Borland’s brave beginning | MSM-IT

 

Philipe Kahn, the colorful former CEO and current Chairman of Borland International built a powerful software company from the ground up with a series of brilliant business moves including the 1991 acquisition of Ashton-Tate, one of the software industries’ biggest companies for $440 million. Until very recently, the company was extremely successful, culminating in the building a palatial headquarters complex costing nearly $100 million. At one point, Kahn even entertained thoughts of challenging Microsoft as the world’s top software manufacturer. (1) While the company has recently fallen on hard times, its beginning is one that some would consider morally questionable while others would denote as being “smart moves within the game.”

In an interview with Inc. Magazine in 1989, Kahn told the story of Borland’s humble beginnings. Operating out of two small rooms and strapped for cash, he couldn’t afford to place an ad in Byte magazine, the best forum to reach his target market. In order to convince the ad salesman to extend credit terms, Kahn hired “extra people” to scurry around and made sure the phones were ringing in order to look busy. He prepared a media plan on a chart in which Byte was crossed out but made sure the salesman “accidentally” saw the chart. When the salesman asked if they wanted to advertise in Byte, Kahn replied that it was not the right audience and that they couldn’t afford it. The salesman pleaded and eventually gave good terms of credit.  The ad ran once and sold $150,000 worth of software, launching a successful venture.(2)

  1. Pitta, Julie. “The Barbarian Steps Down.”  Los Angeles Times.  January 12, 1995. p. D1+
  2. “Managing by Necessity.”  Inc.  March, 1989, pp. 33+

 

  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. Read 5.1: An Ethics framework from Chapter 5 of the Human Relations OER textbook.
  3. Read Borland’s Brave Beginning.
  4. Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following prompts:
    1. Briefly summarize the Borland Case.
    2. Clearly identify and discuss each of the Four Levels of Ethical Issues from your reading in the Human Relations text that are present in the Borland case.
      1. In your analysis, be sure to discuss how the players, in this case, were impacted at each of the four levels.
    3. What do you think about Kahn’s actions? Do his actions amount to shrewd business, deception, or both?
    4. Some might argue that since everyone “won” in the end, Kahn’s decision was ethical. Do you agree? Why or why not?
    5. Review the Ted Talk Our Buggy Moral Code. What is a personal fudge factor? Does Kahn’s actions in the Borland case violate your personal fudge factor? Why or Why not?
    6. If you were Kahn, what might have been some ways to achieve the same outcome but in a more ethical manner? How do these approaches take into account the four levels of ethical issues from your reading?
  5. Each response should contain a detailed evaluation that demonstrates clear, insightful critical thinking
  6. Guidelines:
    1. Your 1.3 post should be at least 500 words in length
    2. Your 1.3 post must include two scholarly sources that are properly cited according to APA guidelines.
    3. Your 1.3 post is due by the end of Workshop One.
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