Business ethics and Whiner (sp!) on the iPhone

Dave says: I am writing this on a Mac, because it’s much better than Windows. Apple didn’t need any patents to get me to buy their system. I don’t even like the company, I think they’re brats, small thinkers. Even though I don’t have to, every year I spend thousands of dollars on their products. … Continue reading “Business ethics and Whiner (sp!) on the iPhone”

Dave says:

I am writing this on a Mac, because it’s much better than Windows. Apple didn’t need any patents to get me to buy their system. I don’t even like the company, I think they’re brats, small thinkers. Even though I don’t have to, every year I spend thousands of dollars on their products. That says all I need to know about what kinds of locks you need on users. The only lock you need is to create a better product. The rest of it is nonsense.

It doesn’t matter about your personal ethics on software patents. These days if you want to keep any sort of competitive edge, you have to patent. The reasoning is twofold.

  • It prevents others from directly copying your technology and just copying your great ideas. They have the opportunity to license them. This is the way patents work
  • If you don’t patent it, some other bugger will. This leaves you in a shit position.

I don’t like software patents but frankly there’s too any arseholes out there nowadays that they cannot be ignored.

Dave’s not done yet though.

In order to make a point about journalist and blogger ethics in what they will accept in order to get a scoop he mentions this little gem:

I’ve heard from people who were at the Jobs presentation this week that there was a wire connecting his cell phone to something. I can’t tell you myself, because I am not allowed to attend Apple press events. If I were there, I would tell you.”

That COULDN’T possible be the video out cable that Jobs mentioned during the presentation which put the output from his phone onto the projection system? No it has to be something more nefarious.

This kind of deception is the rule, not the exception, in Silicon Valley.

Hey Dave, what lies did you tell? If it’s the rule then you must be part of it?

This kind of deception is the rule in business.

When you’re running a startup, someone may ask that dreaded question: How’s business?

Now…you could tell the truth about how everyone got paid but you for the last three months or how you’re now cold calling old enemies in order to get a fighting chance or mybe how you’ve made a shady deal with some City businessman for a quarter of your liver…but instead you say….

Great. Run off our feet. Have had to turn away business.

There’s good reasons for these lies, of course.

  • It’s a temporary lie. Business will either pick up or you’ll go bust
  • If you tell the “truth”, it might get out. Creditors will cut your credit and debtors will hold off paying because if they hold off long enough, then they won’t have to pay at all

That’s business.

In nearly four years of trading in my first company, I can count the number of ethical businessmen I have met on my fingers. And none of them are church men.

0 thoughts on “Business ethics and Whiner (sp!) on the iPhone”

  1. MJ,

    The problem with your argument regarding patents is that it suffers from the theatre goers dilemma. Sure if I stand up I’ll get a better view, but that means the people behind me have to stand up, which means the people behind them have to stand up. Eventually the whole theatre is standing up, and nobody has a better view.

    Of course if your in the front row (think, Intel, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Amdahnl etc.) you never get affected.

    Patents are bad for the software industry, I encourage you to check out

  2. Aha, but software patents are here, they have been forced upon us and therefore it becomes necessary for independents to file defensive patents.

    If you’re going to fight, fight to win.

    Patents are not bad things in themselves.

  3. MJ I disagree, patents are bad things in themselves. They neither serve the original need they were created for, nor do they add value in the modern economic world.

    Patents are bad because they add no societal value, period. They add no value to inventors because it is impossible to search the archive in any meaningful way, and even if you could find an invention you still have to trace the rights to that invention (patents filed by Digital, bought by compaq, merged with HP, licensed to Microsoft, lent to Sun etc. etc.) in order to use it. They add no economic value because they create more cost than value.

    Filing a simple utility patent costs 20k just for the USA and think about adding 5K per country after that. It simply isn’t possible to file large numbers of patents as a small company. In the meantime our publically quoted friends listed above (intel, sun, microsoft, apple etc.) play swapsies while the rest of us get shut out of the IP games they play because we can’t afford the ante.

    Don’t even get me started on how the third world expects to compete in this market..

  4. I totally disagree.

    What you describe is the failure of the PATENT OFFICE to control, index and in some cases deny spurious patents.

    Patents were introduced to protect the fortunes of the innovative. To allow you to eke some living out of an invention and at the same time provide a method for others to license your technology so you could continue to earn even when sleeping. They expired so that you didn’t rest on your laurels, so that the income would cease and the innovative would be forced to invent anew.

    Patents, like copyright, have been perverted by BIG BUSINESS and “we, the people” have been too busy watching Big Brother to actually do anything about it. We now find outselves in the situation where copyright law is extended beyond the lifespan of the artist and the granting of patents has become difficult and obfuscated.

    Patents are not a bad thing. The process, however, is broken.

    As for the “Third World” – that depends entirely on our governments and on the governments of the developing countries. We’re far too busy working on $100 laptops to ensure clean water for everyone. That’s a whacked out sense of priorities. Soon they’ll be able to email us and tell us they’re starving. Brilliant. If our governments, as the will of the people, want to make a real difference to the developing countries then they need to SERIOUSLY regulate the activities of corporations born and bred in the West. But that’s an argument far beyond the scope of this simple blog.

    In answer to Zach: prior art makes absolutely no difference at all.

  5. Having watching the Patent Office over here (USA) I don;t believe the situation will get any better.

    Also involved with helping startups and most VC/Angels “like” to have a patent. However its a long winded process and 2b honest means nothing unless u have deep pockets 2 go defend it who sh** hits the fan.
    Without those pockets is a nice piece of paper but otherwise is worthless 2u.


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