Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

Summary: Don't believe everything you read in the media.

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Yesterday, a report surfaced on the Chinese website Commercial Times (Google Translate here) claiming that Apple had approached PC builder Pegatron and told them to 'choose sides'. Either it can build the MacBook Air for Apple or the Zenbook for ASUS, but it cannot do both.

The report goes on to claim that ASUS has approached two other Taiwanese manufacturers, Compal and Wistron, asking them to build the Zenbook. Based on this one unsourced piece, dozens of tech websites have jumped on the story, claiming that Apple is acting anti-competitively and in a monopolistic manner.

There's so much wrong with this that I don't know where to begin:

  • First, there's no source for the story. Either that, or it has been totally lost in translation.
  • Secondly, this whole story hinges on the fact that Apple is somehow worried or threatened by the ASUS Zenbook, something which I highly doubt.
  • This whole 'choose sides' thing sounds too much like evil genius speak than it does the way a multi-billion dollar and multi-national company might carry out talk.
  • The business world is more complex that asking players to choose sides. Apple and Pegatron (and Pegatron and all of its other customers) will have contracts. Now it's possible that the Apple-Pegatron and ASUS-Pegatron contracts were in the process of being renegotiated, but if that wasn't the case, I don't see how Pegatron could be forced to choose sides (or even if willing, actually be able to do that without it being a breach of contract).
  • I've been hearing rumors for a while now that ASUS was looking to shift production from Pegatron for cost and scale reasons. Is entirely possible that ASUS is moving production, but that this has nothing to do with pressure from Apple.
  • If this story is true, why isn't ASUS using it to beat Apple over the head with in the media?
  • If Apple has a problem with Pegatron being involved in the design and manufacture of hardware that looks like Apple stuff, then why not pressure other companies such as Foxconn?
  • Apple can't really afford to throw its weight around with manufacturing and design companies like some in the media think it can. It can't just click its fingers and make sweeping changes because it is reliant on these companies to bring products to market. It would take Apple easily five years -- if not more -- to be able to get to a position where it could start doing he work of even a fraction of its supply chain. As much clout as we might think that Apple has, I don't see it having enough to start brandishing ultimatums and possibly burning bridges.
  • The story feeds into this image of Apple being some pushy, evil company treading on everyone and everything to get its way. It asks us to suspend disbelief and go on with that train of thinking without offering a shred of proof.
  • I've seen claims that Pegatron was using Apple proprietary 'ring fenced' technology to build the Zenbook. If that were the case, why would Apple want too deal with Pegatron any more? Surely the Cupertino giant would be displeased and have dumped the disloyal company into its purpose-built shark tank, Bond villain style.

Sorry, but when your entire house of cards story is built on a foundation of an unsourced 'rumor' (I've got to put that word in quotes) then it's hard to give the 'story' (more quotes...) any credibility.

Topics: Linux, Android, Google, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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22 comments
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  • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

    Interesting opinion. That article was only published yesterday, or maybe the day before yesterday depending on which side of the international date line you're on. I know this is only a blog and you're not a real journalist but has anyone actually tried following up on this with the companies involved or do we have to continue to rely on anonymous sources and unfounded speculation?
    marbo100
    • I believe

      @marbo100
      I believe you just re-stated the point of the article.
      use_what_works_4_U
  • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

    Umm, I was comparing the Zenbook to my Air, at a local store and What I saw was a 13" MacBook Air Feature Set for a base model 11" MacBook Air Price.

    I am not saying this stuff is true but, given ASUS reputation among PC Tech Types, Apple would be wise not to ignore them.
    slickjim
    • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

      @Peter Perry <br><br>Do you work in inventory control? You're always posting about how many unsold iPads there are at your local Best Buy, or what is in stock at your "local store."<br><br>From CNet's review of the Zenbook: "Cheaper, it is: as for better, I'd have to disagree. Excellent speakers, sleek design, and a high-resolution screen are accompanied by a finicky keyboard and touch pad, giving the ever-so-slightly-off sensation when working on the Zenbook. It feels like the opposite of the silky-smooth experience on a MacBook Air. Battery life is short of the Air's lofty numbers, too."
      msalzberg
    • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

      @Peter Perry <br>+1

      Read a few reviews on the Zenbook and it truly is getting fantastic reviews. Sure, some Apple fanbois may be able to pull out negative statements but reviews on the Macbook air aren't also 100% positive so that is to be expected. Also of interest to some Apple fanbois of limited intelligence is that Asus changed out the trackpad on the Zenbook and the new one is fantastic, no complaints on it at all. Of course, that doesn't fit with the Apple fanboi script that they all must follow so they won't mention that.

      Thanks Peter Perry, great post.
      toddbottom
      • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

        @NonZealot

        What do the owners of Zenbooks with the lousy trackpads do?
        msalzberg
    • Again, great post

      @Peter Perry
      +1

      I really enjoyed reading it.
      toddbottom
      • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

        @NonZealot

        If I keep posting replies to you, will you continue to "+1?"
        msalzberg
    • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

      @Peter Perry
      Fun facts, Asustek used to make the first Intel-based iBooks (MacBook) back in 2006. This spells Samsung-Apple ordeal all over again.
      Samic
      • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

        @Samic
        Interesting tidbit. I can see why Apple would be concerned about the great reviews that Asus is getting. I've always been a big fan of Asus motherboards and my latest laptop is an Asus that is absolutely fantastic.
        toddbottom
    • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

      @Peter Perry
      +1
      toddbottom
      • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

        @toddbottom

        Very funny, ;)
        msalzberg
      • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

        Glad you approved. Sometimes ZDNet can be a fun game.

        "What do the owners of Zenbooks with the lousy trackpads do?"

        Presumably the same thing that owners of the iPhone 3GS can do about the lousy resolution on their phones. Live with it.

        No product is perfect, not even the MacBook Air, which was my point. You buy the best product you can find and you live with the deficiencies in that product the best you can. Overall, the Zenbook is getting fantastic reviews. Strong competition for the MacBook Air. Isn't that a good thing? I think it is.
        toddbottom
  • I believe Apple probably did this

    It would be in line with Apple's past behavior.
    toddbottom
    • I totally agree with you...

      @toddbottom
      The legacy of Steve "Capone" Jobs will "paste" to the skin of apple strategy for a long time.
      MIMP
      • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

        @MIMP
        +1
        toddbottom
  • Last time I checked

    Intel and Microsoft was pulling something like that and get a billion dollar Anti-trust lawsuit... So I don't think Apple is that stupid to do something like that.
    Samic
    • Apple believes it doesn't have a monopoly

      @Samic
      This is always the defense whenever Apple's behavior mirrors behavior that has landed other companies in trouble.

      Who knows, Apple might even be right on this one. That doesn't mean they didn't do it if they honestly believe that their 10% marketshare gives them protection to do whatever they want, no matter how unsavory.
      toddbottom
  • RE: Apple orders PC builder to dump ASUS? Probably not

    Shame on you for defending Apple ...
    AdnanPirota
    • Actually, I think he was defending the facts

      @AdnanPirota or, more accurately, the lack of them in the article.
      matthew_maurice