BOSTON, MASS. -- An unknown group is urging Bostonians and hotel guests to boycott Macworld. The group is driving a large billboard trailer around the streets of downtown Boston around the convention center area asking people to "Say no to Macworld," and to "save our jobs." The billboard also urges people to call the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority to complain.
At issue is a comment from Pat McGovern -- the founder of IDG, the company that owns and operates Macworld -- in an interview from March of this year saying that outsourcing was good for the technology industry. In that interview with Computerworld, Mr. McGovern was quoted as saying the following:
Q: Do you think offshore outsourcing will have a net positive impact or a negative impact on the U.S. IT
A: industry? Outsourcing will definitely be a benefit to the U.S. IT industry. Outsourcing reflects the globalization of labor. It will take several decades, but eventually there will be equal pay for equal work all over the world. It is only fair that human beings are rewarded for their work in comparable ways. This process will allow the IT industry to benefit from the most skilled people available at the most competitive rates of compensation.
According to an IDG spokesperson, the comments are being taken out of context. According to the spokesperson, IDGis position is that outsourcing is bad for the US and the tech industry, and that Mr. McGovern was simply saying that making skills and pay comparable worldwide will end up benefiting the US.
"IDG has been an international company since the early 1970s," said Howie Sholkin, Dir. of Corp. Comm. of International Data Group, told The Mac Observer (TMO). "But our philosophy has always been to not move a lot of US jobs internationally and to hire local people. So we donit outsource blocks of IDG jobs to outside countries."
He added, "Mr. McGovern truly believes the US will remain more than competitive with the rest of the world through education and innovation."
The subject of outsourcing has gained considerable traction amongst labor groups and the media in the last few years as many of Americais largest corporations have begun exporting high-paying technology jobs to India, and to a lesser extent China. This is in addition to manufacturing outsourcing that has continued apace for the last two decades.
Adding to the discussion has been conflicting opinions from economists, including White House economists, and labor experts that have in turn supported or disproved the notion that outsourcing is good for the US. CNN anchor Lou Dobbs has also spotlighted the subject during the last year, including regularly listing companies that CNN has confirmed are outsourcing jobs. Apple is one of the companies on that list, which can be viewed from the Lou Dobbs Tonight home page.
The billboard, which can be seen at the .Mac HomePage of loug, does not make it clear who is being targeted by the campaign, or why. Mr. Sholkin says his company does not yet know who is behind the billboard, and TMO is attempting to find out more about the group and its aims.