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Software Quality

I always take the pro-america stance in these debates about offshoring: "Those overseas guys don't know what they are doing!"

But today I realized that almost all of my favorite pieces of software that I use regularly were made outside the US by foreigners.

The software is more stable, has a better UI, has more of the features I want. Cost is affordable too.

Examples - all the music software and softsynths I use. I have a couple music programs made in the US and they are of poor stability and not very efficient so I never use them. This is about $10,000 worth of software altogether.

My web browser is made overseas.

My email client is made overseas.

My cell phone is made overseas.

All the good software seems to be made overseas!

Stuff I have made in the US is unstable, bloated and difficult to use.

What if what happened to Detroit were to happen to Silicon Valley? Eh, better think fast because my friends, it has already happened.

Oh and just as a point of interest, none of this software I like is made in India  or China. But I do think the fact that american software is of such terribly poor quality gives India a chance to come in and compete in quality. Unfortunately, they are competing on price instead.

Note that Japan was no threat to the US automotive industry until they stopped competing on price and started competing on quality.

Most americans will pay good money for software that does what it says it does, is stable and fast and easy to use. There is a real opportunity here. The US software industry is a basket case of incompetant prima donnas, braggarts, low quality and overpriced goods. This is a great chance for people to jump in and take over the market.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Sunday, August 01, 2004

Read : The innovator's Solution

Making an "almost good enough" product leaves a company room to improve.

Making a good enough product risks "overserving the customer". The customer loves it, but the company has no room to improve.  They either get disrupted by someone offering a "just good enough" but cheaper product or thier product gets commoditized (competition).

So... a "great product" that completely satisfiest the customer is great for the customer, but sucks for the company.

Look at Ecco Pro. they delivered a superior product back in the 90s. It's still better than most PIMs. But the company is out of business. In the end, that hurts the customer it just takes longer.

However, if, as you say, the offshore folks are making better stuff then MORE POWER TO THEM. I'd love to hire ecoomical offshore talent.  Or I'd like them to make a good PIM. I'll buy it in a second.

Mr.Analogy
Sunday, August 01, 2004

You're talking mostly about German software companies?

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, August 02, 2004

Actually, the offshore stuff is more expensive. And higher quality. On tho music software side, there really is no US competition left. The higher quality software made overseas has driven most of the companies making low quality american software out of business in the field.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

Germany, Russia, Sweden, Romania, Japan. All good stuff.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

"I'd love to hire ecoomical offshore talent."

See Mr. Analogy, that is a very nice pipe dream, but if you can't afford to pay for good quality american programmers, you certainly won't be able to pay the higher rates that would be commanded by high quality foreign developers. Of course  that they own their own companies and aren't really looking to do work on the side because they are so busy making and selling software that is many times better than anything you can have developed in the US.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

What's the name of the software you used?

Garibald
Monday, August 02, 2004

Anyway, what do you think about my detroit analogy? How many years before the US software industry is totally irrelevant? Has it already happened? I think it might have.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

Garibald, which software do you mean? I don't want to list hundreds of foreign products...

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

1. Detroit isn't irellevant.
2. It's a better analogy than the standard garment workers analogy.
3. It's always wrong to state something like this absolutely.
4. What programs?

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, August 02, 2004

Oh, I even have a couple of very nice pieces of French software as well so let's include them in the mix as well.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

1. music programs

2. My web browser is made overseas.

3. My email client is made overseas.

4. My cell phone is made overseas.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, August 02, 2004

Detroit isn't irrelevant? How do you mean?

Name a single car that is built in Detroit. Oh wait, there isn't one.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

Well I'm certainly not talking about Studio Vision Pro, or ProTools, but of which are made in the US and are shitty products.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

Oh MarkTaw, are you Garibald now?

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

Web browser - Germany
Email client - Japan
Cell phone - Finland
Music programs - Germany, France, Russia, Romania, Sweden.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

LOL,

What a troll.

>> I don't want to list hundreds of foreign products...

Too many to list, but can't list one?

It's ok. I'm sure all us U.S. programmers will soon be out of a job for making such awfull software.

anon-88
Monday, August 02, 2004

No, but I'd like a list of products so we can judge the quality & reputation for ourselves. I don't want the country it was written in, I want the name of the product itself.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, August 02, 2004

Well let's start then with Native Instruments Reaktor from Germany and you can tell us how horrible it is. We'll then try Absynth out of France and you can complain about how it is not as efficient as somethign you are using. Let's check out Spektral Delay and Kontakt as well as the FM7. We'll throw in the rest of the Native Instruments line, continue with the entire LinPlug line, and then move to evenything written by Steinberg including the VST plugin standard. Then we got Reason of course which I'm sure you'll list a long list of complaints against and insistings that your garageband or whatever it is you use is far more powerful.

Cellphone by Nokia of course.

Any more listing and you'll be able to find my weblog with a google so I'll stop.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

Naturally my car is made in Japan and has given me no troubles over the 475,000 miles I've driven it, though I did have to replace the engine once.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

Now MarkTaw old boy, tell us what you mean when you say Detroit is relevant. Explain how the US car industry is making a comeback.

Afficianado of Quality Goods
Monday, August 02, 2004

Why are you being offensive & defensive?

Maybe you're right about Detroit, I really don't care either way, and it's pretty much irrellevant for the discussion at hand.

And what's wrong with finding your weblog?

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, August 02, 2004

"Cellphone by Nokia of course"

With an OS by Symbian Ltd., of Britain. (Just plugging something I helped write - and it was a fun company to work for.)

The complaint here in Britain (not my complaint - just journalists) is that nearly all the software we use comes from abroad, mostly, in fact, from the USA. The Symbian OS is a notable exception. Nobody with any sense chooses software on the basis of flag-waving, though, apart from governments, which play their usual game of supporting interest groups.

Graham Asher
Monday, August 02, 2004

With an OS by Nokia most probably, since the proportion of Nokia Symbian phones to Nokia non-Symbian phones is small.  Plus Symbian phones haven' t had a large impact in the US yet.

What does it matter where it's made anyway?  A lot of software teams in the US are made up of many nationalities.  I think the company which produced the software is far more relevant.

Furious George
Monday, August 02, 2004

For software made in China,
web browser: MyIE, MyIE2
downloader: netants, flashget
auto-type,intellisense:FlashIME

If above softwares are not good software, I could not understand your definition of Software Quality.

redguardtoo
Monday, August 02, 2004

There is a big difference between an overseas company that envisions and develops software end-to-end, vs. an arrangement in which an overseas company builds software as a "hired hand" for a US- or UK-based firm.  You'll seldom get anything impressive out of the latter situation.

NoName
Monday, August 02, 2004

Agree No Name.
But I cannot tell yet whether the OP was talking about the former or the latter.

ExcuseMyIgnorance
Monday, August 02, 2004

MyIE is based on Internet Explorer.  I guess they just let the Americans do the "easy" work of implementing a programmable HTML renderer / script interpreter.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Detroit has nothing to do with this because it was Detroit that dropped the ball, not that Japan somehow underpriced their cars with lower labor costs to win market share.

"The Reckoning" by Dave Halberstam describes it great. Detroit screwed up by themselves.

Ankur
Monday, August 02, 2004

Funny mentioning driving a car from japan.  Do you now how few of those cars were actually built in japan?  Look at your vin do a little search on the internet to see where your car was made.

Brian
Monday, August 02, 2004

"Detroit isn't irrelevant? How do you mean?

Name a single car that is built in Detroit. Oh wait, there isn't one."

Um, actually that's a complete lie.

While you are right that not all cars (even American ones) are made in metro-Detroit, a large amount of the cars and/or parts factories are still here (and by here I mean I'm from metro-Detroit but go to school at The University of Chicago). You also have to remember the theory of specialization - a long time ago plants would do everything from start to finish, now they may only work on certain parts of the car; but they make things far more productive for both Detroit and the car companies. There were never actually many plants in the actual city limits of Detroit (it is, after all, kind of difficult to place a massive plant in the middle of a city), and the only two I know of are the Detroit Diesel factory (which still exists and runs) and the Model-T factory (which is abandoned, but still stands).

As far as what is still in metro-Detroit -- there's more than just the Detroit Diesel factory. Off the top of my head (and I come from a Ford family, so I know the Ford factories the best) there is still the Wixom plant, the Wayne assembly plant, the Van Dyke Transmission plant, and the River Rouge plant. Oh, and off the top of my head for other things around Detroit - Toledo, OH is home to Jeep; it's well less than an hour from downtown Detroit.

Now that I'm searching around some more, I'll fire off some more ammunition - Daimler has a Sterling Heights plant, GM has a Lansing plant, and a Hamtramck plant.

That was with just a quick Google - there are some more that I'm missing (I think). So say what you will about downtown Detroit, but don't knock metro-Detroit or our lack of car factories -- it still thrives.

Also, I understand that's not your main point of this thread, I just had to come and defend my hometown quickly!

Ian Sefferman
Monday, August 02, 2004

Thanks Ian. ;-)

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, August 02, 2004

Isn't Chrysler's (sorry, DCX's) Conner (sp?) Avenue plant within Detroit proper?  Or is it outside the city limits?  I got to take a tour there once, back when they were building both Prowlers and Vipers there.

(yes, even I, a leftish Green, admit that Vipers are pretty cool.

mmm... Vipers... )

- former car owner in Queens
Monday, August 02, 2004

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