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Acer: Apple products are "mutant viruses"

updated 09:00 am EDT, Thu September 9, 2010

Acer chief thinks of iPad and iPhone as plagues

Apple's products are "mutant viruses" that need to be cured, Acer's creator Stan Shih claimed to reporters late Wednesday. Shih saw Steve Jobs' insistence on revolutionary hardware as creating rampant but short-term growth for devices like the iPad and iPhone. While initially successful, the approach would eventually be defeated by competition that "evolves naturally" and becomes "immune" to the Apple effect, the executive insisted.

He trotted out the repeated example of the Mac and implied that it was marginalized in a similar process. Supporting an "open" platform like Windows helped competitors evolve to be larger than Apple. A similar effect happened with VHS versus Sony's in-house Betamax format, Shih said. The executive assumed Android was having a similar result and would help "isolate" Apple.

He didn't have an answer for why the iPod is still the dominant media player despite being a closed infrastructure. Microsoft had tried to insist that its device-independent PlaysForSure DRM and media standards would overtake the iPod and pointed to many manufacturers that supported it, but it eventually failed out and led Microsoft to kill the approach in favor of the more iPod-like Zune platform. He also didn't address issues that affected Apple's performance with the Mac, such as its leadership during Jobs' absence.

Shih was still kind to Apple and paradoxically claimed that its tightly integrated hardware and software model was something to build on, despite it being based on the same closed system he disliked. Taiwanese companies like Acer were focusing too much on hardware and not enough on software. It needed a "culture of innovation" that didn't exist yet, he said.

He wrapped his views with a belief that US PC builders would eventually disappear. American companies are used to living on bigger profit margins than those in Taiwan, and so they may decide to switch over to services rather than produce hardware. Acer's founder nonetheless warned that those in his home country needed to add worth to avoid being completely commoditized and replaceable. Such results aren't likely to come in the future, as Apple is the only one not slowing down notebook orders where even Acer has had to throttle back demand.

By Electronista Staff


  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jan 2000



    What a moron.

  1. legacyb4

    Mac Elite

    Joined: May 2001


    You know the competition is worried when

    the CEOs of companies that we normally don't hear about start making grandstanding statements like this. Seriously? Like what's a single Acer product that has "evolved" over the last 10 years?

  1. gor3don

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005


    Windows is an open platform?

    Maybe his English isn't so good and it didn't translate properly.

    I would think "mutant viruses" would be a better description for Windows.

  1. sibeale1

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006



    As I recall, Acer was created when IBM threw in the towel on its PC business, seeing the handwriting on the wall. Acer's product has been commoditized from the beginning.

  1. nomster

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2009



    now whenever I see an Acer product (once every 5 years) I'll think, 'Oh look there's a product by that company created by an imbecile'


  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    OK ... Who Left The Door Unlocked ...

    on Uncle Stan's room? We told you folks to WATCH that - and never let him get near a microphone.

    This guy couldn't cure a ham.

  1. cmoney

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2000


    Thanks for confirming

    that Taiwanese hardware manufacturers still Just Don't Get It. Same goes for Japanese companies who, with rare exception, make some of the worst software UIs on the planet.

  1. c4rlob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009


    Expensive consultant metaphor

    Sounds like some kind of competitive research analogy that they paid millions of dollars for some consultant to figure out how Acer could beat Apple in the market. But they forgot to tell Acer that some viruses aren't curable :)

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    S___ting bricks

    Someone has a serious constipation problem.


    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2009


    Drunk? or High?

    Hum! Was this guy drunk? or simply sniffing fumes from stuff that is dangerous?

    Windows is an open system ? That takes the cake for a stupid moronic idiotic mentally retarded statement.

    Oh wait that is it. He was under duress - Steve Ballmer had a water pistol to his head.

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