Board up the windows and hide in the basement, weather fans, 'cause there's a Stupid Storm a-brewin', and by all indications it's gonna be a doozy! Well, okay, there's no such thing as an actual "Stupid Storm," per se, but if there were, they should all be named "Hurricane Enderle"-- in honor of good ol' Robert E., the analyst who has turned cluelessness into an art form. You may recall his prediction barely more than a month ago that Apple was "going to have a serious problem with the Windows community" when the company extended iTunes to that platform; he was right, of course, assuming that a million downloads of iTunes for Windows in three and a half days constitutes a "serious problem." ("Oooh, the painful burden of success... Calgon, take me away!")
Of course, that's nowhere near the goofiest assertion the man's ever made; for us, the prizewinner was always his October 2002 proclamation that "continued technical disadvantage" against Intel would force Apple to switch from PowerPCs to x86 chips "before 2003 is finished." So get ready, folks, because that means there's only six weeks left until all Macs will be bearing the "Intel Inside" warning label! Okay, okay, so Enderle said that before the G5 was officially unveiled by the Stevester-- although you'd think that anyone professing to know so much about the future of Apple would have stuck his head into a rumor site or two and poked around a little. (Then again, maybe that's where he got this cockamamie "Macs on Intel" idea in the first place.)
But if you think that his "Intel by end of 2003" prediction is somewhat excusable because the G5 wasn't officially announced yet (at least, not by Apple), you are grossly underestimating the seemingly bottomless depths of Enderle's ability to shock and amuse. Faithful viewer Michael McKinney notes that Enderle has penned an article for InternetWEEK in which he is still insisting that Apple must go Intel. Oh, sure, he builds up to it by recounting how he was called "an idiot" for having predicted the Mac's post-Windows 95 decline and the rise of Windows NT, leading you to think that maybe he does have amazing Criswellian abilities of prognostication. Of course, that's when his classic aversion to homework rears its ugly head and he decides that "Cheetah seems to be a likely next name" for Mac OS X. Guess no one told him that Cheetah shipped two and a half years ago as Mac OS X 10.0.
Okay, so it's a minor point. But what's not so minor is that Enderle is still claiming that "Apple will need to either move to Intel, or get significant help from its hardware partner, IBM" if it's going to make any kind of headway competing against Longhorn (the next version of Windows that Enderle is still calling "Windows 2005" despite the fact that Microsoft has admitted that it won't ship until 2006). Still harping on the PowerPC's "technical disadvantage"? Apparently another little detail that Rob missed is the fact that the third fastest supercomputer on earth (yes, it's now official) is made out of Macs running those PowerPCs he deems so inconsequential. Indeed, Big Mac outperformed every single Intel-based supercomputer on the list; the closest match was a 2,500-processor Xeon-based cluster built by Dell which, despite the fact that it has 300 more processors than Big Mac and each of those processors is running over a gigahertz faster than Big Mac's G5s, still only churns out 9.82 teraflops compared to Big Mac's 10.28. Oh, yeah-- time to switch to x86. No question.
Oh, but that's irrelevant! The real reason why Apple needs to switch to Intel is because Windows and Linux run on it, so no one's going to want to use an operating system that runs on anything else: "Apple will have some serious problems [gee, "serious problems" like it had with acceptance of iTunes for Windows? What is it with this guy and Apple's "serious problems"?] because the Apple hardware platform will not be able to create customer demand comparable to what Linux could do." In other words, a year ago Enderle said Apple had to switch because of "continued technical disadvantage," but now that the disadvantage is provably gone, now he says Apple has to switch because nobody wants to buy that icky ol' Mac hardware. At least he had the good sense to leave out the bit of "the end of 2003" this time around; maybe the gingko biloba is finally starting to kick in.
But this has grown tiresome. Rather than continue harping, we'll leave you with more classic Enderle: "Still, Microsoft moved between 25 million and 30 million Windows 95 licenses in the last four months of 2004." The last four months of 2004? Wow, the guy really can see into the future! Batten down the hatches!