Other U.S. IT firms have expanded in India as well to take advantage of lower wage rates and its educated workforce, so IBM is hardly alone here. IBM has also expanded in India because of the opportunity created by that country's economic growth. Although IBM does not provide specific breakouts of its business in India, it has made a steady stream of customer announcements ranging from data centers projects, to hardware and software platforms, as well as services at a string of major Indian firms, including Tulip Telecom, Nakoda Textiles, DPSC (Dishergarh Power), Ester industries, and Thriveni Earthmovers.
IBM does report revenue growth for the so-called BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China. In its last full fiscal year, 2011, it said revenues in those countries increased 19 percent, while revenues in the Americas were up 7 percent.
The Indian IT market is about $100 billion, according to Nasscom, an India-based industry group -- a relatively small amount. IBM last year reported its full year Americas' revenues at nearly $45 billion, and total revenues at nearly $107 billion.
Former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano outlined his vision for India in 2006, in Bangalore before 10,000 IBM employees. It called for attacking the challenge from Indian services firms on two fronts, by reducing the cost of services as well as positioning the company as a top IT provider in India.
Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, believes the impact of IBM's outsourcing model on the company's bottom line shows up in the cost of goods sold, which includes labor costs, which went from 57 percent in 2003 to 47 percent in 2011.
IBM is a "good microcosm for the American economy," said Hira, "with increasing corporate profits, higher stock prices, and a weak U.S. labor market."
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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