Patrick Lo, CEO of Netgear, let loose on Steve Jobs and Microsoft at a lunch in Sydney earlier today. He said Apple’s business model, currently dependent on proprietary products and technology, would be defeated by Android and other open platforms. “Owning the market” with technology like iTunes is a temporary situation, according to Lo. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Lo said the industry had “seen this movie play several times”, pointing to the Betamax vs. VHS video format war, Mac vs. Windows and various proprietary networking protocols that at one stage tried to compete with the now dominant TCP/IP. In each of the above cases, the more open platforms won more market share. However, Apple has bucked this trend so far with its closed ecosystems for the iPhone and iPad.
He said he believed Android would overtake iPhone globally and he predicted the platform could become the de facto standard for a range of consumer electronic devices, such as TVs and home media servers. Lo said content providers such as the movie studios were very “wary” of Jobs as the closed model of iTunes meant they were forced to pay a “ransom” to Jobs for selling their content on the service.
“Steve Jobs wants to suffocate the distribution so even though he doesn’t own the content he could basically demand a ransom,” he said. Lo also criticised Jobs’s public thrashing of the Adobe Flash format, attributing it to his “ego”.
“What’s the reason for him to trash Flash? There’s no reason other than ego,” he said.
“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,” Lo said.
Ouch. Public PR apology, anyone?
Lo wasn’t easy on Microsoft, either:
“Microsoft is over – game over – from my point of view,” he said.
I’d like to hear Lo’s take on who else–besides Netgear, of course–is going to take off in coming years.