Essay on Microsoft Manages Legal and Ethical Issues

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Pages: 5

Microsoft Manages Legal and Ethical Issues
S. Nevarez
Olympic College
OLRM 202: Introduction to Organizational Ethics

Microsoft is the global leader in computer software, and well recognized in the field of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy. However, since 1990 the computing giant has been plagued by allegations of antitrust violations and monopolistic, non-competitive business practices. By answering the three questions posed in Part 5, Case 7 of Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases; this review will address how such a legal and ethical dichotomy is possible, and how the issues relate to one another in terms of corporate reputation.
1. What unique aspects of the software industry created the
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A mountain cannot be climbed without stepping on the rocks that form it. Does that mean the mountain climber is a villain; stepping on poor, defenseless rocks? Not from the perspective of the mountain climber. Perhaps he is searching for cleaner water to provide to his family. Perhaps he is seeking greater knowledge of how mountains are formed and therefore how to preserve them for future generations. Perhaps he wants to see what is on the other side, and if it can benefit his people. But if you ask the rocks... it would not be difficult to find several of them who claim to have been injured in the process; if rocks could talk.

Apply this simplistic analogy to the global leader that is Microsoft and it is not difficult to find a disgruntled rock that has been stepped on. So this is the dilemma: to forgo ethics in pursuit of growth (and step on rocks to climb a mountain), or to forgo growth in pursuit of ethics (to avoid stepping on anything and end up going nowhere)? The ideal answer is to balance the two extremes. However, an entity, whether individual or corporate, cannot achieve balance without experiencing both sides of an issue. Perhaps it is only now, after losing and rebuilding it's reputation, that Microsoft can operate with the balance to which they aspire in their code of conduct.

3. How do Microsoft's social responsibility and philanthropic