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[News] [Rival] Microsoft Asks Obama to Screw Americans

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Microsoft lobbied Obama transition team on high-skilled immigration weeks
before announcing layoffs

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft urged the government to "remove caps that bar entry into the U.S. 
| by high-skilled immigrants," about three weeks before announcing its first 
| companywide layoff, according to a report in BusinessWeek.  
| The request, part of a policy brief written in June 2008 and posted to the 
| Obama-Biden Transition Project Web site in early January, does not represent 
| a new stance for the company, which has long lobbied for changes in U.S. 
| immigration policy around high-skilled workers. But its posting on the new 
| administration's transition Web site came at a sensitive time, against the 
| backdrop of layoffs -- which hit a "significant number" of guest workers at 
| the company -- and pressure on Microsoft by Sen. Chuck Grassley to retain 
| U.S. citizens over similarly qualified guest workers.        


Microsoft: Layoffs for Some, Visas for Others

,----[ Quote ]
| The software giant that has pushed for more H-1B visas faces tough questions 
| as it lays off 5,000 


Microsoft has now a blog for their lobbying:



High Rate of H-1B Visa Fraud

,----[ Quote ]
| A report released Oct. 8 by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
| (USCIS) reveals that 13% of petitions filed for H-1B visas on behalf of
| employers are fraudulent. Another 8% contain some sort of technical
| violations.
| [...]
| Technology companies, in particular, have come to rely on the H-1B visa
| program to bring in skilled foreign workers to fill jobs that employers claim
| can't be filled with U.S.
| [...]
| Microsoft Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates has twice testified in front of
| Congress on the issue.


Microsoft sings 'O Canada' amid immigration challenges

,----[ Quote
| The new software development center will open somewhere in the
| Vancouver, British Columbia, area and will be "home to software
| developers from around the world," Microsoft said in a statement
| on Thursday.
| "The Vancouver area is a global gateway with a diverse population,
| is close to Microsoft's corporate offices in Redmond, and allows
| the company to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected
| by immigration issues in the U.S.," Microsoft said.


Microsoft laments demise of immigration bill

,----[ Quote ]
| The major immigration reform bill that was heavily lobbied by Microsoft and
| other technology companies was dealt its death blow in the Senate today and
| appears to be done for the next two years at least.  


Study: There Is No Shortage of U.S. Engineers

,----[ Quote ]
| ...a new study from Duke University calls this argument bunk, stating
| that there is no shortage of engineers in the United States, and
| that offshoring is all about cost savings.


Is There a Shortage of U.S. Tech Workers?

,----[ Quote ]
| Speaking before a Senate committee earlier this month, Gates said
| that America is facing a critical shortage of tech workers. He
| recommended boosting the number of H-1B visas to allow more foreign
| tech workers into the U.S.
| [...]
| "I think that has created an environment where the population of advanced
| skill workers has shrunk a lot in the U.S., because we just haven't created
| a fair system," he says. "Where if you go to other countries, you'll find
| national policy around broadband deployment, which creates a much more even
| playing field for people of all income levels to learn by and work by."
| "We did it to ourselves," he says.


Visas for High-Tech Workers Draw Query

,----[ Quote ]
| Two senators are questioning several companies about their use
| of a visa program for highly skilled workers.
| [...]
| The high-tech industry has long complained that too few visas are
| available. Microsoft Corp. is among a group of companies that has
| pushed for increasing the available visas.


Gates calls for 'infinite' H-1Bs, better schools

,----[ Quote ]
| Politicians indicated they're also willing to take cues from Gates
| as they craft new laws in the immigration area. In his testimony,
| Gates said there's only one way to solve what he deemed a
| "crisis"-level shortage of qualified scientific talent: "Open our
| doors to highly talented scientists and engineers who want to live,
| work and pay taxes here."


Bill Gates to address Senate panel

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to descend on Capitol Hill
| next week to pepper a U.S. Senate committee with his suggestions for
| boosting American competitiveness.


Politics and tech companies: follow the money

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft took first place with $651,100 given out, while
| Hewlett-Packard gave only $185,550, and Gateway gave a paltry
| $2,000. Microsoft's donations certainly illustrate well the true
| size of the company and the extent of its political concerns.
| [...]
| For instance, Microsoft's PAC spent $1.7 million in the 2006 election
| cycle, but only a third of this went to federal candidates. What
| happened to the rest? It went to local campaigns, paid out a few
| thousand dollars at a time to groups like "Boal for Iowa House" in
| Ankeny, IA. It also funded other PACs like the "Associated Republicans
| of Texas" and the "Blue Dog Political Action Committee." No race is
| apparently too small to be funded; even Indiana State Representative
| Terri Austin of Anderson, IN got $500.
| Lobbyists
| But the real money isn't even given to the candidates directly. It
| goes to lobbyists, which can be safer investments since they stand no
| chance of losing at the polls. The complete-year figures from 2005
| show that Microsoft spent $8.7 million on lobbyist expenses. Almost
| a million dollars of that money went to Covington & Burling, a
| lobbying firm that also represents the National Football League and
| the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America. Microsoft's
| total spending on lobbying has risen substantially from the $4
| million it spent in 1998.
| [...]
| Where does it come from?
| Although some of this money comes from large employee donations,
| most of it does not. Take Microsoft, for instance; the Center for
| Responsive Politics says that the company received only $302,599
| from individual donors who gave more than $200 in this election
| cycle, only a small fraction of the $1.7 million actually spent.
| As is typical, much of this money came from the company's top
| brass, while the rest was made up of small contributions.
| The maximum individual contribution to a PAC is $5,000 a year.
| Melinda, whose occupation is listed in Federal Election Commission
| records as "homemaker," regularly contributes this amount, as does
| Bill. Steve Ballmer coughed up, too. Microsoft can use general
| company funds to support the PAC and its operations, but cannot
| give directly to candidates.

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