Ever since Steve Jobs announced his most recent leave of absence from Apple for health reasons, pundits have been debating just how well the Cupertino company can survive without their illustrious leader. Netgear's CEO, Patrick Lo, told a table of journalists at a lunch today that the future for Apple in a post Steve Jobs world is to be more open.
"It's critical for Apple to make a decision how to go forward. And I think as long as Steve jobs lives, there's no way they're going to open it up. But once Steve Jobs goes away, then Apple probably would have to make a very strategic decision to open up their platform. i personally think that if they open up their platform and let more people jump on it, they're going to dominate" Lo said.
"We've seen this movie played many times. A classic example is in networking: Years ago it was dominated by proprietary networking. You've got IBM's SNA, you've got digital's DECNET, and then you've got Europeans pushing for OXI. Guess what? Finally TCP/IP just won, hands down. It might not be the most efficient, it might not be the most elegant, but it's the most open."
Despite admitting that Jobs had no time for him, Netgear and Apple have a fairly good relationship, with Netgear being the first company to support Time Machine backups outside the Apple ecosystem.
But ultimately, it really sharing Time Machine support just needs to be the start for the Cupertino company in Lo's opinion: "Right now the closed platform has been successful for Apple because they've been way ahead as thought leaders because of Steve Jobs." "Eventually they've got to find a way to open up iTunes without giving away too much on their revenue generation model."