Dear Ethix – Issue 35

A Perspective on Globalization

“Globalization” is a term used to describe world-wide trade. It increases the income and standard of living (including better environmental safeguards) for underdeveloped countries, while offering goods and services at lower costs to more highly developed countries. On the macro scale, it is win-win.

On the micro scale, there are losers…inefficient, high cost producers. They can win, but only if they will adapt to the realities of their cost structure. Sugar producers in the USA, for example, can only compete in the global markets with subsidies or tariffs (another form of subsidy). By subsidizing them, the consumers in the USA pay not only the direct subsidy, but also the much higher cost of both sugar and its derivatives (e.g., candy, soda pop).

In general, companies (and nations) should produce those commodities in which they have a competitive advantage. They are hurting their shareholders (citizens) if they fail to do so.

In short, globalization is a good thing.

William Georgi
Kalaheo, HI

Liked the Auto Dealership Story

I thought the Flow Automotive article was one of the best ever. Inclusion of their mission and values statement was a great touch! It gave it more weight to put it first, rather than putting it after the article as an exhibit. I also liked the addition of the outside review interview with Wright. Nicely done.

I would happily purchase a car from those guys…

Scott Griffin
Chicago, IL

Another Perspective on Piracy

I think we should also take a reflective look at piracy, with regard to price. If piracy wasn’t needed it wouldn’t exist.

However, I think that the utilization of the Internet will eventually eradicate piracy. It is simply a matter of holding on until this scheme that is currently being adopted by the larger companies filters to the small to mid-size businesses.

In the future I don’t see a place where software is purchased, I see a place where software is leased.

Julian Charles
Edmonton, AL, Canada

Marketing is a Big Part of Software Piracy

I thought your article on software piracy was on target but failed to mention some important items. I believe software piracy has a lot to do with marketing.

In the business world, the perceived value of software is an issue. My modest company has spent a small fortune on accounting software and the ROI has just not been there. The difference between a hard asset and software is that the hard asset is much easier to measure in terms of its lifecycle and therefore value. I know my vans will last me about six years with a more or less predetermined amount of maintenance costs. Software on the other hand has an uncertain lifespan and uncertain levels of maintenance costs.

I run a technology company, installing home automation and integrating low-voltage systems. I am therefore expected to have the latest technology and software, but I upgrade with reluctance. The marketing problem I see with business software is the constant push to upgrade, patch, service pack, upgrade. We have become slaves to the computer and the next operating system instead of the computer systems working for us.

You could make an argument that the software giants are carrying out “business resource piracy” on us. If the ROI is there, I think businesses will part with their money for licensed software. The big piece of the ROI is the overall cost vs. the lifecycle of the product. If we are going to be sold a new version every year then the cost needs to be lower to avoid piracy in the marketplace.

I have heard that Microsoft is considering a rental or lease type option to licensing software instead of upfront one time costs. The service is supposed to keep us current all the time. On the surface this seems like it may be the answer to my ROI dilemma. My only concern is, can they guarantee our hardware will keep up the pace? Or do I have to scrap my $13,000 digital copier because no one will write drivers for it to work fully with XP? Would you discard a low mileage car, just because it is five years old?

Ultimately marketplace value will reduce the piracy issue more than any compliance or enforcement efforts.

Bob Davis
Bellevue, WA