Sunday, December 31, 2017

Products, a majority of whose functionality depends on physical components that can be seen and measured, are more susceptible to getting copied than electronics and software [COMPACTIDEA]

Realized this when reading this article on China's first high-bypass turbofan engine. It's so much easier to reverse-engineer a "physical" product such an aircraft turbine than it is to, say, Microsoft Office. You can see a powerplant's components. You can disassemble it and measure each component and how one component connects to another. Only the software portion of the engine might not be possible to copy. But a bulk of what constitutes a CFM or Pratt engine is out in the open, naked, unprotected, ready for copying by China. Can the same be said for Microsoft Office? No. You have no idea of Office's source code, and so it isn't easy to reverse-engineer software. Software's very nature dictates this. Online services such as Facebook that rely on server-side software are even more difficult to copy, if at all - you have zero access to Facebook's backend software. Even if you had access to it and built a copy of FB, how will you overcome network effect of the billions of users of FB? Seems next to impossible.

Update [10-Oct-18]: Russia/Sukhoi can examine the coatings / insulations of foreign-built aircraft for ideas only because these are physical things that can be seen and understood. Can't do the same for electronics or software.

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