OT - Ethics in Business

From: Jerome Fine <jhfine_at_idirect.com>
Date: Thu Mar 8 08:45:13 2001

>Sellam Ismail wrote:

> On Wed, 7 Mar 2001, Steve Robertson wrote:
> > In fact there are 1700 different light bulbs that you can get for this model.
> >So one day you go to the fridge to get a cold beer and notice the bulb is
> > not working... Damn defective refrigerator!
> > Who you gonna call?
> > What resonse would you expect under those conditions?
> Actually, Microsoft provides you with their own lightbulbs now, ever since
> they partnered with that one lightbulb company, reversed engineered their
> design, came up with their own LightBulb 1.0 (that was buggy as hell and
> less bright, but their marketing took care of those issues) and then drove
> the small lightbulb company out of business.

Jerome Fine replies:

The problem is with ethics - and likely Microsoft has no more lack of this
feature than most other companies. But because they have more clout,
it is more apparent. How many examples can you think of for other companies
that have either tried or would like to do the same thing. If everyone except
Microsoft was ethical and all said that they would stop doing business with
or using Microsoft products until Microsoft behaved in an ethical manner,
Microsoft would either behave ethically or disappear. When the ethical
standard rises outside of Microsoft, it will rise inside Microsoft as well.

> Anyway, this argument might have had merit if it weren't for the *fact*
> that MS strategically introduces bugs into their "OS" so that a
> competitor's product will fail.
> Sellam Ismail Vintage Computer Festival

As you stated in an earlier e-mail today:

"If MS would just give us the source code, we could fix it for them."

But if Microsoft gave us the source code, we would see just what
"bugs" had been introduced for that purpose. Being forced to
"license" source code which is guaranteed by law to reproduce
the EXE files and all of the other files used to run an application
would be the best safeguard against such behaviour. While the
comments could be removed, looking at the different code between
different versions would show the changes that were made to
produce the "bugs". If enough users demanded a minimum standard
of ethics, then requiring that source code be made available after
a certain number of years have elapsed and a bug is not fixed would
also accomplish the same result since seeing what Microsoft had done
with previous versions would be an ethical revelation as well.

There are probably many solutions to the ethical problem which do
not impact (or have a negligible impact) on profits. But how can we
expect any help from politicians when their ethics are likely just about
the same as the companies they accept campaign contributions from.

I don't expect any answer from this reply, but if we are complaining
about Microsoft, perhaps we should look at ourselves as well.

Sincerely yours,

Jerome Fine
Received on Thu Mar 08 2001 - 08:45:13 GMT

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