A 17 years old kid hacked the iPhone, making phone call using networks other than AT&T is already old news. There is also an alternative hack fooling the iPhone using a turbo SIM that pretends to be a AT&T SIM card. I have quite some friends at work who bought the iPhone readily tried the hacks and eagerly showing off their fully functional iPhone. As an engineer, I am genuiely interested in the technical details of hacks, but I am more interest in responding to an comment from a friend who condemns the hacks.
She is complaining all the hacking deprive the profit of AT&T and hacking in general cause the lack of investment in R&D because company cannot turn a profit. I have to disagree with her argument. AT&T is making a wrong and stupid business decision for locking up the iPhone. It is our consumer right to tinker with whatever product we purchase by making it a better product that suits us better. If the company put in anti-user features that alienate the customers by making the product hard to use, we have every right to remove those unwanted features ourselves. The invisible hand will punish those who act against the force of the free market. The only way to make a profit is by giving the consumers what they want, not stupidly going against the consumers’ will.
In terms of business ethics, the consumers should only be responsible to pay for whatever they wish to buy. It is unjust to exploit the consumers by bundling sub-standard product with a high demand product. The consumer should be given the option of not buying things they don’t need or wanted. Everyone knows AT&T has the worse cellular network in US. If AT&T wants to gain more market share, it should provide a better service, instead of holding iPhone users as hostages.