Apple's secret outsource: 'Even more software to be made in India'
Is Cupertino getting internal software from Bangalore?
A visit by Apple's CIO to India in January has resulted in some hefty software deals for two Bangalore-based firms, according to The Times of India.
Apple's top internal software guy, Niall O'Connor, met with executives from India-based Infosys and Wipro on a visit to Bangalore from 29 to 31 January – and apparently some juicy contracts have resulted, the English-language daily reports.
The Times reckons Apple currently outsources $100m worth of back-end software to India, but over the next few years will increase the investment to $400m.
Both Infosys and Wipro already have contracts with Apple. According to the paper, Infosys – which boasts of its "15-year association" with Apple on its website – currently provides $50m worth of software services to Apple, while Wipro tests apps for the company. The Register spoke to a spokesperson at Wipro, who confirmed that Apple is a client, but would not detail what software or services the company provides for Cupertino.
Multi-million dollar investments aside, the other benefit of working with Apple is the advantage that the name gives the businesses in attracting other clients. The Times of India report quoted an insider as saying:
Working with Apple on its internal IT has benefits beyond just the immediate business. With many outsourcing customers now ready to pay for projects that integrate iPads and iPhones with business applications, the learning goes a long way in winning other projects.
A phone call to Apple's Bangalore office resulted in a no comment on Apple's current investment in India or on any planned future investment. However, the press officer did confirm that he too had seen the Times of India article.
Emails to Wipro and Infosys haven't given The Reg any clarity on the issue either, though Apple often builds secrecy pacts into its contracts.
A further incentive for Apple to keep schtum about the new Bangalore contract is that it is already suffering criticism for outsourcing its hardware jobs to China. If more of the software jobs start going to India, the fruity firm could come in for for some more flack from the American press.
In his time at Apple, O'Connor has brought in improved customer service, tightened data warehousing and reporting and overseen the retail systems that support sales in Apple stores, according to this profile. His biggest achievement is seen as implementing SAP software across Apple – tightening up its supply chain and helping it manage resources and planning. ®
It won't last long. Statistically, it actually costs more to send developer jobs to India, thanks to the poor quality products they produce. All the savings in wages will be eaten up by time spent on rewrites and bug fixes.
We outsourced to Wipro...
We outsourced a relatively simple biotech application project to Wipro about four years ago. We never did get functional software and I had to put a team of our own engineers on the project to actually complete the application, and yes the requirements were well defined and documented.
Anonymous for obvious reasons.
Hmmm. Good luck
I used to work for a company which developed hardware with bespoke software, with a lot of customer involvement during the MMI development to give them exactly what they need. It is a long process, but ensures the customer is happy with what is delivered.
Senior management decided to outsource the software to India (not telling you who). They were at CMMI level 5, so our Management were only too happy for us to 'just' produce the outline spec and for them to develop it. They were at CMMI 5, what could go wrong?
Turns out that their idea of 'working with the customer to develop the software' consisted of us writing the 'outline' spec to the level of 'When this event occurs, draw a box on the screen of this size, this thickness lines with these exact radiused corners, of this colour, exactly here, with the following text, of this typeface.' They would then code it and test that 'when this event occurs check that a box is drawn on the screen of this size............etc etc'
Step forward a year. Every spec we delivered was rejected as not being 'sufficiently detailed' to start coding. In the meantime we had developed the whole system fully working and tested witht he Customer , from which we finished off the detailed specification.( yeh I know).
At this point the customer wanted to know why we were not shipping the finished product as they had seen it fully working, so we shipped the system with our development code. Apparently, apart from being late, the customer was very happy.
We spent £100Ks and never got a single line of code delivered from India. Having delivered the product, the last communication I saw from India was a rejection of our latest spec for 'not being sufficiently detailed'.