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Southern Luzon State University

Lucban, Quezon

College of Engineering
Computer Engineering Department

Elective 01 Management Information Systems

A Case Study on the Following Subject Matters:

1. Microsoft vs. Apple Case
2. Friendster
3. Project Ara

Victor Samuel V. Quinto


October 9, 2017
I. Microsoft vs. Apple

During the dawn of Home Computers, Apple Computers Inc. is in the verge of taking over
the consumer-level home computer industry. With intuitiveness and ease of use in mind,
Apples Lisa is most dressed computer both in the inside and outside (that is the software,
and the casing). While the still growing Microsoft Corporation, entered the competition with
Windows 1.0, a dressed Microsoft DOS as others say. Microsoft had managed to get a
license from Apple to use some of Lisas Desktop elements with Windows 1.0. Although the
two never really got into competition since Apple have their own hardware unlike Microsoft
that licenses its software to IBM and other computer manufacturers. When Windows 2.0 was
released, it comes with draggable, overlapping windows feature, icons and buttons including
folders and the iconic Recycle Bin, then Trash Bin. Everything a precursor to what we are
used to today, the Desktop. Guess who is not happy, Apple. They claimed Microsoft copied
everything from them, and thus the suing began.

Around 1994, Apple filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for using Graphical User Interface
(GUI) elements that were allegedly copied from Lisas OS, Macintosh. Apple claimed that its
look and feel, or the whole visual style, is protected by copyright laws. However, the court
says a copyright is only applicable to individual elements of an expression of idea rather than
the whole of it. Here, we see two important terms that needed to be distinct with each other,
idea and expression. The court says, only expressions are copyrightable, that is, the products
of an idea alone are copyrightable not the idea itself. In Apples case, the desktop elements
that it claimed Microsoft has stolen, are ideas not expression of ideas. Microsoft have not
completely copied the GUI elements pixel per pixel, instead, they took the idea and created
their own based from it. And else, from the list that Apple provided to the court, where GUI
elements in question are listed, most of them are covered by the license that Microsoft had
acquired from Apple prior the release of Windows 1.0. Another issue to be considered is the
fact that Apples ideas are not original, they have copied them from Xerox. Funnily, Xerox
had also filed a lawsuit against Apple similar to what Apple had filed against Microsoft.

The court has ruled in favor of Microsoft. Apple attempted to appeal its case to a higher
court, even reaching the US Supreme Court. This impacted trials of future copyright lawsuits
regarding computer GUIs. This issue also cemented the names of the two companies in the
computer field, as both started cross-licensing each others product, like Microsoft Office and
Apple QuickTime.

As a sprouting software developer, I am reminded of the boundaries between using an

existing idea and copying another software is. Without ideas, then there would not be any
innovation, there is no way an entity can stop sharing its ideas because certainly it is not
original as well.
II. The Death of Friendster

Moores Law states that for every two years, the number of transistors in a single chip doubles. With
transistors, you get logic gates, with logic gates, you get processors, with processors you get
computers, and with computers you get software. The Moores law encompasses not only the
component level of computers; it also affects software that run within them. Software not only covers
the fancy programs that run within your PCs. The Web is one gigantic software residing on a gigantic
nest of computers you probably know as the Internet. And with web comes your favorite social media
sites. It is safe to say therefore that developments on both hardware and software aspects of
computers are very fast-paced. If you are a developer, then the software you develop must also be
future-proof, resistant to change. That is what Friendster got wrong.

Friendster enjoyed a long reign of being king of social media, at least here in the Philippines. It got to
the point that the only reason for renting PCs on computer shops is to update your profile. It became a
hit to the masses. But being popular does not mean it is exempted from change. Other social media
sites came to rise with better features than Friendster. One notorious social media site that wrestled
with it on becoming the king is Facebook. Compare Facebook with Friendster, although Facebooks
closest competitor (Twitter) is very far from it on ranking based on users, why is Facebook, say 5
years ago is very different from what it is today. The main features are still there, like the Newsfeed,
Instant Chatting, and Flash/HTML5 Games. But it has added new features that you would think are
not necessary since Facebook is far from possible to be overtaken by another social site. This is what
Friendster had overlooked. Its founder, Jonathan Abrams had said that they have plans to incorporate
a Newsfeed-like feature to Friendster, but only if a competitor showed up in the future. They lacked
the self-evolving quality needed in a software to resist change, instead settled on what they have and
what they are at that moment. Then it was shaken when an unexpected competition surfaced. They
have also let opportunities passed. Friendster had a chance to buy Facebook but they did not risk it.
Friendster had a chance to be bought by Google, Yahoo, and AOL, but they took the risk. Then we
saw Friendster die.

In the end the still breathing and kicking Friendster was bought by a small company based on South
East Asia, and slowly slaughtered its old identity. Friendster is now a gaming site, with very little
social elements.

Being popular does not mean you are exempted from change. I guess, being popular is not an excuse
to not change, but an opportunity to improve and embrace change. Friendsters problem in my
opinion is its inability to take actions when it is still not too late. And when is it not too late? Right
III. Project Ara

Five years ago, smartphone hot swapping feature is something to look forward to. Fortunately, we
have Google who made it possible. The bad news however is its very long development. What
hindered the project? The lack of qualified experts? The lack of funds? No. The fast development of
smartphones slowed its development.

Project Ara is not originally from Google, it was bought by them and continued its development. The
original plan is to have a hot swappable parts that will compose a smart phone. If a user wanted a
better camera, then remove the old one and replace it with a better one. The design evolved into
having a what they call Frame in which contains the bare basics of a smart phone. Then it is up to
the user on what modules to add. So basically it is a frame with replaceable modules. The project is
promising. A user can have a plethora of modules and when needed, just attach them.

The project mostly reached its final stages, it even got a pilot test in the US. But it got shelfed. The
reason is because most smartphones in the market are cheaper as compared to the Ara phone frame.
There features are reasonably good enough for the price. Ara suffered from being behind performance
as the cost of being modular is having 25% less performance than other phones. Although the project
is discontinued, Google is hoping that someday the project will be launched to the market that is, if its
present problems and drawbacks are given solution.

Something that is promising does not mean it is meant for greatness. Project Ara is promising, yes,
but that was years ago. The world might have changed its view on what is better and what is not. Or
maybe the project is meant for another application, and the project will not lay in waste.