Acer founder: Apple products are 'mutant viruses'

Stan Shih says PC brands will find a way to become immune
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The founder of Taiwanese computer giant Acer described Apple's products such as the iPad and iPhone as "mutant viruses", but he believes PC vendors will find a way to become immune.

Speaking to a local press conference, Stan Shih did however say that Apple was deserving of praise since it had achieved success through a different strategy than PC-based brands.

DigiTimes reports that Shih considered Apple as a brand looking for revolution while PC brands "evolved naturally".

Shih reportedly said that a market that "evolves naturally" will always turn out to be much stronger, citing Microsoft's Windows and Apple's MacOS and drawing parallels between what he described as the "open" VHS standard against the "closed" Betamax format.

Echoing similar comments from Taiwanese executives such as Asus boss Jerry Shen about closed systems, Shih noted that Google's Android OS was attracting companies to develop related products and that this would be one of the leading factors in a PC industry able to "isolate" Apple.

Shih was critical of the Taiwanese computer industry focus on hardware compared to Apple's focus on this area. A strategy which had made it difficult to "penetrate into the consumer's heart." Shih advocated a boost in sofware development and a culture of innovation in order to capture the emerging Chinese market.

The Acer boss painted a gloomy picture for the outlook of US-based computer PC manufacturers, citing the IBM sale of the Lenovo brand to a Chinese company. With margins tighter and tighter, the US would turn to services while the Taiwanese industry, better able to compete on tight margins,

Shih also predicted that US-based PC vendors will eventually quit the PC market in the long term, and pointed to IBM's sale of its PC department to Lenovo is one of the signs. Since profits from PC products will only fall lower and lower, US PC brands are likely to turn their focus to the services industry in the future.

The Taiwanese industry would not be able to survive on this business alone, he said, but would need to find ways to create value and not become isolated as manufacturers of "highly replacable" hardware.

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