Rob Enderle tries to write about Apple.. hijinks ensue

Wed, Feb 4, 2009

Analysis, Featured, News

Rob Enderle’s latest article is a perfect example of how he’s either not qualified to write about tech, or that his bias against Apple is so great that he can’t possibly write about Apple without sounding like a complete fool.

In his latest article, he argues that Apple going after Palm will turn Apple into Microsoft.  First of all, it should be noted that Apple has never made any indication that it was going after Palm.  All of this hoopla about an Apple v. Palm mega-lawsuit is rooted in Tim Cook’s statement, in response to a leading question, that Apple would vigorously defend its IP.

The hypothetical nature of Enderle’s premise aside, let’s take a look at some of his more ‘meaty’ arguments.

Apple, however, enjoys a unique position. Unlike Microsoft, it husbands its image very well and manipulates the media very effectively. As a result, it can get away with massively anti-competitive actions. Part of this is because it isn’t considered a monopoly, even though it effectively is in the MP3 player space. This too demonstrates that rules that may apply to others don’t tend to apply to Apple.

Wow, where do I even begin?!  First, Enderle’s evidence of Apple manipulating the media is an article from 2005 discussing how everyone loved Apple’s newly introduced Video iPod.  Apparently the author of the article wasn’t a fan, and because lots of people were, it must have been the result of some large scale market manipulation on the part of Apple.  Brilliant!

Next, Enderle claims that Apple is able to get away with “massively anti-competitive” behavior, and he links to an article about Apple refusing to allow Podcaster into the iTunes App Store.  I’m not sure that Apple refusing the Podcaster app amounts to “massive’ anti-competitive behavior, and second, Podcaster is now available in the App Store under the name “Rss Feeder”.  Enderle’s brief discussion of anti-competitive behavior and monopolies suggests that he has has very little knowledge about these two areas of law he often likes to discuss when writing about Apple.

Recently, Apple started going after Palm, suggesting that its arguably iPhone-beating phone was infringing on a massive 358-page mother of all Apple patents.

Umm, no it didn’t.

Palm’s developer tools are much less proprietary and Palm is much less restrictive than Apple. In many ways, much like Linux was against Windows, the Palm Pre and its OS are the anti-iPhone; better in some things that the Apple device does well and 180 degrees from other practices that folks don’t like.

Huh?  The developer tools aren’t even out yet, and Palm’s app store isn’t in operation.  How can Enderle make any intelligent comparisons between Palm and Apple six months before the Palm Pre even hits the market?

Neither the Palm Pre nor the WebOS that makes it work are in market yet, though both are more real than the iPhone was during the same time during its launch year. This means that when the Palm Pre hits, it will be closer to where the iPhone is now in terms of maturity.


The only clear sustaining advantages on Apple’s side are iTunes and the massive number of applications in Apple’s application store. Neither of those two things is critical in the minds of the new buyer, though, because most haven’t tried them on a phone yet.

Seriously?  The simplicity of iTunes, and the availability of over 15,000 downloadable applications seems pretty critical to me.

Driving Palm are an inordinate number of ex-Apple folks who were key to Apple’s success. They were either forced out, used as scapegoats, or watched Steve Jobs take credit for their accomplishments. This combination of capability and a deep anger probably can drive Palm to execute at a higher level than it otherwise would.

Now Enderle is just making shit up!  Sure, the Palm Pre team has a few former Apple employees, but where in the world is Enderle getting that they were forced out or used as scapegoats?

In short, Palm wants a war. Litigation is not only expected; Palm kind of looks forward to it.

What company would ever want to engage in complex patent litigation?

Finally, Apple’s 358-page patent will be nasty to defend; Palm was actually in the phone market before Apple and was working on devices like the iPod Touch that didn’t come to market (huge back story here). Apple probably doesn’t know about that. And, as I’ve mentioned, Palm is awash with ex-Apple executives who know where Apple’s bodies are buried.

Ok, I give up.  Is this from ‘The Onion’?

Steve Jobs, who is at the core of the Apple image and is the true expert on assuring that the company can do things other firms don’t get away with, is out on a medical leave. Tim Cook is probably the Bizarro-Steve Jobs, in terms of skills and capability. On this last, Cook is everything Jobs isn’t, which means, as a team, they are ideal. But neither has the skill set to do the other’s job. This effort against Palm is more in Jobs’ expertise area than it is Cook’s.

No, seriously.. Is this a joke?

I’m not saying Palm will win, only that it is coming in stronger than any company in a similar circumstance that I’ve ever seen. And Apple is the weakest it has been in a decade with regard to execution and image, due to Jobs’ illness.

Apple is the weakest it has been in a decade with regard to execution and image?  Apple just posted its best quarterly results in the company’s history, and its image has never been more solid.  How Enderle can intelligently argue, in good faith, that Apple is at its weakest point in 10 years is baffling.

Almost every point Enderle brings up is refutable, seemingly made up, or out of date.  What’s even more unbelievable is that this guy gets paid to write this stuff!  Color me jealous.


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10 Comments For This Post

  1. Bruce A Says:

    Fool or not, if we keep talking about him and people keep linking to his uninformed spew, he’s getting the attention he wants. Ignore him and maybe – just maybe – he’ll go away.

  2. JK Says:

    “How can Enderle make any intelligent comparisons …”

    Well, there you go.

  3. Carter Says:

    Don’t forget – the Enderle Group is Rob AND his gerbil!

  4. CouchGuy Says:

    Enderle = FAIL. That’s a pretty simple equation. His anti-Apple screeds get far too much press (though goodness knows I’ve contributed my small bit to that by bothering to answer back in my little blog). Enderle has been “just making stuff up” for a long time.

  5. pk de cville Says:


    Enderle is a highly paid shill for both MSFT and Dell.

  6. patz Says:

    Enderle has an exceptionally rare ability to predict the opposite of reality when it comes to Apple. So it’s good to see that he’s at it again.

  7. kevin Says:

    Hey, we need Enderle to stay in business as a consultant. He’s doing great at leading Microsoft, Dell, and the like … down the wrong path.

  8. Don Says:

    Nobody with any sense pays any attention to Rob “never right” Enderle. His “group,” of which he is the main analyst, consists totally of him and his wife. His group is a fraud and he’s wrong so often that if someone were drowning and he yelled, “help him” I’d be afraid to do so.

  9. Nick Says:

    “The only clear sustaining advantages on Apple’s side are iTunes and the massive number of applications in Apple’s application store.”

    Palm’s device will have applications that are written in web languages – HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

    Is Enderle *seriously* trying to tell us that you can do everything, and everything that they can do as efficiently, with these languages that you can do with Objective-C, which what the iPhone uses?

    I guess Palm broadened the development base by using those languages because it means any web developer can write an app (though that probably means more crappy apps) but, seriously …

    Pardon me for being sceptical, Rob.

  10. Al Says:

    Rob doesn’t write anything without an ulterior motive. Rob is a marketing consultant, not an analyst or a journalist. In order to find out why he’s attacking Apple one must know exactly which client he is working for when he is writing this drivel.

    The obvious client would be Palm but it could also be Dell or even Microsoft. Dell is working on a smart phone and Microsoft is working on better smart phone software. Microsoft and Dell have been and may still be Enderlie’s clients. Painting Apple in a bad light like this is benefiting at least one of his clients.

    Beyond all the BS he spreads, is the fact that he actually gets paid for these articles. Articles that, essentially, are free, negative advertisements against his clients’ biggest adversary. He gets paid by a website to do the consulting job that one or more major corporations are paying him thousands a week to do. He’s not stupid, you have to give him that.

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