Apple products are a mutant virus, but PC brands will eventually find a cure, says Acer founder

Yen-Shyang Hwang, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES [Thursday 9 September 2010]

Acer founder Stan Shih, in a talks with reporters on September 8, commented that Apple’s strong popularity is mainly due to its products such as iPad and iPhone, and these products are like mutant viruses, which are difficult to find a cure for in the short-term, but he believes that PC vendors will eventually find a way to isolate Apple and become immune.

Shih pointed out that Apple deserves to be respected, since it has a completely different strategy than other PC brands. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has always been looking for revolution, while other PC brands evolved naturally and are developing products in a more solid way, Shih commented. But based on the historical experience, a market that evolves naturally will always turn out to be much stronger, according to Shih.

Shih used the example of the competition between Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Macintosh OS and noted the Apple has always looked down on Windows and believes it lacks creativity. But Windows’ open platform has attracted the adoption of most PC brands, Shih said adding that, Apple’s PC market has turned out to be limited, with a market share far less than the open Windows platform group. Shih also brought up the example of the competition between video tape formats, pointing out that the open VHS standard won against the closed Betamax format.

Shih noted that Google’s Android operating system is already attracting a lot PC brands to develop related products and this is one of the factors that proves that PC brands will eventually be able to isolate Apple.

However, Shih still praised Apple’s creativity and innovation, especially its highly integrated hardware and software and its completely established online application store and believes its strategy should be a good example for PC brands to learn from. Shih noted that all Apple’s applications are built on a culture of innovation, while Taiwan’s industry has been focusing too much on hardware and, as a result, has not been able to penetrate into the consumer’s heart. He believes that Taiwan IT industry players should speed up their development in software and applications and create a culture of innovation to grab the market opportunity in China.

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. Meanwhile, Taiwan PC players, which are used to living on thin profits, will need to start considering how to create more added-value, and not purely produce highly-replaceable hardware products.

Apple products are a mutant virus, but PC brands will eventually find a cure, says Acer founder.

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