The People Eaters
The Clinton administration is seriously considering opening the gates to a huge
increase in H1-B immigration permits starting this year. Why? Because the high-tech
industries, particularly those companies that are highly leveraged in PCs, are desperate
to find talented, well-educated workers. At least that's their story.
The real reason for all this hustling and schmoozing for special considerations
is because computers, particularly Windows-based PCs, have a dirty little secret
that almost nobody outside of IBM foresaw: as the number of PCs in an organization
rises, the management costs rise exponentially. To a company that has failed to
standardize on an enterprise-capable system like OS/2, that is indeed a frightening
As consultant Mike Stephen explained in a *WarpCity* commentary, WindowsNT just
can't handle the workload that Warp and WarpServer can. If it takes ten times as
many Windows machines to perform the duties of one WarpServer, as in Mike's example,
then management complexity is now on the order of one hundred times more difficult
and expensive for Windows than for the OS/2 choice. As a company continues its growth
pattern, that complexity margin will continue to grow as well.
Since the imported workers -- mostly college fresh-outs and students -- are not
Cobol veterans, the issue here is not a Year2000 problem. What industry wants and
needs right now, and desperately so, is fresh meat for the People Eaters, Windows95
and WindowsNT. Fresh, young minds to be put to work trying to figure out Windows
problems. Fresh, young bodies able to work extra hours, without the need for high
pay scales or worker benefits.
So in their mad rush to downgrade to NT, upper management has reached a point of
diminishing returns. At the epicenter of the debate about tight labor markets, increased
immigration quotas, and perma-temp workforces is the technological decision between
OS/2 and Windows -- a decision that for political reasons is often simply rubber-stamped.
The People Eaters are running out of fresh meat, while companies that have standardized
on OS/2 are able to manage their networks comfortably with minimal workforces. The
OS/2 advantage will continue to grow as the numerical size and the transaction rates
of networks continue to grow.
Who knows? Maybe in a year or two, some of these companies will wise up and dump
NT, before it's too late. This is not the kind of problem that throwing cheap labor
at is going to fix.
Most recent revision: March 13, 1998
Copyright © 1998, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.