Monday, January 24, 2005

Why I'll never buy a Dell, dude

That's right. America's favorite computer, however that happened, is doing everything it can to stay that way. Cheers, Ashlee.

From The Register:

How Dell made North Carolina beg for business

Published Friday 21st January 2005 01:46 GMT

Any reporter who has covered Dell for a couple of years has heard the stories about the company's iron-fisted negotiating tactics. Dell's size lets it put enormous pressure on partners, suppliers and rivals. Now it seems Dell has extended these Wal-Mart like ways to hammering entire states.

<>Documents unsealed by the North Carolina Department of Commerce show that Dell beat on the state during negotiations around the construction of a new plant in the Triad region, according to a report from the News and Observer. Dell boldly asked government officials to absolve it of paying any taxes at all and demanded that it be considered for government computer purchases. Dell also tried to put patriotic pressure on North Carolina to do anything to keep jobs in the US - an almost comical ploy given that Dell isn't terribly patriotic itself. It employs more foreign workers than it does here in the US.
"Think we're on the brink of a crisis ... other countries get it," Secretary of Commerce Jim Fain wrote in his notes after meeting with a Dell executive.

Fain then recounted that the Dell executive said he was "afraid we're going to get whipped in econ. - not in a war. We truly want to continue in this country. If we can't get states to get creative - or the fed gov't. . . And if we can't make it, who can - we're all about productivity. We need to get to where something happens at the fed level."

The same Dell executive later voiced his displeasure over how long North Carolina was taking to give into the company's demands. Dell also said it wanted "access" to government business in exchange for the plant, the paper reported. In the end, Dell received a stunning $240m package full of tax breaks to bring just 1,500 jobs to North Carolina. Taxpayers will pay the computer giant $15 per PC next year, and over $6 per box for the subsequent decade. Dell can lay off up to 40 per cent of these workers and still receive the government handouts. Not a bad deal for a hard done by cash machine.

North Carolina's Governor Mike Easley also received a gift that is sure to come in handy during future deals. He was given an autographed book from none other than Michael Dell. It's assumed the book was a copy of Direct from Dell: How to make a state beg. Maybe Easley be a better negotiator next time a company comes knocking.®

Foreign workers dominate Dell

Published Wednesday 14th April 2004 03:41 GMT

Dell is doing its part to create jobs in the US, but it's doing an even better job creating jobs overseas.

<>In a recent SEC filing, Dell revealed that 23,800 of its 46,000 employees are currently working outside of US shores. That leaves just 22,200 workers at home. And even though only 36 per cent of its revenue comes from overseas sales, Dell plans to increase the non-US workforce at a rapid rate.

"Dell believes that its ability to attract and retain qualified personnel is critical to its success and achievement of its business plan," the company said in the SEC filing. "Workforce diversity is an essential part of Dell's commitment to quality and the future of Dell."

"Dell has recently established technical and customer support and related operations in India, Panama, Slovakia, Morocco, and China and intends to continue such efforts in other regions throughout the world as its international business continues to expand. Dell also recently established design centers in China and Taiwan."

While Dell presents a rosy pictures of its overseas aspirations, it has run into problems with foreign call center operators that have yet to master the Texan twang. Last year, Dell was forced to shut down corporate call centers in India after a flood of complaints. Here in Australia a number of loyal Dell consumer customers have complained to El Reg about impossible calls to Malaysia. But, hey, they work cheap.

Dell's tip toward a majority of foreign staffers could not come at a worse time for CEO Michael Dell's chums in the Republican Party. The Bush Boys are feeling the heat for a largely jobless economic recovery, which is the last thing you need in an election year.

But it would be hard to fault Dell for not doing his part for the Party. Since 2000, Dell has handed out $706,500 almost exclusively to Republican officials and organizations. (See List)

The folks in Dell's favor include George W., AG Ashcroft, the charming Every Republican is Crucial PAC, Americans for a Republican Majority and "those wild and crazy gays" Rick Santorum. Dell even donated money to his own company at times, according to the figures.

So take it easy on Dell for not doing its part in this jobless recovery. After all, we hear the next Dell Dude auditions are all the rage in Bratislava. ®

Returning The Favor:
Bush Huddles With Big Campaign Donors

WASHINGTON - January 3 - President-Elect George W. Bush’s economics meeting today with 36 key business leaders was studded with major donors to the Bush presidential campaign and the Republican Party, an analysis of contributions by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics has revealed. In all, the business leaders gave a combined $1.7 million in personal contributions to federal candidates and political parties – 93 percent of it to the GOP.

Totals include only the contributions made by the executives themselves. Contributions from their family members, or from their corporations, are not included.

All but five of the business leaders contributed $1,000 or more in the recent elections, based on data released by the Federal Election Commission on Dec. 1, 2000. Sixteen of them gave $10,000 or more, and six gave $100,000 or more. The Bush presidential campaign received $26,655 from the executives.

The top donors in the economic group were:

John T. Chambers of Cisco Systems - $372,500. Included in that total is $68,500 that went to the Democrats – the most given to that party by any of the executives in the group.

Kenneth L. Lay of Enron Corp. - $318,050.

Michael S. Dell of Dell Computer - $266,000.

Gerald Parsky of Aurora Capital Partners - $237,755.

John M. Hennessy of Credit Suisse First Boston - $147,000.

Robert E. Rich Jr. of Rich Products Corp (and chairman of Grocery Manufacturers of America) - $105,300.

The only executive in the group who gave more money to Democrats than Republicans was Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon Communications. Seidenberg gave $16,000 to Democrats and just $9,000 to Republicans. He was the only one in the group who donated to Al Gore’s presidential campaign. (He gave $2,000 to Gore and $2,000 to Bush)

Read the full article at Common Dreams

Dude, you're gettin' a draft