You may not have heard of Ruslan Kogan. The Australian entrepreneur and head of consumer tech brand Kogan may have been a multi-millionaire before the age of 30, but his fame – and his wealth – is concentrated almost entirely Down Under.
But his latest prognostications on all things Apple are likely to get him a wide audience than any of his business achievements: Kogan has labelled Apple fans “naïve lemmings” for lapping up everything Cupertino produces without question, and accused Apple of “dumbing down technology”.
Speaking to T3, Kogan wasn't holding back in his criticism of the world's most successful tech brand. “It’s amazing how Apple can market a piece of technology and everyone who buys that Apple product thinks they’re being an early adopter,” he fumed.
“I was using my old Nokia N95 to browse the net, listen to music, tether to my laptop and make video calls, but everyone thought that the iPhone was the first to allow this. Apple’s FaceTime users don’t realise that other phones have been doing this for the last ten years.”
Even when he did appear to have something positive to say about Apple, it was more a case of damning with faint praise than dishing out genuine compliments. “By dumbing down technology, Apple has been able to tap into a far wider audience... you have to commend Apple for this. I use a Google Nexus S, but when it came to buying my mum a phone, I got her an iPhone. Now she is sending SMS for the first time ever.”
Not surprisingly, Kogan's fierce opposition to Apple has made him an outspoken Android fan. “Android is ideal for anyone who believes in open platforms. Apple is in bed with too many partners. It blocks a lot of technology because it doesn’t want to upset those partners.
“For instance, I have been using the wireless hotspot on my phone for a while now. Apple didn’t want to do this initially because their telco partners were upset that people would stop buying dongles with data packages.”
Having had his say about Apple the company, Kogan had one more parting shot for Apple fans: “I think it’s hilarious that people will queue for hours in terrible conditions to get a gadget a few hours before the general public. I was in New York when the iPad 3G launched and you could have mistaken it for a rock concert.
“People outside the store were going wild. You could see that Apple were tapping into users who wanted to show off. Apple’s marketing is centred around ‘people want things that other people have’.”
Opinionated he may be, but at least Kogan isn't just a talking head. Towards the end of 2008, Kogan Technology came close to being the second to market with an Android handset after the T-Mobile G1. The Kogan Agora never quite saw the light of day due to app compatibility issues, but things were certainly looking promising for a while there.