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Apple is outdated, says Chinese tech CEO

Technically Incorrect: Jia Yueting CEO of LeEco (formerly LeTV) says Apple is just a hardware-and-software company. You know, a little old fashioned.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Jia Yueting, not an admirer of Apple.

CNBC screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's fashionable to believe that everything progressive in tech happens in Silicon Valley.

Jia Yueting, the billionaire chairman and CEO of multi-faceted Chinese tech company LeEco (formerly LeTv), thinks this notion is so much pish-tosh.

As CNBC reports, he told the Chinese Entrepreneurs Club last week that while Apple is just a hardware-and-software company, LeEco begins with the Internet and only then thinks about products.

He suggested that Apple is not only outdated, but has also lost its spirit of innovation.

"One of the most important reasons [for slowing sales] is that Apple's innovation has become extremely slow," he said.

He took particular aim at the iPhone SE.

"From an industry insider's perspective, this is a product with a very low level of technology," he said of the phone. "We think this is something they just shouldn't have done."

As for Apple being plain outdated, he explained that Cupertino's focus on individual apps for different tasks is mistaken.

"This was the right choice during the first generation of mobile net," he said, "when CPUs [central processing units] and the mobile network speeds were not fast enough."

But in the world of the mobile Web, this simply isn't a problem, according to Jia.

Moreover, "having separate apps just means great obstacles in the user experience," he said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes apps -- especially with Apple TV -- are the future. Could he be wrong about this?

Jia seems to think that Cook isn't merely wrong, but that Apple is responsible for the tech industry being slow to innovate.

"Apple's over-dominance, lack of Internet-thinking and the closed off nature of its systems, all hindered innovation in the Internet mobile industry," he said.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

This isn't the first time Jia and LeEco, which also makes bikes and TVs, have taken aim at Cupertino's ways.

Last year, the company compared Apple to Adolf Hitler in an ad. (It later apologized.)

It's easy, though, to think that Apple has, indeed, slowed down. Somehow, at 40, it doesn't quite excite in the way it used to. What's remarkable, though, is that -- at least in the US -- the iPhone still seems to be the favorite phone among teens.

Some might muse that a Chinese tech executive criticizing Apple for allegedly rigid and old-fashioned ways is amusing given that, for example, Facebook is banned in China.

Of course, this could just be another tech company trying to get publicity by saying Apple is an old goat.