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Netgear CEO sorry for 'when Steve Jobs goes away' bit

But 'closed Apple' still 'doomed'

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Netgear chairman and CEO Patrick Lo has apologized for comments he made on Monday that, as he put it, "have been construed by some to be references to Steve Jobs' health."

On Monday, in comments to journalists in Sydney, Australia, Lo rather indelicately referred to the Apple CEO's current medical leave of absence in a discussion of Cupertino's closed-platform strategy: "Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away," Lo said, "then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform."

Tuesday, in an email first reported by the unfortunately named website Macgasm and since confirmed to The Reg by Netgear, Lo stands behind his criticism of Apple's lack of openness, but "deeply regrets" his comments concerning Apple's ailing CEO:

Hi. As many of you know I spoke in Sydney on Monday, at a lunch with more than a half dozen of Australia’s leading technology and business journalists. We covered a wide range of topics including the emergence of new IP protocols, cloud computing, wireless routers/repeaters in the home, the National Broadband Network (a current major Government project in Australia) and much more. During the course of the discussion, I shared my views about the future of Apple and Microsoft, as well as the surge of Android. Some of my comments were covered by the media who attended, and were reported more broadly outside Australia by media and bloggers who picked up on the story.

I stand by the opinions I stated on the business issues. Supporting open standards and environments in order to ease seamless networking integration of multimedia content is good for the consumer and good for content providers.

However, I deeply regret the choice of words I used in relation to business decisions Apple must grapple with in the future in relation to open vs. closed systems, which have been construed by some to be references to Steve Jobs’ health and which was never my intention. I sincerely apologize that what I said was interpreted this way, and I wish Steve only the very best.

Patrick Lo,
NETGEAR
Chairman and CEO

In a world replete with half-assed apologies and weasely evasions, we find it refreshing that Lo didn't hide behind the oft-used dodge of "if I offended anyone..."

Admittedly, his apology wriggles a bit on the point of whether his comment on Jobs' departure being "not far away" was a reference to his health, but Lo is to be commended for admitting that he clumsily stepped over the line of propriety and good taste – but without backing down from his opinion that Apple is making a mistake by insisting on a "my way or the highway" closed platform. ®

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