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Case Study Of Bill Gates

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MGMT 368 CASE ANALYSIS EXAMPLE C

THE CASE OF BILL GATES

MGMT 368B BUSINESS ETHICS

PROBLEM ISSUE AND IDENTIFICATION

WHAT ARE THE CENTRAL FACTS OF THE CASE?

*William 'Bill' Gates III, Microsoft Corp Chairman, is the most wealthiest businessman there is (http://www.reviewjournal.com/1vrg_home/1997/Apr-02-Wed-1997/news/5134242.html).

*Microsoft does not pay its workers as well as some competitors do; however, many workers get stock options. As a result, the worth of these stock options makes one in five of Microsoft's workers millionaires.

*Gates earned his money legally and, within the system, ethically. Claims have been made against antitrust violations, but as of 1988, no adverse judgments against Microsoft (DeGeorge, 1999).

WHAT ASSUMPTIONS ARE YOU MAKING ABOUT THESE FACTS?

Everyone is out chasing the American dream from rags to riches but only a few make it. The few that make are heavily scrutinized and envied by the majority. Bill Gates is an exception to the average college drop out. We must all learn to work smarter and not harder.

WHAT IS THE MAJOR OVERRIDING ISSUE IN THE CASE?

Is American Capitalism Moral or Immoral?

WHAT MAJOR QUESTION OR ISSUES DOES THIS CASE ADDRESS THAT MERITS STUDY AT THIS POINT IN THE COURSE?

*Is it fair that Bill Gates gets all of the wealth and riches while the majority of citizens live far below the poverty line?

*Are the attacks on Microsoft are immoral?

On May 22, 1998, the Ayn Rand Institute branded the antitrust assault on Microsoft as being immoral and anti-American. The executive director, Michael S. Berliner, stated that "Microsoft and other victims of antitrust prosecution are being punished for the same moral values that have helped make America the beacon of the world: hard work, creativity, achievement. The producers are being punished for their ability and success. Unlike the kings of the past and governments of the present, Microsoft has acquired its wealth, not by confiscation but by production - by creating products that other people want to purchase" (http://microsoft.aynrand.org/pr1.html).

Bill Gates is no less than the poorest citizen. He has the right to his property and to the pursuit of his own happiness. There is no reason for Gates to have to justify his profits by appealing to "the good of society" - in a nation of the free no one exists as a servant of others. It is not the fault of Gates that everyone wants to buy his product. Buyers have a choice. Microsoft has the right to make the rules under which it puts its products o the market. These products would not exist if Microsoft had not made them available to us.

The supporters of antitrust prosecution argue that Microsoft is "anti-competitive" and in "restraint of trade." The opposite is the case. It is the government, who interferes in the market place, that's guilty of these charges. Competition is defined as one company winning all of the business, if customers only buy its products. The government is interfering with the competitive process and is in restraint of trade when they try to force Microsoft to promote the products of its competitors. For example, by including the Netscape Web browser in Windows (http://microsoft.aynrand.org/pr1.html).

WHAT SUB-ISSUES OR RELATED ISSUES ARE PRESENT IN THE CASE THAT MERIT CONSIDERATION NOW?

*"Hatred of the Good: Envy of Great Entrepreneurs Drives Microsoft Attacks"

* "The Government vs. Rights"

ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION

WHO ARE THE STAKEHOLDERS IN THE CASE AND WHAT ARE THEIR STAKES?

Bill Gates and the Microsoft employees happen to be the stakeholder in the case. Their investment into Microsoft and stock options are their stakes.

WHAT CHALLENGES, THREATS OR OPPORTUNITIES ARE POSED BY THESE STAKEHOLDERS?

Forcing Microsoft to promote the products of its competition is like forcing NBC to promote CBS programs. These forced demands are a violation of the rights of Bill Gates, the rights of Microsoft shareholders, and of the American ideals of justice, rights, and freedom (http://microsoft.aynrand.org/pr1.html).

WHAT ECONOMIC, LEGAL, ETHICAL, AND PHILANTHROPIC RESPONSIBILITIES DOES THE COMPANY HAVE, AND WHAT IS THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THESE RESPONSIBILITIES?

Microsoft has been behaving more mature - paying out dividends, nixing stock options - but is no less formidable: "We're just at the beginning of what we can do with software," proclaimed the giant Gates at a company meeting in July 2003. Microsoft is moving far beyond the PC. It's chief software architect is taking Microsoft into TVs, cellular phones, automobiles, even wristwatches. Its present flagship Windows operating system runs 94% of the world's desktops, but the company is facing heated pressure from Linux, whose open-source system for servers is outgrowing Microsoft's. The future is bright for Windows successor, dubbed Longhorn, which might surface in 2005. Away from his desk, the

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