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Netgear boss slams Steve Jobs' 'ego'

Head of networking firm lays into Apple CEO

Steve Jobs and Apple have both been on the receiving end of some harsh words from the boss of Netgear, a networking firm.

Jobs - currently on an indefinite leave of absence due to medical reasons - was portrayed as an egomaniac by Netgear chairman and CEO, Patrick Lo, in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

Lo said that the only motivation Jobs had for his high-profile disagreement with Adobe over Flash last year was his ego. "What's the reason for him to trash Flash? There's no reason other than ego," Lo told the newspaper.

Lo predicted problems for Apple with iOS and the iPhone if it continued to follow what he considers to be a 'closed' strategy.

"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. 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," Lo said.

Apple's success, said Lo, was based around closed systems, such as its dominance of the digital music market where it not only owns iTunes, the world's largest digital music store, but manufactures the iPod, the world's most popular digital music player. "They own the market," Lo 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. Eventually they've got to find a way to open up iTunes without giving too much away on their revenue generation model," he said.

It is the timing of Lo's comments that is most astonishing of all - Jobs two weeks ago issued a statement announcing that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from Apple for medical reasons. Tim Cook, Apple's COO, has taken over Jobs' day-to-day duties.

A city analyst was last week forced to apologise for insensitive comments she made about Jobs' illness in a briefing for clients.

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