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Static Over H-1B Visas

Readers reacted heatedly to "Microsoft: Layoffs for Some, Visas for Others" (, Feb. 1), about Microsoft's lobbying Congress for an expanded H-1B visa program even amid U.S. tech layoffs. Some said the program for skilled immigrant workers should be suspended until joblessness eases at home. Others said if there were no H-1B workers, companies would just outsource more jobs. —Moira Herbst

The time has come to suspend the H-1B program until the economy recovers. I'm a qualified IT worker, and can't understand why I have to compete with a foreigner for an American job.

Screen name: Unemployed US Citizen

I understand the frustration, but I'm a product manager and we must make tough decisions to get the best quality at the lowest cost. The alternative is outsourcing. While H-1B isn't perfect, it keeps wages in the U.S.

Screen name: daghan

Sure, the H-1B program needs to be reformed, but for now the government has enough to worry about. The cap [on the number of skilled immigrants allowed in] is a small number compared with the job losses we've had.

Screen name: Mark

These big companies will take advantage of this downturn to fire workers who are getting paid well in order to replace them with H-1Bs at a lower salary.

Screen name: G Rod

Embracing "flat world" [capitalism] when we want to sell and not when we have to compete is hypocrisy.

Screen name: jdenver

Corporate Boards: Oversight Should Be Job No. 1

"Of Boards and Blame" (The Welch Way, Jan. 26/Feb. 2) defends boards that fail to rein in the chief executives at their companies, opining that corporate boards are just there to "hire and fire CEOs."

If so, they are the highest-paid human resource managers in the world, most of them receiving more than $100,000 per year for their "one or two days" of work every month.

These are the people charged with auditing the activities of a company to protect its shareholders. If there is no oversight, why have a board of directors?

Thomas Baranski


Great Ideas Are Born at Small Outfits

"Is Silicon Valley Losing Its Magic?" (Cover Story, Jan. 12) rightly points out a number of conditions that need to change to boost innovation—funding for advanced computer science and electrical engineering research, for instance. But there's another prerequisite. Game-changing ideas have often come from small companies—think Apple (AAPL) or Google (GOOG) in their early days. So to continue as a global leader in innovation, the U.S. must ensure that the technology industry operates in a fair and competitive marketplace through the enforcement of antitrust measures.

Hector Ruiz, Executive Chairman

Advanced Micro Devices


What a Brand Name Communicates

I think it's a bad idea for FedEx Kinko's to drop the Kinko's name ("What FedEx Isn't Delivering," What's Next, Dec. 29/Jan. 5). Despite the belief of CEO Brian Philips that FedEx is an "elastic brand," most people still associate the FedEx name with deliveries, not office services. In an economic downturn, people gravitate to the familiar.

Factor in the cost of all that new signage, and I say keep the Kinko's moniker.

Karen Ann DeLuca


How About 'More Time with the Family'?

The euphemisms for being fired vary not only by country but also by one's rank. ("Rosy Words For Pink Slips," BTW, Dec. 22). Executive officers leave to "pursue other interests"; peons are often laid off to "reduce expenses." Management has its privileges, even when you're fired.

Nelson Marans


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