Ethics Issues in “Pirates of Silicon Valley”
The film, “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” is a review of the building of both Apple Computer and Microsoft as told through the lens of people that worked with both Steve Jobs at Apple and Bill Gates at Microsoft. The film addresses both the inner working of the two companies and the ethical issues that arise from their leaders, Jobs and Gates, desire to be the most important person in their chosen industry. While the film primarily focuses on Jobs and Gates, the workings of their respective companies and their rivalry play an integral role. Due to the fact that the film was produced in 1999, many issues have arisen in both companies in the years since that have changed the way the world uses computers. In an effort to address the films ethical issues, it will be necessary to address Steve Jobs and Apple and Bill Gates and Microsoft, while then moving on to the unique way in which the two men worked with and against one another, before finally concluding why their relationship changed the world. In this film, we are introduced to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as Berkley college students intent on creating something new and different for the computer world. We are lead to believe that Jobs was something of a free spirit, willing to experiment with drugs and take large risks, while Wozniak was somewhat more mainstream in the beginning of their relationship. We will see this change when money becomes an issue. One of the early ethical dilemmas presented in the film was the fact that Wozniak worked part time for Hewlett Packard and had apparently signed a non-compete clause which gave HP the first rights to any of Wozniak’s work. While the viewer understands that Wozniak must show the early computers to HP, the ethical dilemma presented is thus: is Wozniak required to show them his best efforts and sell his computer to them, or does he have the right to undersell the product. When HP turns down...
Cited: Burke, M. (Director). (1999). Pirates of Silicon Valley [Motion Picture].
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