start practicing their burger-flipping.