“America’s Has-Been Economy” ?

Outsourcing goes to the next level: research & design – suddenly the west does not, in fact, lead the world, technologically?[robot]

Business Week reports that practically overnight large percentages of cell phones, notebook PCs, digital cameras, MP3 players, and personal digital assistants are produced by original-design manufacturers. Business Week quotes an executive of a Taiwanese ODM: “Customers used to participate in design two or three years back. But starting last year, many just take our product.”

… The design and engineering teams of Asian ODMs are expanding rapidly, while those of major US corporations are shrinking. Business Week reports that R&D budgets at such technology companies as Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, Ericsson, and Nokia are being scaled back.

Bad news for the future, if you ask me.

Update 2005-03-20: though of course, consumer electronics isn’t the only metric of an economy’s health or a country’s ability to dominate, and I’m sure the US hi-tech weapons industry ain’t outsourcing so enthusiastically… ;-)