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Microsoft Businesses

Microsoft Resurrects the Title of President 112

theodp writes: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promoted General Counsel Brad Smith to president and chief legal officer Friday, the first time Microsoft has had a company-wide president since 2002. Smith has been Microsoft's point person on convincing Congress of America's tech-worker shortage, an assertion that is disputed by others. At a 2012 forum on STEM education and immigration reform, Smith discussed "producing a crisis" to galvanize action on Microsoft's National Talent Strategy, which calls for increasing the number of H-1B visas to ostensibly make up for U.S. children's lack of CS-savvy. Coincidentally, a real national K-12 CS and tech immigration crisis emerged shortly thereafter, thanks to the efforts of new deep-pocketed nonprofit organizations like Code.org (headed by Smith's next-door neighbor) and Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC. Smith is a Code.org Board member and a FWD.us 'Major Contributor'. "We took this idea of connecting immigration to education last fall," Smith explained to the Daily Princetonian in 2013, "and when I started in September, we were the only ones talking about it. To have the White House endorse it, to have it embodied in the Senate Bill, to have people in both houses of Congress supporting it means that potentially this is a magic moment for some important steps for education reform as well." While crying crisis wolf to further its agenda has worked well for Microsoft, a Federal judge recently overturned 'emergency' tech immigration changes enacted by Homeland Security in 2008, saying that "the 17-month duration of the STEM extension appears to have been adopted directly from the unanimous suggestions by Microsoft."
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Microsoft Resurrects the Title of President

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  • Oh no (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Another linkfest anti-education diatribe by Theodp. How much is theodp paying to get this garbage posted here?

  • alrighty then. since Resurrects is in the terminology.... then religion is acceptable in discussion. yep, prior art.
  • I'm detecting a certain sameness to the stuff that theodp has been posting. Anyone else notice it?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    End protectionism now. Creating artificial labor shortages when there are tons of people willing to do the work is as bad as artificial subsidies on goods and commodities.
    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @07:53PM (#50516039)
      H-1Bs aren't a "free labor market" though. They're a distortion and an end run around the system, bringing in semi-indentured workers who are largely tied to one job, and unable to freely compete. Supposedly, they're only brought in at a much higher rate of pay than the going rate. In practice, most of them are brought in at the absolute minimum, working for Consulting firms that then contract out for work, so the H-1B isn't "replacing" a US worker at the consulting firm, but the Consulting firm sure as hell is contracting out to replace job duties formerly held by US workers. See the recent bits with Disney and SoCal Edison, for instance.

      I'd much rather have skilled people just being sponsored for green cards, and then allowed to compete. But guess what - Microsoft and Facebook and all these companies aren't actually interested in that, they want H-1Bs. Gee, wonder why that could be.
    • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @10:38PM (#50516569) Homepage Journal
      It's kind of odd that we have this huge shortage of STEM workers, while at the same time, we have tens of thousands of unemployed STEM workers and more getting laid off every day. If only there was some way of using unemployed STEM workers to cure the shortage of STEM workers. But I guess you can't cram a square peg into a square hole.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13, 2015 @07:46PM (#50516003)

    But, the summary sounds just a wee bit similar [slashdot.org] to

    this one [slashdot.org].

    And this one [slashdot.org].

    Oh, and there's this one [slashdot.org].

    Not to mention this one [slashdot.org].

    Maybe you missed this one [slashdot.org]?

    Or how about this one [slashdot.org]?

    Because Theodp [slashdot.org] doesn't have [slashdot.org] any sort of agenda [slashdot.org], does he [slashdot.org]?

    Nahhh... [slashdot.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Even if there is some bias, at least those submissions are relevant to technology. We should be thankful that they're at least about software and the software industry. There's a Slashdot imitation site, called SoylentNews, which has a particular user (gewg_) who repeatedly submits extremely biased, far-left submissions. These often link to sketchy articles and sites that even fellow lefties think are way too questionable, and not to be taken seriously. Even worse, most of these submissions have absolutely

      • it's ALL about USA POLITICS, mostly immigration politics.

        usa immagration policies ARE NOT TECH NEWS. and extremely boring for someone who has no interest in moving to USA. like, wtf, is this news for nerds or news for "I wanna move to USA from Calcutta" ? da fuq?

    • Who gives a shit? I like the fact that companies are stressing how important learning to code is to kids in K-12. What agenda are you trying to imply other than "coding is good"? I support teaching children at least the basics of coding.

      The only thing you could be pushing is that companies want more H1-B's so they can get cheap coders, but the fact that they're trying to get coding into basic education goes against exactly that.

      • Wow just wow. You don't understand how this works do you. In order to get the more H1B-Visas, Microsoft et.al., need to give the appearance that they give a rats ass about educating American to make up for this false shortage of workers. If you've read any of the article about the subject, it's the carrot to get Congress to increase H1B-Visas.
    • Wow Microsoft trolls are out in full force....
  • Separate H1Bs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kwyj1b0 ( 2757125 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @08:10PM (#50516085)

    As someone who has benefited from the STEM extension, it is strange that they are targeting this, instead of fixing the H1b issue.

    I got my doctoral degree in STEM, and did not get my H1b in the lottery system the first time. If I was forced to leave, the US would have spent nearly half a million dollars on my education, and got one year of tax (not counting my research work, which is freely available to anyone) in return.

    Like most people making use of the STEM extension, I am being paid as much or more than my US co-workers. This isn't a "consulting" gig where I am forced to work for my company at sub-standard wages under pain of getting kicked out of the US - STEM graduates have been educated in renowned US universities, and I had four job offers by the time I graduated.

    I think there should be a different H1b tracks for people who are hired "internally" i.e. the person is already in the US, and was educated here (people who currently benefit from the 17-month STEM extension), and the other type of H1b that I hear exists (where a company brings in people from overseas purely to do a job).

    • In Australia for instance, someone with a local university degree in something useful can just apply for permanent residence as a "skilled migrant". H1B is a guest worker program however, it's for bringing people in to do a specific job at a specific company, not retaining talent in the country, so it's not a particularly good scheme in your case. So I think shutting down the 17 month system makes a bit of sense as it was a loophole to begin with. It's not that it should be a seperate stream, but it should
    • why is the US government spending half a million on someone to go to school here when we have some groups here in america that have a 50% failure rate?

      dont take this wrong, I am happy that you were able to get the education you did, however I just think that money (americans money) would be better spent on educating americans
      • why is the US government spending half a million on someone to go to school here when we have some groups here in america that have a 50% failure rate? dont take this wrong, I am happy that you were able to get the education you did, however I just think that money (americans money) would be better spent on educating americans

        Send that one to Donald Trump . . . he will make a field day out of that one for the rest of his campaign, however long that might last. Meanwhile, Hilary Clinton said she was "So, Sorry!", and that she "wasn't thinking" when she gave the guy half a million.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's called basic research, which is what fuels most of the high-tech industry and is one of the things that the rest of the world would die to get their hands on. You fund the top research, so that your universities get to the top, get the best people, spin off the best startups, attract VC money etc. It's very much a game of reputation which you win by providing the best resources, i.e. reasonable salary and great labs. If the National Science Foundation or the Department of Defense would spend that same

    • There is jackass. There are different Visa programs: O-1 and EB-1. How the fuck did the US government spend $500,000 on your education? Unless you are talking about research grants, in which case they would be available to other researchers, not just you. Move along troll.
      • There is jackass. There are different Visa programs: O-1 and EB-1. How the fuck did the US government spend $500,000 on your education? Unless you are talking about research grants, in which case they would be available to other researchers, not just you. Move along troll.

        O-1 is an extremely hard category to get a visa under. EB-1 is not a visa, it is a permanent residence stream (which is what my employer can file for my green card under, IF they choose). Again, EB-1 is extremely hard to get a green card under - it is for exceptional researchers who are presented as such valuable resources that the country would suffer a significant loss if they weren't allowed to remain (hint, most Ph.D. holders are not, despite what their lawyers might argue).

        As for who was eligible for

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Our new scapegoat.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      I've learned the hard way that scapegoats are in big demand. Just remember to leave your self worth at the door.

  • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @08:54PM (#50516235)

    Smith has been Microsoft's point person on convincing Congress of America's tech-worker shortage, an assertion that is disputed by others

    It's an assertion that's been proven to be utter horseshit. FTFY, BTW.

  • I think I speak for many of us when I say, "Who gives a shit?"

    So they renamed or reshuffled some titles for the goobers at the top, so fucking what?

    If they hadn't put out a press release that slashdot promptly regurgitated, I'd have never known anything had happened.

    "Stuff that matters" indeed.

  • by xeno ( 2667 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @09:41PM (#50516411)

    After all that bluster about security and privacy, ten years of "Trustworthy Computing" and Scott Charney poised to head to some White House role as the voice of Microsoft, it's all fallen apart. Scott's sidelined, TwC effectively disbanded and it's security and privacy groups laid off or rolled into the Windows group, and all the new hot noise and hubub is about sending Brad to grow the army of sheltered Satya-style bro-grammers to churn out even more shit code. So much for the idea of BETTER products; We'll just brace for MORE of the same minimally-tested, designed-by-assumption, cloud-based/bing-telemetry-sucking, insecure dreck. Woohoo.

    The H1B debate is irrelevant; when the direction and mission of the enterprise is so fundamentally disorganized, orthagonal to real-world business use cases, and requires dismantling national labor legal structures, the "need" for more tech workers to get there is a nonsequitur. Microsoft is looking at Google in 2015, with the same curious lack of understanding as IBM looked at Microsoft in the 1990's -- not understanding the landscape itself had changed, and vigourosly agitating for more mainframe system programmers. More H1Bs would make the same difference to Microsoft now as IBM then.

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