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Lenovo & Customer Perception 472

Posted by Hemos
from the one-man's-opinion dept.
music_lover writes "According to this article, Lenovo is losing current ThinkPad series customers to HP, Toshiba and other notebook vendors because of customer perception. Apparently, customers don't feel comfortable purchasing from a Chinese PC manufacturer now that the ThinkPad brand isn't supported by IBM anymore. Could this really be perception? Quote: "Despite the overall poor performance, Lenovo has still not gained the mindshare or the respect that the ThinkPads command. In fact, it has, to some extent, alienated ThinkPad's fans and taken a sales hit. In my immediate vicinity, those who owned ThinkPads have now traded up to an HP or a Toshiba. None of them went back to their ThinkPads. After asking for a clarification, I was told, "Who wants to buy things from a Chinese company?" That said, our corporate parent has continued to buy/use Thinkpads; the ones that I've seen do just fine, and they've added new machines and a parternership with AMD.
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Lenovo & Customer Perception

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  • misconception (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dotpavan (829804) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:09AM (#15141336) Homepage
    It's a misconception, because even HP/Toshiba/Dell/etc laptops are assembled (or parts mfg.) in China.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:10AM (#15141337)

    about 200 million Americans shopping in Wallmart ?
    everybody has their price, just some can be bought for less
  • Because I say so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rydia (556444) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:10AM (#15141339)
    "I think that Lenovo is losing market share. I think it's because people don't trust them. Hold on and I think of some reasons why I think I think that."

    Come on, guys.
  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GrAfFiT (802657) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:11AM (#15141342) Homepage
    The irony is that all these companies contract out (I could also include Apple here) to the same few manufacturers, all either in China or Taiwan..
  • Wait a minute... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nule.org (591224) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:12AM (#15141343) Homepage
    I was under the impression that if you didn't want to buy a laptop "made in China" that you pretty much couldn't buy a laptop? Am I wrong?
  • Perception (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a_nonamiss (743253) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:14AM (#15141353)
    As a country, we prove ourselves irrationally xenophobic again and again. From the Dubai Ports World deal to people not buying laptops because they're "Chinese." What people don't know is that not much has changed since Lenovo bought the right to produce Thinkpads. They still use the same suppliers, and the manufacture is still basically the same. Thinkpads still kick ass, and I challenge anyone to find a laptop that isn't made primarily overseas.
  • by William Robinson (875390) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:20AM (#15141367)
    Who wants to buy things from a Chinese company

    Hope it is misconception. Why would anybody discard a product just because it is from some other country unless there are quality issues.

    my $0.02.

    PS: No I haven't RTFA. The site is slashdotted.

  • Re:Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjpaci (33725) * on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:21AM (#15141369) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's the fact that they're made in China. Apple's laptops are assembled somewhere over there (don't recall if it's Taiwan or the main land) and they're good quality. It's the QA and the attention to detail that the mother company (Lenovo/Apple/HP/Toshiba) demands of the contract manufacturer. Maybe Lenovo isn't as strict as IBM was? Maybe they're using a different manufacturer. Who knows. We use IBM desktops and ThinkPads here and have since ~2003. I have not heard anything bad about the new Lenovo machines - but then again I haven't really been paying too much attention. I will ask today and post more if it's bad...

    --Mike
  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:22AM (#15141373)
    Thinkpads before and after the Lenovo purchase are every bit as good as the one when they were called IBM ThinkPads. In fact, they have bene made by Lenovo for many years now. Only way they may be loosing market share is fear of loosing support.
  • Re:misconception (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dnwq (910646) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:24AM (#15141383)
    I think there's a perception (wrong or not) that companies based in Western nations are more accountable than companies based in China. Presumably, if something screws up, it is thought that it is harder to pursue a Chinese company than one in, say, the United States.

    This may not be strictly true, but somehow I doubt that corporate accountability in China is better than that in the States...
  • Surprised? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pcguru19 (33878) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:28AM (#15141392)
    Everything on the market was already being made or 99% designed before Lenovo bought the brand. The true test of quality and innovation will be with the next flip of laptops. The R&D and design work is still being done in the USA by the old thinkpad team, but time will tell if they have the same budget and the same directives on what they're to build. It doesn't matter how great your design team is if you're told you've got to make a laptop for no more than $999 MSRP.
  • Re:Perception (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:31AM (#15141402) Journal
    I would disagree. I would instead say that we are a culture who blindly purchases brand names with very little actual research into performance. Sytle is everything. IBM has style. Lenovo doesn't. Nobody want's a middling performance, ugly laptop/ Lets' face it - IBM thinkpads have never been speed demons, and they are the butt-ugliest, clunky-looking laptops out there. But IBM - I B M - now that's a name that means confidence and performance. And premium prices mean premium goods.

    Lenovo. Well, this "new" (to American ears) Chinese company may have bought the ThinkPad name, but there no IBM. Nosireebob. We need something that stands for quality. A company that would never cut corners. A solid performer that believes in quality over raw profits. Those boys at Hewlett Packard have been around forever and I know that name. It must stand for a good product. So now that IBM, the venerable old company, is not producing laptops, we'll go with HP. Rock solid, I tell you. (Yes everything about HP is tongue in cheek...Thanks, Carly).

    This has very little to do with xenophobia, and much to do with brand recognition.

    I think you sum up my point well, "... I challenge anyone to find a laptop that isn't made primarily overseas." And yet, we buy them by the landfill-load. It's not about where they're made, it's about what name is on the cover. It's no different than the way be buy cars, clothes, appliances, and consumer electronics. Nobody would buy Lenovo bought Nike people woudn't buy Lenovo athletic shoes - even if they made them in the same Chinese factory.
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:37AM (#15141429)
    Companies aren't usually racist, or xenophobic. Most big business embrace foreign production as a method to save costs. What's going on here is that the high price of a ThinkPad used to be justified because it was backed by the excelent support organization at IBM. Busunesses didn't care that Lenovo was making the laptops for IBM anyway before the sale because they were buying the service and support primarily and the hardware second. Unless Lenovo builds up a network of local on-call service personell and a rapid FRU distribution chain like IBM has, and unless they market that service organization to death, they're slowly going to lose every business and educational ThinkPad customer IBM had.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:37AM (#15141430)
    The real problem isn't that Lenovo is making the computers, they have manufactured Thinkpads for IBM for years now. The problem is that Lenovo is pushing the Thinkpads into retail and are therefore competing with low-end Gateways, Averatecs, and who knows what else. This puts enormous pressure to bring prices down, which means resultant pressure to get the manufacturing costs of the laptops down as well. Users of the x60 series Thinkpads (formerly x40, x32, etc) are complaining that the buttons feel cheap and that the units are not as solid as previous models.

    The good thing about Thinkpads is that IBM refused to cheapen the laptops just to get market share. IBM users knew that they were getting a solid notebook with good service and a 3-year warranty. IBM could therefore charge a premium for that. Now that Lenovo is trying to get their products into Best Buy, there is no incentive to build a rock solid machine because nobody is going to buy it because it is too expensive. So the incentive is to build cheap crap that is good enough to get out the door without excessive warranty claims from cheaping out too far.

    It's a shame that Lenovo is ruining the Thinkpad brand. I have a Thinkpad and love it but I will have to think twice when it comes time to buy another one.
  • by lRem (914073) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:39AM (#15141437) Homepage
    Well yes. But the basic reason for buying anything that's Chinese is that it's cheaper. When it comes to Thinkpads, they're both Chinese _and_ expensive. That's why they have hard time on European/American markets.
  • My fav features (Score:5, Insightful)

    by porkThreeWays (895269) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:40AM (#15141439)
    I bought a thinkpad a few months after the aquisiton. I basically bought it for two reasons. 1) A simple solid laptop that isn't as expensive as a toughbook. 2) Ease of assembly/disassembly, availability of parts, hardware documentation, etc etc. And so far its passed with flying colors.

    My last laptop (averatec) was the biggest piece of shit ever. It had a notorious power issue and Averatec refused to fix it (or even admit its a common problem). There was no documentation for taking it apart or its layout, and even when I got it apart and found the part to be replaced, Averatec won't sell you parts. I set out to find the perfect simple laptop...

    It feels very solid. You can handle it pretty well and it doesn't feel like it's going to break. Not toughbook strength, but still very good. IBM still hosts giant manuals on their site for taking them apart. This was extremely important to me. It seemed like an admission that it's actually ok to take apart your laptop and service it yourself. It's very extensive. I love how there are only 5 screw sizes on the whole laptop and they are all marked. It's such a simple gesture, yet it helps SO MUCH. With my Averatec, I was left with a pile of screws that got mixed up and was impossible to get back together.

    As I said, I've got a Levano and not an IBM version. I would say the quality is still there. If you are a corporate buyer, keep buying them until they give you a reason not to. I've had enough problems with Dell's and HP's to know jumping ship to them on a whim isn't going to make things any better.
  • by planetmn (724378) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:41AM (#15141447)
    They are ugly, heavy, and generally have less features than similarly priced notebooks from other makers. So why were they so good? I.B.M. You had the reputation of IBM behind each one.

    That, or they are built like a tank, something that a business would appreciate. I have a circa 1999/2000 I-Series thinkpad. Bottom of the line pretty much. The friend who purchased it new abused the hell out of it (since selling it to me and buying powerbooks, he has broken the powerbook multiple times). Six years later, everything works but the PCMCIA card reader (he dropped it onto its' side with a wireless card installed) and the hinges for the screen take some finessing (it travelled cross country, more then once, thrown into the bed of a truck). The thing is a tank, and if you are travelling, it will outlast anything out there. Sure they are more expensive, but there is a reason.

    Color! Brightness! Good keyboards! STYLE.

    Maybe it's just me, but I like the plain, black look of the thinkpad, I find it rather sleek. But hey, style is subjective. I also like the look of the powerbook. And in terms of keyboard, I have not used a keyboard on a laptop I prefer to the thinkpad (this includes HPs, Dells, Apples and Toshibas).

    It's all Windows underneath the hood, and in all likelihood it's the same hardware as well.

    While that may be true, the fact that the "hood" is heavier duty, makes a huge difference.

    -dave
  • by Chas (5144) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:42AM (#15141448) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but if you think the Mac laptop offerings (especially the keyboards) are "good", you've evidently lost all feeling below the neck. Their laptop offerings are some of the flimsiest pieces of crap imaginable.

    Take the MacBookPro. Pick it up in one hand along an edge. If you can't see the entire damn case flexing, I'll eat my UPS.

    I'm not really sure what your experience with Thinkpads was.

    My experience was almost universally positive. And the things, while not the greatest gaming systems (Internationa BUSINESS Machines anyone?), were always rock-stable and durable.

    Of courst, that COULD just be me. But I pretty much have a circle of friends, co-workers, and colleagues who swear up and down by Thinkpads too. More or less for the identical reasoning.

    As for color. I'm not marching in the local GLPP. I'm WORKING on the thing. I don't need neon greeen, or lousy aluminum cases that ding and scratch if I so much as look at the thing. The Thinkpads have a certain stark, no-nonsense style to them, and they definitely make a positive statement about the person using them.

    But hey, to each his own. If you want a laptop that looks like it fell out of a box of Fruit Loops, cool.
  • by Churla (936633) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:50AM (#15141468)
    Why do people continue to buy Sony products when Sony has been slipping?

    Why do people continue to buy Microsoft software if it's known not to be the best out there?

    Why do people eat at McDonalds instead of the mom and pop diner 2 blocks away that serves better burgers?

    It's all name and brand recognition. People bought IBM notebooks because IBM had a name behind them, and in many cases also supplied all the bigger infrastructure and server pieces.

    Now that same laptop isn't an IBM anymore. Like a high dollar luxury car manufacturer that also releases the same cars produced in the same way, but with a less expensive nameplate on them loses market value.

    What used to have a Lexus nameplate on it, now has a Toyota nameplate. And has to complete on a different scale.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:52AM (#15141476)
    I'm concerned about the apparent racist tones of this article. Racists rarely have any facts right, and it's already been pointed out that the majority of laptops are assembled by a Chinese company or two.

    Folks, everyone on the planet has a right to work and pay their mortage. Maybe folks in the U.S. need to consider that our expectations are too high and our tolerance for sweat and strain too low.

    As far as the product: I had two IBM Thinkpads before I bought one of the first Lenovo marketed units. It works great and I'm a happy camper.

    So, stick to arguing economics and that you want profit to stay in town.

    We're supposed to be better than this.
  • by mgblst (80109) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:54AM (#15141478) Homepage
    It is because they added in the windows key - nobody really wants a windows key, and here we are seeing the backlash against lenovo. (good a reason as any)

    Personally, i would only but an IBM laptop, no other machine approaches the quality (maybe apple). I hope they aren't going down the tubes, or I will need to get a T43 - the best of the pre-lenovo crop.
  • IBM's mindshare (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:58AM (#15141493) Homepage Journal
    IBM has been slowly losing mindshare for decades now. Older nerds will remember the days when IBM was the big one, the monolith, the place BBS kids dreamed of haxing and MIT kids dreamed of ending up at. For a long time, the entire home computer industry was basically IBM and Apple. Not so these days.
  • by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Monday April 17, 2006 @08:59AM (#15141498)
    >I don't say you should buy a crappy American product in
    >place of a high quality Chinese product. But there are
    >plenty of comparably or better built laptops in the
    >domestic market.

    Name one machine that has all its parts constructed and assembled in the USA, or if you have problems with that name one machine that has no parts in it that originated from China.

  • Re:Perception (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shmergin (679427) on Monday April 17, 2006 @09:03AM (#15141514)
    Im not usually a grammar/spelling nazi, but i can't let this one slide. You made a typo, should have read: "Is it xenophobic? Yes. Hypocritical? Yeppers." We (i say 'we' as the world, and not the default American 'we' that is spoken about so often in these parts) are all happy to buy our cheap laptops from Western companies who are exploiting eastern companies who are exploiting cheap eastern labour. When said companies build up enough wealth to take on the weatern companies then all of a sudden we become wary of buying from them, lest they become too rich or powerful. Lenovo paid a large sum of money to take over the thinkpad name and are building basically the same product. Not buying a product for the sole reason that you dont want the profits to go to another country (and make that country richer/more powerful) is xenophobia at work (fear or hatred of foreigners; in this case, fear).
  • by phasm42 (588479) on Monday April 17, 2006 @09:05AM (#15141522)
    I don't think the problem is so much that Lenovo is Chinese, but rather that Lenovo is not IBM. IBM has a reputation for building solid machines. If HPaq or eMachines had bought the Thinkpad line, I think you'd see a similar decline.
  • by Valdrax (32670) on Monday April 17, 2006 @09:21AM (#15141608)
    It's the association between Chinese manufacturing and cheap, flimsy crap from Wal-Mart that's hurting Lenovo if any reputation is hurting them. Chinese manufacturing doesn't really have any other reputation in America despite the fact that most notebooks are assembled there and all notebooks are made of parts primarily manufactured there. China's spent so long trying to undercut everybody that they've done a lot of damage to their reputation for quality.

    On the other hand, that's exactly how America was 200 years ago. We undercut everyone with cheap, crappy goods thanks to our abundant workforce and raw supplies, and we built quality goods much later. China will eventually overcome this reputation once they've bootstrapped their economy and their own consumers become more sophisticated and demanding.

    Then again, what do I know? I haven't shopped for PC notebooks recently, and I don't know if there's an actual quality decline in Thinkpads instead of a perceived problem due to national origin.
  • by Asklepius M.D. (877835) on Monday April 17, 2006 @09:31AM (#15141668)
    I recently purchased an X40 from Lenovo and have had no reason to be sorry about my choice. When I worked at my university's helpdesk, we had HPs, Gateways, Dells, Toshies, and Vaios stacked in heaps in the "to be repaired" cabinet, but I can count on one hand the number of thinkpads brought in with problems (most of these were over 5 years old and still going strong). I personally have owned laptops made by Dell, Gateway, HP, and even a customized Sager, but none of them were able to take much abuse. This thinkpad has survived being smashed by textbooks sans a case in my backpack, it's survived dust storms at 10k feet in the Rockies, it's been dropped countless times, and it still doesn't have a scratch on it! Okay, so it's not a fancy gaming machine, but I have a home built tower for that! It runs linux like a dream without my having to tweak each and every hardware device. I get 8 hours of battery life (dual batts) and the thing still weighs less than 5 lbs. It handles schoolwork, business, coding, and all that can be lumped together as "internet" without ripping my arm off or falling apart in a fresh breeze. Best of all, it didn't come with craploads of "demo" software. It's a pleasure to type on (I have yet to use a mouse with it) and I can't see myself purchasing anything else in the future. Since I don't run windoze, I won't be obligated to buy a new laptop when Vista comes out - same for games. This thing will function just fine for years to come, and I can keep my tower up to date with the money I save. Bottom line, you get what you pay for; this is a great machine.
  • by C10H14N2 (640033) on Monday April 17, 2006 @10:47AM (#15142094)
    Americans are pretty well aware that most of their stuff is manufactured in Asia, but there's a different sense to getting things from Taiwan vs. China -- akin to someone deliberately buying Puerto Rican rum instead of Cuban rum. Calling it "unwarranted xenophobia" is more unwarranted than the supposed xenophobia. There are some very serious concerns with China from their labor standards and human rights record to their relations with North Korea and Taiwan.

    Some people take those issues very, very seriously and would rather give their money to someone partnering with Taiwan, which indicates it is something more complex than simply being xenophobic. There are very real, very concrete and in many cases extremely valid reasons why people avoid Chinese products when they can.
  • Re:Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dslbrian (318993) on Monday April 17, 2006 @10:55AM (#15142147)

    Let's not forget about the fancy smancy Windows key they put on it.

    Argh, the most worthless keys ever added to a keyboard. Whoever invented that complete waste of space that serves no purpose other than to diminish the size of the space/alt/control keys needs to be taken out back and beat to a pulp. Another tragedy of microsoft's innovation at work...

  • Re:Perception (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Blue (63477) on Monday April 17, 2006 @11:26AM (#15142346)
    Lets' face it - IBM thinkpads have never been speed demons, and they are the butt-ugliest, clunky-looking laptops out there.

    Wow. I know that looks are subjective, but I've never heard anyone call a ThinkPad "ugly" or "clunky" before reading this (and a couple of other postings here -- but there are also a lot of people here who disagree with you).

    I've got a T42, and it's sleek (pretty much the opposite of "clunky") and I really like the way it looks. I had a Dell before this -- now that was a clunky and ugly machine. Compared to the HPs and Toshibas that I see in stores areound here, the Thinkpad frankly puts the others to shame looks-wise...

  • Re:misconception (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saihung (19097) on Monday April 17, 2006 @12:11PM (#15142699)
    Unfortunately, what you say sarcastically isn't that far from true. Factories in China with foreign management are perfectly capable of churning out new VWs, Citroens, etc that look and drive just fine. But let's take the old Beijing Jeep debacle as an example: when Jeep actually had a say in the manufacture of Chinese Jeeps, they were basically up to the (more or less dubious, but still) quality standards of American-made Jeeps. As soon as Jeep left the business in disgust with their Chinese "partners" who were swindling them out of money and technology, the quality went into the toilet. The exterior panels stayed the same, but the engines were suddenly coming out of military trucks, the 4WD mysteriously disappeared and was replaced with a lousy 2WD drivetrain, they started shaking and rattling, etc. I don't claim to understand why this happens, but I think that it's for one big reason: Chinese understanding of what it means to be a brand is still vastly inferior to that in the West. The state of marketing and advertising in China bears this out. Chinese bosses simply don't understand, and therefore don't have patience for, Western-style marketing. Design counts, sensitivity to market counts, image counts. It took Japanese manufacturers years to figure this out, and when they did they started hiring American designers because they understood their market well enough to know that they didn't understand it very well! (though, to be fair to Japanese manufacturers, they cared about build quality even when no one was looking over their shoulders). If you've ever dealt with Chinese suppliers/executives, then you know it will be years, if ever, before most Chinese companies come to the same kind of understanding.
  • by KC7GR (473279) on Monday April 17, 2006 @12:12PM (#15142708) Homepage Journal
    I think there's a little of both going on. Consider that the 'ThinkPad' name has been a part of IBM for many moons indeed. Suddenly shuffling that name off to Lenovo, a name that I doubt anyone outside of laptop manufacturing circles even knew existed, is bound to cause a bit of a dent.

    The 'misconception' in this situation is two-part. First, Lenovo has, to the best of my knowledge, been building ThinkPads for IBM for at least the last decade or so. Assuming my understanding is accurate, anyone who's ever bought a ThinkPad has already bought a Lenovo-built system.

    The second part is the idea that quality will be lower on Chinese-manufactured products. While this is certainly true in many cases (think cheap hand tools), I don't see it happening here because, again, Lenovo has been building ThinkPads all along. Why would they risk damaging their own market, and possible collateral damage to IBM's rep, by starting to cut corners?

    'Brand loyalty' is a tricky thing. Advertising companies know this, and I think IBM and Lenovo are learning that all over again. The bitter truth of the matter is that the US has sold off an awful lot of its manufacturing base to China, and other foreign investors, most definitely including computer hardware.

    I may not like this trend, but I cannot deny that I have taken advantage of it many times. The motherboards I've been using for the past decade or so (Tyan, usually) were all manufactured in Chinese factories.

    Another example: The surround receiver I just bought (Harman Kardon AV635) was designed in the US, but actually built in China. Used to be that H-K built ALL their amps, tuners, etc. right here in the US.

    In short: How, exactly, does one AVOID Chinese-made electronics? There are darn few US-based electronics manufacturers left, and most of those are in specialty or 'niche' markets.

    Even if an electronic product is made entirely in the US, by a US company, take a look inside. Chances are really good that you'll find transistors from Japan, capacitors from Korea or China, and plastic parts from Lord only knows where.

    It's (unfortunately) unavoidable. The whole thing reminds me a bit of a Monty Python animation which shows a secretary drowning in a rising wave of Chinese.

    The best anyone can do is what should always be done: Carefully evaluate multiple brands against your requirements, and pick the best one for the job.

    Keep the peace(es).

  • Re:misconception (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Senzei (791599) on Monday April 17, 2006 @12:33PM (#15142847)
    But the contrast between Thinkpad and Dell et al is the price. Chinese made products are made because of the Wal-Mart Effect. If it's made in China it's got to be very low in price.

    What part of being made in China mandates that it be low price? Perception? Does a crap computer made by Germans somehow work better than a crap computer made by Chinese? Sure, maybe economic and social conditions over there encourage a "low quality, high volume" business plan, but I seriously doubt that the country as a whole is only capable of working that way.

    I'm sure they are all made on the same street in China, but that kind of a price difference, combined with the relatively short life expectancy of a computer, tends to push me towards the cheaper models.

    You're sure are you? So you have been there and seen it? You have no idea what you are talking about, and your ignorance is even more insulting because you seem to take pride in these ideas. Sure, in aggregate, it may be safe to say that Chinese companies produce low quality products. But to assume from there that Lenovo will produce low quality products is guilt by association, among other kinds of stupidity. I have lost all hope that I will see a week, even a day, go by without someone proving my sig to be right.

  • by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Monday April 17, 2006 @02:10PM (#15143516)
    > It doesn't matter! The entrepeneurial profits stay in America.

    and thats the state you are in now. Companies American in name only while most of the work is outsourced to other countries. It is only a matter of time before they start cutting out the middle man. Or worse the US no longer becomes viable to work in and they just up and move to the EU or another country.

    After all am I going to buy a US laptop for $4000 or Chinese one for 1/10th the cost. Of course the US might start introducing protectionism to stop its consumers from buying the cheaper stuff (bit like US Steel) but it will do nothing but raise the prices of everything at home and lock you off from possible better products at a comparable price.

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