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There are a lot of intelligent people throughout the world. That said, I have seen a lot of horrible software developed by disconnected teams spread throughout the world. They save money but often create terrible products that aren’t profitable. Time and cultural differences make it harder for international teams to work together. One team will have to work late nights in order to have meetings with another team. Some cultures have many more holidays and vacations, and the notion of working 60-80 hour weeks is simply unacceptable and often illegal. Sometimes unscrupulous overseas consulting firms will promise more than they can deliver.
Offshoring was trendy for a while. Most software engineering has come back onshore, because it didn’t end up saving money. A very large corporation I worked for outsourced some software development to India. It cost half as much but projects took twice as long to complete compared to domestic developers. It only created inconvenience, as domestic management had to conduct virtual meetings in the early hours of the morning.
It’s good to see some manufacturing come back as well. I don’t mean to sound xenophobic. Detroit has just gone bankrupt, and, like many Americans, I don’t want to see other major cities go “belly up”. Not everyone in America is a rocket scientist. There should be good jobs for regular people. Retail and the service sector don’t pay a living wage.
It’s impressive to see Apple making hardware in the U.S. This is something that is usually done overseas, as the labor is cheaper. Apple does the vast majority of their manufacturing overseas. Historically, Apple held out on offshoring manufacturing for quite some time. In the 1980s, most Apple products were made in the United States. The higher cost of their products was a major factor in their decline. Why would anyone spend a few thousand dollars on a Mac, when they could get a Windows PC for a fraction of the price? The PC ran more software titles.
Will Apple continue this trend of on-shoring manufacturing? It is possible. Very little of the iPhone 5 is hand-made. The phone is almost entirely constructed by machines. There is little manual labor involved. If offshoring saves on labor costs, it may no longer prove a cost savings as more devices are made with complete automation. If the government provided a little nudge in the right direction, with some tax benefits, corporations like Apple could bring all of their manufacturing back to the United States. There are still humans involved, even with fully automated production lines. Humans need to design, manufacture, calibrate and maintain the machines. These are good jobs, not the repetitive boredom of the assembly line.
Do you need a Mac Pro?
I own a Mac Pro, and I regret it. It is the first Mac I have owned. I should have bought a MacBook Pro or an iMac. Why? The Mac Pro is way more machine than I need. After using Windows machines for more than two decades, I bought a Mac Pro based on the specs I would want in a Windows machine. Windows is a slower operating system. You need a faster computer to run Windows smoothly. I also wanted to use my Mac for video editing and home recording. All of that can be done on an iMac, even a Mac Mini. (continue…)