Questions of Morality

Q002 | June 29, 2015

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Is it morally acceptable to design and sell a product and after less than two years to put on the market a new, upgraded version and do the same after two more years, but at the same time to restrict the use of the 1st version by eliminating the support for its OS edition and its apps?

There is no doubt that this fast pace of technology is improving our lives, from medical field to the way we communicate, but it also has consequences that go beyond our consumerist perspective: we use natural resources that are not replaceable, we contaminate the environment with chemicals that threaten our own existence, we pollute the places we live in or across the oceans with things that on medium term will replace silica on our beautiful beaches.
Second, there is a problem with the notion of property: though we buy our tablets and smartphones just as we buy our cars or our furniture, we do not really own them. We own the plastic and metal used to make them, but we do not own them from a functional point of view because the produce owns all rights regarding the use of its software. We are more borrowers of their technology; and when we buy their product we are not even aware of this. And even if we were aware, we could not do anything about it: if we want the tablet or the smartphone, we either accept them as they are and pay for their use, or we don’t agree and stare at others how they enjoy reading an electronic book on slick screens.
What do you think? Is this a predatory business behaviour or just a fair use of the proprietary technology?

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