Discussion Questions

Vaporware's Definition

Currently, there is a lot of confusion among all parties, the software companies, the stockholders, the consumers and the courts, as to just what vaporware entails. The Court doesn't understand the software industry's software delivery schedule and wo uld like to view cases on a completely anticompetitive basis. Some software companies view vaporware as a means of previewing technology to its customers, but others feel it is a tactic to bury weaker competition.

  1. Is there a possible synthesis among all parties as to what the term vaporware concerns and also what is does not concern? If so, what might it be? 
  2. Is there such a thing as "good vaporware and bad vaporware?" Does your answer change if you are a vice president of Microsoft? What about if you are the vice president of a small company trying to gain a foothold in the software market? Did y our position change? How? 
  3. A standard releasement announcement of 6 months has already been proposed and ignored. Should there be government involvement in regulating software releases? Why or why not? 
  4. Should Microsoft, and other large companies, be treated by different laws than other companies due to the size of its market control? Is it ethical to create or apply a law to a company because of its size and influence? 
  5. Is Microsoft's new tactic to completely withhold release dates ethical? 
  6. Should stockholders be eligible for recompensation from their investments for stock prices that drop due to a delay in software release, or should that be viewed as just part of the risk factor involved in investing in a software company? 
  7. Should companies that fail due to a delay in release be able to sue the company responsible? Could such a dependent strategy by the failing company be considered risky and the ensueing claim unfounded?