WHEN AMAZON.COM formally announced its new Customer Services Centre in Cork, I went to my Amazon.com account and bought another wabi-sabi book. You cannot have too much wabi-sabi in your life. In fact, a group of us are looking into "the wabi-sabi cuppa" as an Irish institution. No, really!
Back to Amazon--Jeff Bezos and crew need an anchor for their St Patrick's Day festivities and there's really no better place than at the Cork Airport. If news reports are to be believed, then Amazon will have a new multi-lingual customer services centre in Cork. I doubt it supports the Irish language because Minister O Cuiv did not laud the decision.
Instead, I think some of the 450 positions in Cork, are one rung up the ladder of call centre support, focusing on UK, German and French support. Do they need these bodies because Amazon is going to offer its own digital music service? Do they need this service to return greater profits on Amazon's $8.4 billion in annual revenue? All leading multinationals know how to avail of legit tax treatment that boosts bottom line by keeping the grubby hands of US tax men out of the income stream.
Amazon Cork doesn't sound as techie as Amazon Dublin, where a Systems and Networks and Operating Centre runs in the Digital Hub in Dublin. Amazon Cork sounds like a call centre and those things are the 21st century's equivalent of a clothing factory. Note to Minister Martin: look up "history of call centers" on Amazon and read what you find because you have written an Irish chapter for the researchers. I would be curious to see what Amazon thinks is the attraction of Ireland. I still think it's the friendly tax regime. It's certainly not a robust teleworking infrastructure, nor is it high-speed road access between Cork and Dublin nor is it low cost of operations.
Don't get me wrong--Amazon jobs are good jobs but the first generation Amazon jobs I knew sucked the life out of you. Still, there are hundreds of fresh-faced college students who will enjoy working for Amazon and who can blame them? The IDA has done well for Cork but if I were them, I would work on pummeling the Transport and Communications departments to improve infrastructure. Today's savvy employers can uproot operations and move to less expensive locations. Ireland is a least expensive English-speaking destination right now but that is not going to last beyond the summer. Companies will suck up the hassle of living on back roads if they pay a smaller amount to the tax men. Thing is, the tax take is less across the Baltics and in eastern Europe now. The only differentiation is the friendly Irish attitude regarding employment grants, capital offsets and long-term rates amnesties that will soon be on the EU radar for challenge by member States.
Sent mail2blog using Nokia 9500 Typepad O2 service.