Sunday, February 24, 2002

Some of my recent comments and assertions became a topic in a forum, in which one reader challenged some of my assertions about India's software quality posture. This is a fair challenge. In fact, my ending notes in the entry under the heading Checkpoints need cited references, which I am going to provide:
    • We're in a war, but it isn't a war against terrorism
    • Our opponents are not trying to conquer us, but they are driven by self-interests as are we
    • The market is global and we may get locked out of it to a large extent

    Sources: The seeds of the war is shown in a December 1999 article in Foreign Policy In Focus (Volume 4, Number 37), titled, U.S.-EU Trade Issues. This article gives a succinct history, hightlights problems with current (1999) US trade policy and makes recommendations to rectify them. It's provides a backdrop to the issues that have since emerged. Some of the material has been obviated by events since the article was written.

    A December 2001 piece in European Union shows the determination of the EU to protect its own interests. The article shows the chasm between the US and the EU with respect to claims of protectionism on both sides. This issue was foreseen in a 1998 article titled Schröder’s New Europe: When America Leads, Will the Allies Follow? (Source: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research).

    The EU's unity and power is amply illustrated in recent challenges to the US. In November 2000 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an article reporting that the EU confirms its threat of sanctions. The same source reported in January 2002 that the EU won that battle with the news that WTO rejects U.S. tax law. Another indication of the clout exercised by the EU is the 4 December 2001 Associated Press story published in the Everett, Washington Herald that reported Microsoft asks Europe to accept U.S. accord. Microsoft stonewalled the US Department of Justice; they are bowing to the EU.

    Another show of EU power and determination to protect self interests is the break with the US over Internet taxation. E-Commerce Tax, an information source focused on electronic commerce tax issues, reported on 16 December 2001 that EU Takes Another Step Toward Taxing Digital Products. They published a follow-up article on 13 January 2002 titled Taxation of International E-Commerce in 2001 (they also published an interesting 10 February 2002 article titled India To Go Its Own Way? that is an indication of other international initiatives and policy.) Confirmation of the EU tax initiative, breaking completely with US policy, was reported in The Register on 14 February in an article titled Europe to levy tax on US, non-EU web sales.

    So, yes, we are in a war and it's not against terrorism. And, yes, we can be locked out of a large part of the global economy by powers who are not squandering their resources on military adventures, but are not-so-quietly consolidating their power and competitive advantage.

  2. ASSERTION: A free market will choose quality and our software industry has still competition from India and the EU.

    Sources: Evidence of the quality gap between the US software industry and the rest of the world can be discerned from the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI) SEI Maturity Profile August 2001. The findings of this report show that at CMM Levels 3-5 US organizations lag behind offshore organizations. The preponderance of the offshore organizations are in India as shown in the SEI's Published Maturity Levels of organizations that have achieved CMM Level 2 and above.

    A specific validation of India's lead in software engineering excellence comes from CrossTalk Magazine, which is the US Department of Defense Journal of Software Engineering. The August 2001 issue contains an article titled State of Software Development in India that validates my assertion that India is taking the lead in software quality. This is also validated in Adam Smith and The Software Industry, which was published in the October 2001 issue of The Data Admistration Newsletter. In this article the author, Norris Goff, relates first-hand experience in using India software companies as a source of high quality development and ends the article with: No company with major software development expenses can be competitive today without operations in India or a comparable offshore location, and there are very few alternatives ..."

I will address the final assertaion that [o]ur [elected and appointed] government allowed a monopoly to become established ... that has stifled development of our software industry and potential innovations in a future entry.

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