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Netgear CEO rails on Apple's Steve Jobs, praises Android

Netgear chairman and CEO Patrick Lo went on a rant Monday against Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs, criticizing Jobs' "ego" and Apple's "closed" business model.

During a lunch in Sydney, Australia, Lo called out Apple as destined to fail because of its closed platform, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"Ultimately a closed system just can't go that far," Lo said. "If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it's pretty difficult as I see it."

Citing several examples, such as the Betamax vs. VHS video format war and Mac vs. Windows, Lo argued that open platforms have repeatedly won out over closed ecosystems.

"Eventually they've got to find a way to open up iTunes without giving too much away on their revenue generation model," said the CEO.

According to Lo, the iTunes distribution model amounts to Jobs effectively extorting content providers such as the movie studios by charging a "ransom" for content. "Steve Jobs wants to suffocate the distribution so even though he doesn't own the content he could basically demand a ransom," he said.

Lo also blamed last year's heated war of words between Adobe and Apple on Steve Jobs' ego. "What's the reason for him to trash Flash? There's no reason other than ego," Lo remarked.

When asked if he had communicated his concerns to Jobs, Lo replied: "Steve Jobs doesn't give me a minute!"

Not all of Lo's criticisms were directed at Apple, though. When asked how Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will fare against Android and the iPhone, he said, "Microsoft is over - game over - from my point of view."

Lo's comments about Jobs could provoke a controversy, as they may be perceived as a 'low blow,' given that Jobs is currently on medical leave for unspecified medical issues. Apple announced earlier in January that Jobs will take a second leave of absence, with Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook again standing in for him.

For instance, it is unclear what Lo means when he says that Jobs will "go away" in the not too distant future. "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," Lo said on Monday.

Lo's comments could also be seen as non sequitur because his company, which sells mostly networking equipment, does not directly compete with Apple.