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Comment Re:have a high H1B minwage / let them work anywher (Score 1) 566

Because the O has other requirements. You basically have to prove that you're in the top 1-2% of your field. Substantially higher salary (on the order of 30% or so) is one of the ways you can prove this, but isn't enough on its own. Additionally, they kind of expect you to have a lot of experience. A raving genius fresh out of college may be able to light the world on fire with their abilities, but they won't have the qualifications needed for an O visa, because they'd lack the experiential requirements.

It's a case of the problem: some companies are abusing H1-B while others — who, let's assume, are playing fair and are NOT trying to suppress wages — are trying to bring in top talent with which to build their companies (say, enough to be the next Google, Microsoft, or Apple) but can't because of all those bad actors flooding the system. If we accept that bringing in great people to become US residents, taxpayers, and eventually immigrants and/or citizens in their own right, is general a good thing for the economy (i.e. a 'brain drain' in favour of the US) then it makes sense to limit the actions of those abusing the system while enabling those who will use it to provide an ultimate economic benefit. In that case, we have a lower cap for those who try to game the system, and we remove some obstacles from the paths of those who are deemed to be doing the right things as intended by those who drafted the laws in the first place

Comment Re:have a high H1B minwage / let them work anywher (Score 1) 566

Having met quite a lot of them, I've yet to discover one that's actually paid any less than their American (or green-card-holding) counterparts.

Where have you met them? Some companies are actually pretty good about that, but it's far from universal.

I've no doubt of that :o) My point was simply that I have an anecdote that is the opposite of yours, and that if anecdotes were all we could offer, then we're neither here nor there.

As for where, I've been in the industry a long time, and I've networked around and worked with a great many people. Generally, when I run into an H-1B worker, they're pretty damned good at what they do, and are quite high on the food chain in their organization. Anecdotal, yes, but still an experience contrary to your assertion.

my salary is a little under double that of 70% of the people with the same job ('Software Engineer') within the same company

How did you get such precise statistics about the salary distribution for your employer?

Glassdoor. One of the stipulations for my O visa was that I be able to show I had been or would be paid a substantially higher salary than others in my field. For my former company there weren't enough people on there to make a good sample, but there were plenty on there for my new employer. My salary fell a little above middle of the overall range, but of 300-odd data points, only three or four were higher than mine. 75% of the salaries reported there were at least $50k lower than mine.

That's what I provided, initially, anyway. I suggested to the lawyers that they take this information to my new employer because they could provide a more accurate number to USCIS in this regard. Since it was a compelling argument which was likely to secure my work visa, they did.

I didn't get to personally see that piece of paper though ;o)

Comment Re: seems like a back door (Score 1) 566

The O series gives you an initial 3 years (same as the H-1B) and can be extended annually forever - that makes it more generous than the H-1B, so why do you want an H-1B? With an O series you can also apply for a green card the day you get here.

The O is not a dual-purpose visa. I'm only allowed to work so long as I do so with NO immigration intent. The H class is the only dual-purpose visa the US provides, and is thus the only one that allows a foreign worker to apply while working in the US.

As it stands, since I have an O, I should *theoretically* be able to get an EB-1 green card, which is a lot easier and quicker to obtain than the usual skilled worker class. So I'm very lucky in that sense.

You do realize that it can take upwards of 20 years to get a green card, right?

Under what circumstances? (makes a big difference). Also it sounds like the queue is pretty full, so we can get all the immigrants we want. What's the problem from the POV of the US?

Family Class, Second Preference (although I discovered today that I'm actually third preference as I'm married, which likely makes matters worse). British citizens in that category currently have a 19-year wait before their application even begins to be processed.

my father is a US Citizen ... like it or not, there's a large global community now.

If there's such a global community, why should the US be biased towards you just because your father is a US citizen? Many people on this blog complain that Americans want special privileges, and it's true of you too.

I'm here because I'm among the best in my field.

Credentials please.

Look me up. My real name's Jim Dovey, and I go by 'alanQuatermain' all over the place, including Twitter, StackOverflow, Github, etc. I've been doing deep-dive stuff inside OS X since 2001, I used to get hired to consult for companies that were starting to do iOS programming when the iOS SDK was in limited beta. I've also been a big player in the eBook world, working on papers and standards for the IDPF (home of EPUB, at which I now hold the position of 'Invited Expert') and the W3C, where I was for a while a member of the CSS, XML, and XML-Security working groups. I'm a founding member of the Readium Foundation and the chief author of the EPUB3 SDK developed there; I remain on the Foundation's board today, though I no longer hold a full-time job within the eBook industry.

You can't expect the US to compete if they can't attract the best & brightest from around the world

Since you haven't provided credentials, why should I believe you are among the "best & brightest"?

Two things:

  1. *You* aren't required to believe that, since you're not considering me for a position at your company. If you were, then looking through my resume, my portfolio, and even interviewing me in person would convince you of that fact. It's pretty difficult to get across how good or bad you are at something in just a few words on Slashdot, you know.
  2. I'm not really referring to myself. I'm referring to the non-US candidates interviewed for positions such as mine at the company for which I work, where they are very adamant that they will only hire the best, and they are very very thorough about doing so.

BTW, do you realize that the term "the best and the brightest" is ironic, right? It was the name of a book by David Halberstam explaining how the vaunted geniuses in the White House got us sucked into the Vietnam War. You may want to find another phrase to modestly describe yourself.

I was unaware of that. Being from England, where it's been used non-ironically as a phrase for as long as my grandparents could remember, I was unaware of that connotation.

is it your assertion that no-one from outside the US couple possibly have anything to contribute?

Of course not, but the only people we genuinely need are those who are tops in their fields. Otherwise we have plenty of home grown talent, and the H-1B program exists to suppress their wages. I assure you that most H-1B's are very far from the best in their fields.

I highly doubt that your anecdotal experience has any more weight than my own. There are plenty of immigrants where I work right now, and they're all very very good at what they do. Freakishly, embarrassingly so, at times— as someone who's used to being able to run circles around most of his co-workers with little trouble.

I find it very hard to believe that the purpose of the H1-B program is to suppress Americans' wages. It *looks* like its purpose is to allow foreign workers to enter the US, contribute to the economy, and apply for permanent residency. Again, the H visa is the only nonimmigrant visa the US provides which allows the holder to both work *and* apply for a green card. In all other cases, the holder is required to leave the US both in order to apply for a green card and to wait for it to be processed— for however many years that may take.

Comment Re: seems like a back door (Score 4, Interesting) 566

My father is the son of a WW2 veteran from Colorado. Though he'd been trying to locate his father since the 1960's, none of the US institutions ever deigned to reply to him, so it was only recently that we were able to trace the family.

A DNA test proved conclusively and beyond a doubt that my grandfather was this US citizen, and thus my father is considered to have been a US citizen since his birth in 1945.

I'm over 21 and I'm married, so I'm third-preference Family Class. The waiting list for that one is in excess of 20 years right now, which means I could get my green card round about the age of 57. Oh, but my father can't sponsor me until he's lived in the US for five full years, so if he (age 69) moves to the US right now, then I *might* get a green card by the time I'm 62 years old and about to retire.

That's *just* what you all want, right? For me to move here in time to retire & live off a pension? [/sarcasm]

Comment Re:have a high H1B minwage / let them work anywher (Score 1) 566

This. If you set the minimum H1B wage at 120% of the average wage in that area for that type of work and experience, then we can have confidence that the purpose of H1B is to fill skill shortages. By allowing them to be employed for less than the going rate of a local, employers are just encouraged to find loopholes to enable them to employ lower wage workers. And by not tying them to a specific job, you remove the ability of employers to find other ways to abuse the system (such as paying them 120% of the average wage to work 150% of the average hours) since the employee can always go elsewhere.

This is actually almost how it's supposed to work now— one of the requirements is that the applicant (the employer) submit evidence that shows they are paying a fair market wage for the employee, and are not expecting them to undertake greater working hours than local workers. Hell, in my experience in the tech industry, everyone works equally long hours, local or not.

Additionally, once you've got an H-1B you are exempt from the cap any time you renew or change circumstances— and that includes changing employers. Your new employer still needs to file the paperwork, sure, but you're not going to be stuck because the country won't let any more people in this year.

In fact, I would be quite happy if the government would have a 'cap-exempt' category of H visas requiring more stringent processing and with stricter qualifying rules similar to the O visa, such as being paid significantly above the norm for the role you're taking on. If the company can meet these tougher guidelines, then the cap is lifted.
In that case, it would make sense to drop the cap, thus lowering the number of uses of these visas for bringing in cheap foreign labour.

As for spouses working - if someone is good enough to import for their labour skills, at least have the decency to treat them and their family like you would anyone else. If you think this will have an adverse impact on the local labor market, then you probably shouldn't be letting them in in the first place.

Absolutely in agreement. I've spent ten years in Canada, and during all that time my wife has had an open work visa. It's understood that most couples these days need to bring in two salaries to make ends meet (although in all fairness the US' married-filing-jointly helps there by amortizing the family income over two peoples' tax allowances). I've just moved to California to work for a big tech company. I'm paid a pretty high salary — about 40% higher than I was in Toronto — but with the cost of living here (I'm paying twice the rent for less than half the space here) it's actually a stretch. When my American co-workers get to eat out all the time, I just can't afford that because my salary is all we have to feed my family of four.
In Canada, even thought my wife wasn't bringing in a great deal of money (maybe about $30k/yr) that was enough to pay for food for us all, meaning my salary could go toward things like the replacement of the suspension in our car when that broke (twice, at a cost of about $1200 each time).

Comment Re:have a high H1B minwage / let them work anywher (Score 2) 566

I've seen plenty of people on /. decrying the fact that H-1B workers are horribly underpaid. Having met quite a lot of them, I've yet to discover one that's actually paid any less than their American (or green-card-holding) counterparts.

I myself am in the US on an O-1A visa, and my salary is a little under double that of 70% of the people with the same job ('Software Engineer') within the same company.

On the other hand, I have been told a number of times in my past that though I was good enough for the position overall, I wasn't good enough to merit the overhead of their doing immigration. In other words: "If you were American, we'd hire you, but since you're not, we need to hold you to a higher standard to match our higher outlay to take you on— and you don't quite meet that bar, sorry."

Comment Re: seems like a back door (Score 5, Interesting) 566

"Get a green card and move on in"? You do realize that it can take upwards of 20 years to get a green card, right? That's my case, and my father is a US Citizen. Right now I'm here on an O visa, and I've been approved for this year's H1-B lottery, so I'll soon be allowed to apply for a green card without resigning from my job. Only H1 visas allow you to work *and* immigrate. If I stayed without an H visa I could still apply, but I'd have to give up working in the US for something like 8-12 years while I wait for my application to be processed. I'm here because I'm among the best in my field. I also earn a good six-figure salary, so I'm definitely not here to help my employer cut any costs. Like it or not, there's a large global community now. You can't expect the US to compete if they can't attract the best & brightest from around the worldâ" or is it your assertion that no-one from outside the US couple possibly have anything to contribute?

Comment Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (Score 1) 660

Jumping to other platforms isn't likely to help much. Most purchases come through iOS, so it's highly unlikely that supporting many other devices (which Kobo does) is going to offset the losses on the iOS platform. Additionally, Apple is directly competing with us. That means that we're not just losing our profits, we're actually giving them all to one of our biggest competitors.

Comment Re:The answer is obvious (Score 1) 660

30% of the gross, 100% of the net.

Also remember that this is gross vs. net revenue, not profit. You get no support from Apple when you sell content via in-app purchase. You still need to host the content and pay the bandwidth costs. The only difference when switching to IAP, therefore is that you can no longer offer to make an iOS user's purchases available to them on a non-iOS device, because you never find out who purchased what from you. The way around that, of course, is to still require that the user create an account for your platform, but then you're duplicating everything to do with that account— once for IAP, once for your own records. In other words, using IAP places an increased burden on anyone trying to be a good device- or system-agnostic vendor.

Comment Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (Score 4, Interesting) 660

You must sell books from major publishers at the same price as Apple does.

Which is entirely wrong. You can't see books cheaper than Apple does, you can certainly charge MORE. This is a rather common thing in retail.

Under the new 'Agency Model', the publishers set the end-user price. They set that price at $10, and you, as an agent, get $3 of that. You can't change your prices up or down. Only the publisher can do that.

Those publishers must give you exactly 30% commission.

Apple does not say that anywhere, nor do they have ANY control over who much you pay to license content from others. This is just bellyaching and lies.

Sort of. They indeed can't affect how much you pay to license content. However, they don't need to: publishers no longer 'license' content— they give a fixed commission to sales agents. Many publishers give a different amount. Unfortunately, it's most commonly less than 30%. 30% is, in fact, the highest commission the publishers give any sales agents these days. So most booksellers will be getting perhaps $1.50 or $2 commission from that $10 book. But still, Apple will take $3 from them, meaning they have to pay $1 - $1.50 to the publishers out of their own pockets. Which is unsustainable, when it happens on every single bit of income your company makes (or a high enough percentage of it, like, say, more than 30% of your revenue sources).

iOS booksellers have to give 30% of their revenue to Apple.

Yea, and if you have even the slightest clue about the retail world, you'll know that when you put your shit in someones store, they take a cut. 30% is pretty much THE standard amount. In big box retail, there are times when you end up paying more to be in the store, per item, than your item costs total. Its not just a loss to be in the store, you're actually loosing more than just the cost of your item!

They're not selling books through Apple's store, though. They're selling software. And they're happy to let Apple have 30% of the price of the software, since Apple hosts it on their servers, advertises it, etc. The situation you describe would suggest that if I created an eReader device and sold that at a Wal-Mart, then Wal-Mart should be able to claim a percentage of all money I make through that device. Which is wrong— they sold my eReader, so they got their commission on that. They can sell gift cards for it, and get commission on those. But they don't get commission on anything they're not involved with.

The problem, however, lies with the eBooks being sold. Apple doesn't do anything with those. You have to pay someone like Microsoft or Amazon for Azure or S3 storage, or you have to run your own server farm (trust me, 3 million eBooks needs an awful lot of space). You then need to look at CDNs so your customers on the other side of the world can pull down content as fast as your local ones. You need to hire lawyers to negotiate with the publishers, since Apple doesn't do that for you.

In the end, what is Apple charging 30% for? What service are they providing that is worth so much?

Credit card transaction handling.

That's it. They don't host anything, they don't pay for bandwidth costs, they don't help with acquisition. They don't even do a great deal to help you get customers, since they're actively trying to lure your customers away to their competing software offering.

There is no enforced 0% profit margin, though I'll admit, why would you buy from someone other than the iBookstore if the iBookstore is the cheapest, but thats just business. Don't like it? Sell on someone elses device or make your own. Ever heard of Windows Mobile, Android, or BlackBerry?

Sure. The company I work for sells eBooks on just about every platform going. iOS is still more than 30% of our user base, and is likely more than 50% of our sales.

So we drop iOS and we could potentially (i.e. I don't really know the numbers, I just overhear the conversations) find ourselves barely breaking even on the other platforms all together.

It's a shame, sure, but iOS is where the money is. Without that, it can be difficult to pull in enough revenue to keep your company going at all.

Comment Re:Does it have to be at the same price? (Score 4, Informative) 584

If the book comes from a publisher using Agency model, then the publisher chooses the end-consumer price, and the distributor (agent) cannot change it. The publisher takes 70% of the consumer price, and the remaining 30% goes to the distributor. Apple would be charging the distributor 100% of their revenue in this case, since they would take 30% of the consumer price.

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