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um, a CEO has an obligation to act in the financial best interests of his shareholders. software patents might suck, but them's the rules. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capitalism



Are you saying that shareholders are twisting Steve Jobs' arm, forcing him to sue HTC?

My humble guess is that Steve Jobs would, in fact, not have been thrown ass-first out of Apple had he not.

Apple did this because they wanted to, not because anyone else pressured them into it.

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apple did this because they thought enforcement would make money for its shareholders

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No, he's saying that Jobs has a fiduciary obligation to protect the interests of Apple, and that given the reality of tech business, he must play the patent game.

Every other tech company does it; why hold Apple to an exceptional standard?

The OP is not making an ethical or moral critique.

As regards to Apple, he's merely saying "in the long-term" it is bad business as Apple will experience a brain drain, and, there is an implicit shaming aspect (remember those blue boxes Steve? ;) by pointing out past actions of Steve Jobs himself.

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Every other tech company does it; why hold Apple to an exceptional standard?

Is that really true? Can you cite Google suing to enforce a patent? What about HTC iself?

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Google is a pretty young company:

can you cite a consistent pattern in their past that would argue they would never do so?

(I can cite this: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-03/google-wants-u-s...)

How about this?

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sec...

Why is Google applying for patents? For fun?

HTC was already mentioned in the article: they are young and do not have the patent portfolio to play with the big boys.

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Wait-wait-wait. So is every other company doing this or aren't they? You're moving the goalposts pretty fast here.

Google is young (>10 years), but they have a large portfolio. But you can't find a "pattern that would argue they would never do so"? And that proves that Apple is doing really just the same thing everybody else are? The fact that others really aren't, but you can't find a proof that they never would?

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How do you know that this action by Apple will result in a positive outcome long-term? It's already hurting their public perception among developers, and in time, it'll hurt their workforce. And that's assuming they don't lose.

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Indeed. It seems to me that using the term "evil" (at least in instances where there's no human harm being done... Bhopal disaster and such aside) about a corporation is unlikely to lead us to clear thinking.

Corporations are artificial entities that are set up with the goal of maximizing shareholder value. The corporations we're talking about exist inside democratic governance and regulatory systems. It seems to me that things would be likely to work best when we all think of corporations as what they are: machines to make a profit, and exercised our powers as voters (and as customers) appropriately.

Now, of course, a particular corporation's behavior may make one more or less likely to want to purchase their products (in other words, their public "persona" is part of their marketing), but to be outraged about legal maneuvers doesn't make much sense to me. Don't buy their products and/or work to change the laws, but let's not be angry at tigers for chasing sweet little antelopes. It's what they do.

I say this as someone who's been outraged before over Microsoft's anti-competitive maneuvers. I think that was probably stupid of me. They were doing just what they should have been doing if that's what they thought would maximize their profitability. Doesn't mean I like their products. But to call them evil was a mistake that I regret.

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According to dictionary.com, evil means: "1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked. 2. harmful; injurious". Microsoft harmed competitors (and their shareholders) in the marketplace with questionable ethics at best, and was convicted of illegally using their monopoly powers by a U.S. court. "Evil" applies to injustice as much as it does to gross immorality. Sociopathic corporate behavior is just as evil as sociopathic personal behavior.

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Why would we stop purchasing their products if we weren't outraged or in any way angry? And I think there is human harm done, albeit possibly second degree or third degree, if progress and innovation are retarded as a result of their actions. I think there is some justification in labeling Apple's actions "evil".

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> let's not be angry at tigers for chasing sweet little antelopes.

It's a bit of a different scenario when the antelope is yours.

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