This issue has reached a crisis point. Computer science employment is growing by nearly 100,000 jobs annually. But at the same time studies show that there is a dramatic decline in the number of students graduating with computer science degrees
Now Bill Gates has had as much to do with creating this crisis as anyone. Basically Microsoft depends a lot on H-1b visas—and getting them at next to nothing. The closest they have to serious competition are the companies that produced the free Linux operating system. Now, if you look at the LCA filings, you'll see something rather interesting. Red Hat and the related companies seem to produce an operating system that is less expensive-and by many measures better-but without dependency on H-1b visas.
If Microsoft "needs" H-1b visas, why can't they pay for those immigration rights(the current market rate would be at least $100,000 per visa)? The reason is simple: despite all their financial and political muscle, Microsoft has never really been about innovation, and they can't compete on a basis in which there is an honest accounting of all costs. Microsoft is utterly dependent upon practices like buying political influence to maintain its shareholder equity.
There will never be substantial interest in technical and scientific professions in the US if those occupations are more subject to the wage lowering effects of immigration than alternative occupations. Folks like Gates depend on mining the value of American citizenship to maintain their absurd net worth.
If you want a really competitive America, we need to think about how to reward real innovators-not businessmen like Gates that figure out how to work the system to their own benefit.