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Apple reportedly squeezing supplier to stop building MacBook Air clones from Asus

post #1 of 166
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Apple has reportedly asked Pegatron, one of its overseas device assemblers, to "choose sides" and stop producing the MacBook Air-like Zenbook from Asus, or else lose Apple's business.

Apple's apparent aggressive strategy with Pegatron was detailed on Monday by China Times ( Google Translate). It was said that Apple executives are upset because of the "high similarity" between the MacBook Air and the Zenbook from Asus.

It is expected that Pegatron will comply with Apple's demands, and Asus will move production of its thin-and-light Zenbook laptop to Compal or Wistron. That would allow Pegatron to continue production of Apple's hot selling MacBook Air.

The Asus Zenbook is one of a line of computers based on the "Ultrabook" specification spearheaded by chipmaker Intel. After the first Ultrabooks hit the market last year and saw soft sales, manufacturers began slashing prices to undercut Apple's MacBook Air.

Intel's Ultrabook class aims to bring "tablet-like features" to thin-and-light notebooks, but manufacturers have struggled to keep prices down. One report last year said that Apple's control of its overseas supply chain, particularly with respect to metal chassis, was a roadblock for PC makers.




Apple is so bullish on the success of its MacBook Air lineup that the company is expected to bring features from its ultraportable laptop to the high-end MacBook Pro lineup this year. AppleInsider detailed last week how a radical redesign of the MacBook Pro will make the company's 15- and 17-inch professional laptops look more like the MacBook Air.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 166
I believe in law at first suit.

But that's me.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #3 of 166
Oooohh..... this could serious attract antitrust scrutiny -- if true.
post #4 of 166
Sorry my friend tallest skill, apple are great these days at being bullies, no so great when it comes to actually making an os that is not a dog or has a few useful productivity features instead of being a buggy bric a brac with ios.

how about we finally get resolution independence at some point? Panther, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, slow leopard...oops vista...oopss again lion...so where is it?
post #5 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Sorry my friend tallest skill, apple are great these days at being bullies, no so great when it comes to actually making an os that is not a dog or has a few useful productivity features instead of being a buggy bric a brac with ios.

how about we finally get resolution independence at some point? Panther, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, slow leopard...oops vista...oopss again lion...so where is it?

And what does that have to do with the article?

The Zenbook looks identical to the MacBook Pro. That's lawsuit-worthy if Apple has the appropriate patents on the Air design.

Apple can't constrain production of other companies. That's also probably lawsuit worthy if it's done in an illegal manner.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #6 of 166
'Reportedly' - I'd be more interested if we were told who the China Times source is.
post #7 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has reportedly asked Pegatron, one of its overseas device assemblers, to "choose sides" and stop producing the MacBook Air-like Zenbook from Asus, or else lose Apple's business.

Pegatron can cut back on their costs, such as labor costs, if they no longer get profit from Asus. My guess is that only a slight lowering of wages for the remaining employees would do it.
post #8 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

... how about we finally get resolution independence at some point? Panther, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, slow leopard...oops vista...oopss again lion...so where is it?

As long as we have pixel-based screens, resolution independent GUIs make no sense.
post #9 of 166
I really don't understand why Apple is so offended by these copycats. People who buy them were not ever going to be Apple customers anyway. The cloners can't compete on price, quality, service, warranty, ecosystem, software, operating system reliability, resale value or ease of use.

Let the morons have their knock offs. There will always be knock offs. If they start putting Apple logos on them, that is when you take action.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #10 of 166
Apple in mobster voice, " Pegatron get ova here..what are you doing".. Pegatron, " boss I'm just trying to make some extra money".. Apple, " You either choose me or them or I'm going to kill your whole entire buisness.. you hear me! "..
post #11 of 166
More importantly when are we gonna see the new MacBook Pros. My MacBook Pro is only 2 years old so I won't be upgrading for another 2 years but I'm really interested in seeing how the MacBook Air's design translate into the 15" and 17" MacBook Pro. If Apple can get the next MacBook Pro 17" under 6 pounds I'll be getting one, else another 15".

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iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.66GHz 8GB RAM 120GB Intel 320M
Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

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post #12 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And what does that have to do with the article?

The Zenbook looks identical to the MacBook Pro. That's lawsuit-worthy if Apple has the appropriate patents on the Air design.

I doubt they do, or they would have gone that route rather than pressuring suppliers.

Quote:
Apple can't constrain production of other companies. That's also probably lawsuit worthy if it's done in an illegal manner.

Spot on. If this story is true, anantksundaram could be right.
I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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post #13 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And what does that have to do with the article?

The Zenbook looks identical to the MacBook Pro. That's lawsuit-worthy if Apple has the appropriate patents on the Air design.

Apple can't constrain production of other companies. That's also probably lawsuit worthy if it's done in an illegal manner.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple is about to file a law suit against Asus over this copying because they do in fact have patents on the design. which is far more than 'a rectangle with a glass touch screen'. And perhaps the message they sent to Pegatron was that by building these units they were making themselves partners in the 'crime' and would be treated as such. So they needed to make a choice before they were sued over this situation.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #14 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I really don't understand why Apple is so offended by these copycats.

In this case it may be less about copycats and more about Asus gaining from the manufacturers lessons learned and equipment purchased to build the MBA.

"Asus if you want to copy, we can't stop you, but you won't get benefits from us" is probably what Apple is thinking.
post #15 of 166
Smart move by Apple!

You can't be making Macbook Airs for Apple while you're also making Macbook Air clones for Asus. Pegatron would be mistaken if they believe that they can have their cake and eat it too.

The choice is easy, do you want to continue to have Apple's business or do you wish to continue and have the clone makers business?

You can't be accepting Apple's money with your left hand, while your right hand is giving Apple the finger. I'm certain that even Chinese people and commies surely understand that simple concept.

Apple should hire some Mafia looking people with New York accents to be permanently based in China and to represent Apple and their business interests in that country. And these wiseguys would ensure that none of the Chinese suppliers get any funny ideas. They would keep them in line and remind them from time to time what happens if they try and screw around with Apple.
post #16 of 166
Yep, and I'm a manu bidding on Apple work, I'm going to think twice before I start producing products for an Apple copyist -- because Apple has a long memory.

Slow'em down..
post #17 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Srice View Post

In this case it may be less about copycats and more about Asus gaining from the manufacturers lessons learned and equipment purchased to build the MBA.

"Asus if you want to copy, we can't stop you, but you won't get benefits from us" is probably what Apple is thinking.

Which is a compelling reason for Apple to build their own factories. If they can keep so many far east manufacturers busy full time, they might as well just own the factory outright.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #18 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Apple can't constrain production of other companies. That's also probably lawsuit worthy if it's done in an illegal manner.

They have about 3% of the global market for PCs. They are far from having an anti-trust position. They can ask a supplier for exclusivity.
post #19 of 166
Apple should use the same tactic to force better working standards for their factory employees and also get China to accept international trademark standards (helllo iPad). Imagine if Apple threatened to leave China and manufacture somewhere else!
post #20 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Which is a compelling reason for Apple to build their own factories. If they can keep so many far east manufacturers busy full time, they might as well just own the factory outright.

They could site it in a country like Syria. That way, community standards would apply, and so long as the workers didn't get killed because of military assaults, they would be better off.

Win/Win.
post #21 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by KPOM View Post

They have about 3% of the global market for PCs. They are far from having an anti-trust position. They can ask a supplier for exclusivity.

My guess is that there are few anti-trust laws in China. It is an attractive business environment for multinational corporations.
post #22 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Smart move by Apple!

You can't be making Macbook Airs for Apple while you're also making Macbook Air clones for Asus. Pegatron would be mistaken if they believe that they can have their cake and eat it too.

You can't be accepting Apple's money with your left hand, while your right hand is giving Apple the finger. I'm certain that even Chinese people and commies surely understand that simple concept.

I don't know, seems to be working ok for Samsung so far, LOL.
I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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post #23 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

They could site it in a country like Syria. That way, community standards would apply, and so long as the workers didn't get killed because of military assaults, they would be better off.

Not sure what you are trying to say but I do wonder why Apple is developing an R&D center in Israel. Investing in that part of the world seems a little risky at the moment.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #24 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has reportedly asked Pegatron, one of its overseas device assemblers, to "choose sides" and stop producing the MacBook Air-like Zenbook from Asus, or else lose Apple's business.

I could have swore someone told me Apple had very little leverage with their overseas suppliers. Hmm.
Andrew
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Andrew
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post #25 of 166
Who gives a damn. I wouldn't but a wintel laptop if you paid me.
post #26 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Sorry my friend tallest skill, apple are great these days at being bullies, no so great when it comes to actually making an os that is not a dog or has a few useful productivity features instead of being a buggy bric a brac with ios.

how about we finally get resolution independence at some point? Panther, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, slow leopard...oops vista...oopss again lion...so where is it?

Would it kill some people to actually write above a 2nd grade level?
post #27 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Not sure what you are trying to say but I do wonder why Apple is developing an R&D center in Israel. Investing in that part of the world seems a little risky at the moment.

The difference between Israel and Syria is that one is a leading hi-tech democratic country and the other is a brutal and primitive dictatorship which is currently slaughtering it's citizens by the boatload last I checked on the news.
post #28 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oooohh..... this could serious attract antitrust scrutiny -- if true.

I doubt it. Apple has less than a 10% share of the global PC market. Even if you include iPads in that count, their share is still far less than 50%. So how exactly is Apple a monopolist?

Plus, it's not like Asus can't go to other contract manufacturers.

The thing that people consistently fail to understand is that in order for there to be an anti-trust violation you need BOTH (1) a trust (aka monopoly) and (2) anticompetitive behavior. A monopolist that is not behaving in an anti-competitive way is not necessarily violating anti-trust law, nor is a non-monopolist behaving in an anti-competitive way.

One of the amazing things about Apple (at least to me) is how far they have come without monopolizing anything. The only thing Apple has that even remotely resembles a monopoly is the iTunes music store. But even that's a stretch -- there are plenty of other ways to get music and video.
post #29 of 166
Simple solution for Apple. Build your own factories in China, Brazil and US. Make your own machines for aluminum carving; even better, mine your own aluminum. This way no one can compete against you.
Apple had me at scrolling
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #30 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

I don't know, seems to be working ok for Samsung so far, LOL.

Samsung is a pretty big supplier. I suppose that it's not that easy for Apple to just dump them like that. They will eventually get what's coming to them.
post #31 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I really don't understand why Apple is so offended by these copycats. People who buy them were not ever going to be Apple customers anyway. The cloners can't compete on price, quality, service, warranty, ecosystem, software, operating system reliability, resale value or ease of use.

Let the morons have their knock offs. There will always be knock offs. If they start putting Apple logos on them, that is when you take action.


Apple designs, patents (the process for unibook construction),does the marketing, the form and content design SSD, wedge, lack of optical, instant on etc etc, and then these ultra book clones come in and use their intellectual property and their manufacture facility (apple is said to have bought the milling machines for the unibody process in their supply chain investments) using a subsidy from intel to try to undercut the process and apple haters ask why apple takes aggressive moves to defend its' turf.

Just as samsung tried to copy the iPad, these guys are trying to look like Airs to get some of the pie back whether it is on the look or the engineering it doesn't matter. As an apple shareholder I'd be pissed if they did not defend their market. If there is an issue of anti-competitive behavior going on maybe it would be intel subsidizing the competition?

See what I don't get is if you want a windows laptop in the Air design just get a mac and put windows on it, that way you get to pay the microsoft tax (the cost of the operating system) directly and see where the true inflexible cost of windows comes from (the msft and intc monopoly).
post #32 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And what does that have to do with the article?

The Zenbook looks identical to the MacBook Pro. That's lawsuit-worthy if Apple has the appropriate patents on the Air design.

Apple can't constrain production of other companies. That's also probably lawsuit worthy if it's done in an illegal manner.

It has to do with losing focus of their user base and their needs, their core "desktop" os which instead of developing with some actual innovation for productivity they have it pandering to the ios crowd with inexplicable backward choices to match ios aesthetically (said choices don't make sense on os x most of them) and denying to fix long standing problems such as resolution independence.

Instead they are focusing more and more on their litigation than their development team. Is it an accident that a supply chain master is at the helm and not someone with some vision for they core business?

If they have the patents then they should sue, not bully. Apparently the design is sufficiently tweaked so they can't sue...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quick View Post

As long as we have pixel-based screens, resolution independent GUIs make no sense.

lol, just lol....no it makes sense to get eye strain and eventually wear glasses from ant sized fonts while resolutions keep increasing. RI doesnt make sense because of pixel based screens, ok, denial is not a river in egypt...
post #33 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by larry91403 View Post

Apple should use the same tactic to force better working standards for their factory employees and also get China to accept international trademark standards (helllo iPad). Imagine if Apple threatened to leave China and manufacture somewhere else!

Apples to Oranges. They're manufacturing 10s of millions of iPad/iPhone in China each year, there's no other place to do it. But Macbook Air? That's different, it's relatively small no. being produced each year means it's possible to be moved somewhere else.

Back to the case, If I were Pegatron? I'd just stop producing for Apple. The reason is simple, the margin is way too low! If Apple wants exclusivity? Sure, pay more for it.
post #34 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oooohh..... this could serious attract antitrust scrutiny -- if true.

Maybe not.
Apple have pays Pegatron to tool up for making macbook airs.
If Pegatron starts to use same tools to make compedetors products its really shady.

But this is the problem with outsourcing.

Nothing stops Pegatron from make a "Samsung" and start to build their own Ultrabooks with
the same design as Macbook Air. This is how Samsung/HTC/LG have done in history to become what they are today.

HTC would not exist if idiotic telephone companies like Ericsson did not outsource their phone manufacturing to them late 1990. Late HTC started to sell same phones whit their own brand instead.
post #35 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Sorry my friend tallest skill, apple are great these days at being bullies, no so great when it comes to actually making an os that is not a dog or has a few useful productivity features instead of being a buggy bric a brac with ios.

how about we finally get resolution independence at some point? Panther, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, slow leopard...oops vista...oopss again lion...so where is it?

Resolution Independence is dead. It doesnt work. Apple found a much better (in terms of actually being achievable) solution in "Retina" resolutions (i.e., simply doubling resolutions).

Resolution Independence is unlikely to happen within the next decade (unless we find an easy way of converting all bitmap images to vector images).
post #36 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oooohh..... this could serious attract antitrust scrutiny -- if true.

If the design and manufacturing processes were Apple's IP maybe reusing the knowledge gained (and i would have thought subject to NDA) from being an Apple manufacturer to assist others make the same previously unique product is something Apple could prevent legally? No idea just wondering out loud.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #37 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

You can't be accepting Apple's money with your left hand, while your right hand is giving Apple the finger. I'm certain that even Chinese people and commies surely understand that simple concept.

Finally a comment I (mostly) agree with.

Pegatron was able to purchase manufacturing equipment and perfect that assembly process with the investments Apple made (and expertise they loaned), so Apple should be able to curtail who benefits from that assembly line.

However, the comment about commies is hilarious. This situation is one of the purest examples of capitalism you can find. Pegatron now has an assembly line which can produce MacBook Airs, why wouldn't they try to maximize their profit by making it accessible to others who want to produce clones? If Apple didn't stipulate in the contract that they have exclusive rights to that assembly line, then it's a smart business move on Pegatron's part.
 
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post #38 of 166
Would this cause anti-trust scrutiny? Apple is unlikely to have said "Hey, you cannot build stuff for them". They would have said "Hey, if you continue building stuff for them, we will take our business elsewhere". I dont see why that raises anti-trust concerns. Apple has all the rights in the world to do business with whoever they want (except, they cannot discriminate on grounds of sex/race/etc.I doubt competitors are protected by this).
post #39 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by larry91403 View Post

Apple should use the same tactic to force better working standards for their factory employees and also get China to accept international trademark standards (helllo iPad). Imagine if Apple threatened to leave China and manufacture somewhere else!

Oh, good. I was wondering when this was going to creep in for absolutely no reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

It has to do with losing focus of their user base

Their user base is just as many iDevices as it is Macs.

Quote:
and their needs,

No one 'needs' resolution independence.

Quote:
their core "desktop" os which instead of developing with some actual innovation for productivity

Do you have an example of what this would be?

Quote:
long standing problems such as resolution independence.

Again, how is this a need OR a problem?

Quote:
Instead they are focusing more and more on their litigation than their development team.

Do you know this? Is there a breakdown of how much Apple has paid lawyers versus how much they've invested in R&D?

Quote:
Is it an accident that a supply chain master is at the helm and not someone with some vision for they core business?

It's no accident that the CEO is a brilliant businessman while the creative guys are off to the side, allowing them to spend time on CREATING instead of business.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #40 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

Pegatron was able to purchase manufacturing equipment and perfect that assembly process with the investments Apple made (and expertise they loaned), so Apple should be able to curtail who benefits from that assembly line.

Except, Apple isnt curtailing who benefits from the assembly line. They are simply saying that if a competitors is using that same assembly line, they will choose to go to another assembly line.
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