IBM to spend $40M on Russian R&D lab

IBM put its money where its mouth is this week and said it would spend US$40 million over the next three years to hire 200 lab staffers and build an advanced technology laboratory in Russia.

The move is part of what IBM CEO Sam Palmisano calls a "globally integrated enterprise" where money and resources are used to grow new technology and business regardless of location across the globe. Palmisano said recently that large multinational corporations such as IBM, General Motors, Ford and others need to stop treating foreign countries as colonies, keeping the good stuff at home and offshoring the junk to the remote outposts where labor is cheap.

Big Blue has certainly followed up on those thoughts. The Russian lab is the fourth major development operation announced by IBM in recent months. Other new facilities include a Linux Technology Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil; a Solutions & Technology Center in Bangalore, India; and a mainframe development lab in Shanghai, China. In addition IBM said recently it would spend US$6 billion in Indiafor research and development in the next three years. IBM said last month it has around 43,000 employees in India, up from 9,000 employees at the beginning of 2004.

The Russian lab will focus on developing mainframe technology for corporate and scientific computing, IBM said. IBM long has had an interest in tapping Russian software engineers. Earlier this year IBM announced an initiative to attract more Russian developers. It established developerWorks Russia, a Russian-language version of the company's technical resource program for developers, including a Web site. Developers can access tools, download source code and obtain access to educational programs on a range of IBM software and hardware as well as Linux and Java.

"It is worth noting that 50 percent of university students in Russia are studying science and technology, and that Russia has one of the highest levels of researchers in the active population anywhere in the world. We want to tap those skills," IBM said.

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