Netgear CEO lashes out at Jobs, Microsoft

The CEO of home networking giant Netgear has hit out at Apple chief Steve Jobs and his company's ''closed'' approach to products.

Speaking in Sydney, Australia, Patrick Lo said Apple's ''closed and proprietary products'' would soon be overtaken by open alternatives, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. ''Ultimately a closed system just can't go that far ... If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it's pretty difficult as I see it,'' he said.

Apple's domination of many product categories had allowed the company to succeed - but that wouldn't always be the case, he said. ''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.

Mr Jobs will step back from the company's day to day operations after announcing earlier this month that he will take a second medical leave of absence, though he will remain CEO of Apple. Despite his apparent praise for Mr Jobs, Mr Lo wasn't pulling any punches when it came to the Apple's ''visionary'' leader. ''Steve Jobs wants to suffocate the distribution so even though he doesn't own the content he could basically demand a ransom,'' he said. He said Mr Jobs' public denouncing of Adobe's Flash standard in favour of HTML5 was driven by ego. ''What's the reason for him to trash Flash? There's no reason other than ego,'' he said.

Mr Lo predicted Google's Android mobile OS would eventually end up on top of the mobile heap and establish itself in a range of devices including TVs and home media servers.

Microsoft also copped a lashing, with Mr Lo declaring that just over three months after it launched, Windows Phone 7 was a failure. ''Microsoft is over - game over - from my point of view,'' he said. It is worth noting that Mr Lo did not elaborate on his last jab, leaving the distinct possibility that the cocky CEO simply felt like making an attention-grabbing statement.

Image Credit: Netgear

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Closed , closed, closed, closed I am getting tired of this word, don't they find anything else against apple?

Didnt really hear any iPhone or iPad users complain on the "closed" nature of their phones tablets!

What I am hearing is all these other companies saying apple products sucks and theirs are better coz they are open!


Well millions buying apple products find something better, maybe they are better coz they are closed! Did this even occur to them?

vette said,
Hey Netgear, make a router that doesn't suck ass than maybe will let you complain.

I've never had any probs with my netgear DG834v3 router

Athlonite said,

I've never had any probs with my netgear DG834v3 router


Some have never had rrod on their Xbox, doesn't mean problems don't exist.

This didn't prevent Netgear from shipping a known faulty router (their CES reps admitted it!) that would burn itself out after a few months of use. After that debacle I went D-Link.

This guy just cost his company a sale. I was about to buy one of their wireless n routers but this guy can go pound sand! Them's fighting words!

Netgear, PAH, This guys an idiot. I had a Netgear router. Everytime i went to download a large file from a cirtain web site or play Wow wirelessly the router crashed.
Now I've a Belkin Vision and it rocks.

briangw said,
When did Netgear become a "home networking giant?" D-Link all the way!

D-link routers have always been a disappointment(to me at least). My last one (DIR-655) kept dropping Wi-Fi connections and rebooting / crashing randomly. Replaced it with a Cisco WRVS4400N and have had no problems since.

recursive said,

D-link routers have always been a disappointment(to me at least). My last one (DIR-655) kept dropping Wi-Fi connections and rebooting / crashing randomly. Replaced it with a Cisco WRVS4400N and have had no problems since.

And Cisco (rebranded Linksys ones) were crappier for me. I have the DLink DIR-625 and no issues here. It's so good, it never has had a firmware update in several years

wow thats pretty intense. gotta give him kudos for speaking .... openly . however, MS jab seems as though jab for the sake of jab. WP7 isn't charts on fire yet. but It'll prevail simply because, people would want a windows like ecosystem, that isn't anarchy like Andorid and not hyper closed eco system of Apple. just like on desktop. Windows rules because it plays the exact same roles against OSX and Linux.

open source means nothing. Android may have an open source tree but the real meat and bones is still binary ot many versions behind what Google has.. The problem WTH android is Google. As g as Google controls the gates it may as well be closed however with every company launching their an marketplace a simply being droid is meaningless to the users restricted by controlled devices needing to be rooted for freedom

it depends who your target customers are ... the reason why iOS has done so well (and continues to) is because apple is targeting the non-technological people, all their products are essentially for non-technical users with a few options for those who want a little more ... obviously if someone has grown up programming and/or tinkering with their computer they want to have more options, options that apple will never provide, because having more options takes away from the simplicity of the product, google attempts to capture that simplicity by 'mirroring' certain aspects of iOS ... but lets face it, its not the same thing, the average consumer has no idea what android is mainly because each phone maker has a customised UI ... apple has one UI across all of their devices (even integrating certain elements with OS X). If iOS was as open as android the iOS market would become just as crowded and confusing as android.

With that being said ... having both open and closed systems are essential. Google was the lifesaver of the mobile industry ... it has united them in a sense, because if they all tried to develop an OS to compete with iOS apple would have smashed the competition because lets face it, LG ... Samsung ... HTC etc. although they know how to make excellent phones ... dont know how to make software, Google does. With iOS and android competing (and WP7 in the future) you can be certain that the mobile space will be going at a blistering pace, where as prior to iPhone it was almost in the same state as the browser pre-firefox.

So, perhaps I don't understand, but . . .

Mr. Lo speaking in Sydney, Australia had nothing important or valuable to add to the discussion of his own companies' products, but did decide to lash out at major companies to hide that fact.

. . . would that be a good summary of this?

Probs feeling the pinch that Netgear is not "setting trends". Linux/FOSS has been touted as the end of Win(x) / closed source for the past decade. Based on that I think i'l be safe for the next decade.

His contention is that Apple has been very innovative (a good thing in business i think?) and that this is solely attributable to Mr Jobs. True, historically Apple lost that and market share post Jobs (unwilling) departure. I don think the board and the executive are that dumb NOT to have future plans along with succession planning for Mr Jobs. (not this time around anyways esp given his health issues last few years).

Microsoft have shown that the succession of the founding member(s) is viable so Apples' future success is unlikely to completely hinge on Jobs.

What MS and Apple have to offer the consumer is consistency of experience and depth of support for their products (hard and soft) whereas Google have abrogated this and innovation (effectively) to their resellers and market makers (aka Apple).

What I find interesting is the "sour grapes" from a CEO whose business is solely dependent on the market penetration of the likes of MS and Apple and (alebit) Google to drive his sales!?

Who cares who wins (from his perspective) more home and business computing means a bigger market to play in for Netgear (duh!) ... So why antangonise the big boys? for what benefit?

This CEO is either VERY secure in his job or maybe not and has nothing to loose personally.

He sounds a little butt hurt to me.
Also, NetGear makes some super ****ty products. We have some of their ProSafe switches at work. A 66% failure rate does not a good product make.

ahhell said,
He sounds a little butt hurt to me.
Also, NetGear makes some super ****ty products. We have some of their ProSafe switches at work. A 66% failure rate does not a good product make.

The problem is that in the home-router market, Netgear got burned by closed-source suppliers (Marvell in particular). Notice that when Netgear changed chipsets for the refresh of the WNR3500 (not just the WNR3500L, but the WNR3500v2 as well) they instead went to Broadcom, who has actually not only woken up and smelled the coffee regarding open-source support, but allows third-party firmware for their router chipsets.

yeah, Microsoft is game over... that is why they had another record-breaking fiscal year.

I think both closed and open source models can play a role, and will continue to play a role in the future.

XerXis said,

I think both closed and open source models can play a role, and will continue to play a role in the future.

This

I've been saying this for years now. Some things need to be proprietary and other can do fine as Open Source model.

With Microsoft being willing to open up WP7 for developers to play with, going as far as supporting them in their efforts - i think WP7 will stay a viable option. Perhaps not as big as iphone or android but popular enough to warrant its existence.

DARKFiB3R said,
stfu and get your boys to release a firmware update for my router.

That is all.

Or use a 3rd party router firmware with more features thanks to what he is saying?

ZekeComa said,

use DD-WRT

The WNR3500v2 (which is Broadcom-based) supports DD-WRT (and OpenWRT as well) - however, if you have the older original WNR3500 (which has that alien Marvell TopDog chipset), you're outta luck. (I do own an original WNR3500, which, other than it being closed-source, is not bad for a basic wireless-N router. The problem is that extensibility, usually with third-party firmware, is what sells, and Netgear was indeed late realizing that.)

It's worth noting that Apple's approach is the antithesis of the business that Netgear built it's self on. It relies on open (not always open source) standards for it's core business. Networking in particular has benefited from an open standard. Would Netgear be doing so well (and the rest of the industry) if Apple had developed a special Apple only wireless networking solution? I doubt it.
It's also worth noting that Apple bashing is a sure fire way to get from the foot notes to the front pages. The online tech blogs are obsessed by Apple and Apple related stories. Making your company part of the cycle will get you noticed.

Chrispynutt said,
Would Netgear be doing so well (and the rest of the industry) if Apple had developed a special Apple only wireless networking solution? I doubt it.

The rest of the industry would be fine, this would've only affected Apple.

This coming from a man who's companies home router products are notorious for not supporting online gaming correctly. Sort your own products out before calling someone elses products a failure, especially after such a short space of time to break in to an already dominated market.

Teebor said,
This coming from a man who's companies home router products are notorious for not supporting online gaming correctly. Sort your own products out before calling someone elses products a failure, especially after such a short space of time to break in to an already dominated market.

If you are referring to Netgear's older products, that is also pretty much why Mr. Lo is horked off. Those older products came with closed-source firmware, and were practically hostile to any of the leading third-party, and open-source, firmware alternatives. (Those include the original WNR3500, but does not include the WNR3500v2, which has a newer, and more open, chipset, and explicitly supports third-party firmware.)

So Mr. Lo is indeed sorting out his own products - the question is how much damage has been done by the company's previous closed-source-only attitude.

I agree. Closed, proprietary IP is coming to an end. The freedom and modularity of FOSS software/systems open a huge cloud of possibilities that anyone can contribute to at their leisure. Freedom is in jeopardy everywhere, and the last thing people want to be tied down at is their damn computer/phone.

If it is coming to an end, it's got a heck of a long way to go still. Not to mention that Netbook and desktop Linux take up would also argue against any trend in that direction.

Educated Idiot said,
I agree. Closed, proprietary IP is coming to an end. The freedom and modularity of FOSS software/systems open a huge cloud of possibilities that anyone can contribute to at their leisure. Freedom is in jeopardy everywhere, and the last thing people want to be tied down at is their damn computer/phone.

Coming to an end alongside the year of the Linux desktop I'm sure. Hah, don't make me laugh.

Educated Idiot said,
I agree. Closed, proprietary IP is coming to an end. The freedom and modularity of FOSS software/systems open a huge cloud of possibilities that anyone can contribute to at their leisure. Freedom is in jeopardy everywhere, and the last thing people want to be tied down at is their damn computer/phone.

Really? Linux is DOA on the desktop. And even on the mobile side can't really get anywhere.

Educated Idiot said,
I agree. Closed, proprietary IP is coming to an end. The freedom and modularity of FOSS software/systems open a huge cloud of possibilities that anyone can contribute to at their leisure. Freedom is in jeopardy everywhere, and the last thing people want to be tied down at is their damn computer/phone.

You make it sound like close-source software like Windows limit your freedom.

Frylock86 said,

Really? Linux is DOA on the desktop. And even on the mobile side can't really get anywhere.

Just so you know, Android is Linux.

Glendi said,

Just so you know, Android is Linux.

I know Android is Linux, but so is how many other smartphone OSs, and it took the might of Google to push it.

While I do not agree WP7 is finished, it is pretty evident that Android will eventually overtake iOS just because it is more readily available. I agree with his points on that Google will overtake apple
But WP7? Who knows it only just came out

danisflying527 said,
While I do not agree WP7 is finished, it is pretty evident that Android will eventually overtake iOS just because it is more readily available. I agree with his points on that Google will overtake apple
But WP7? Who knows it only just came out