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Netgear CEO says 'closed' Apple is doomed

Seen it all before, co-founder tells Aussies

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs' insistence on a closed iOS platform is dragging his company down, dooming it to be overtaken by Google Android, according to the chairman and CEO of... Netgear.

"Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform," Netgear co-founder Patrick Lo told a Sydney, Australia, gathering on Monday, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Ultimately a closed system just can't go that far ..." he said. "If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it's pretty difficult as I see it."

Not that Lo doesn't respect Jobs' talents. "Right now the closed platform has been successful for Apple because they've been so far ahead as thought leaders because of Steve Jobs," he said.

But that lead can't continue. In Lo's view, open trumps closed every time. Telling the SMH that he has "seen this movie play several times," he cited such previous industry dust-ups such as Betamax v VHS, Mac v Windows, and the raft of networking protocols overrun by TCP/IP.

When discussing Jobs' campaign against Adobe Flash, Lo dipped in an ad hominem attack. "What's the reason for him to trash Flash? There's no reason other than ego," he said.

Perhaps that comment gave a glimpse into bad blood between the two CEOs. When asked if he and Jobs had discussed his concerns, Lo said: "Steve Jobs doesn't give me a minute!"

One possible additional inspiration for Lo's outburst: envy. As of Monday morning, Netgear's market capitalization was $1.23bn. Apple's was $310.61bn.

Not that Apple's success has been all that bad for Netgear. Lo noted that the proliferation of Cupertino's "magical and revolutionary" iPad has boosted sales of his company's Universal Wireless Range Extenders.

The reason? At-home iPad fans taking their fondleslabs into the loo. ®

Bootnote

Steve Jobs and Apple aren't the only targets of Lo's scathing critiques. Discussing Windows Phone 7's chance against the dueling iOS and Android juggernauts, Lo said: "Microsoft is over – game over – from my point of view."

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