"Hey, AtAT," some of you have asked, "how come you never gave eternal punching bag Rob Enderle what-for over his comments last week about the Xbox 2?" Well, truth be told, folks, it's getting a little... well, boring, we suppose. After all, how many times can someone point at a man slapping raw meat against his head and say, "hey, look, that silly man is slapping meat against his head"? Eventually we just get tired of stating the obvious. That said, clearly some sort of take on the latest Enderlism is called for, because it's been a week and the guy still hasn't recanted-- so here's how we're spinning the situation: could he actually be right for once? Could this finally turn out to be Rob Enderle's moment in the sun? (Everybody loves a comeback story, right?)
So here's the backdrop: faithful viewer Rob Menke was first to point out that ol' Analyst Robbo spent his airtime at TechNewsWorld last week explaining that everyone else on the planet is wrong, and that Microsoft's Xbox 2 will not ship with some form of PowerPC-derived custom chip, but rather with something evolved from an x86-based AMD processor. And, of course, he felt compelled to put forth this rather unorthodox theory in a manner belittling Mac fans: "This is only a guess, but with what we know about the new converged platform, I can at least confirm that rumors of Microsoft moving to a G5 chip were just wishful thinking by a few Apple loyalists. The chip will be built by IBM, which also builds for VIA and AMD. My best guess, given the timing of the product and the new PlayStation 3, is that it will be based on the AMD 64-bit core that IBM helped develop."
Ooooookay, then. We'll just let that whole "Apple loyalists" comment slide for a second and point out that, while it's nice that Rob admits that he "confirms" his facts with "just a guess" (people pay him for this! Honestly!), that leaked IBM memo from a few months back clearly stated that Big Blue had been tapped not just to build the Xbox 2 processor, but rather "to design, develop and make the processor for the next generation of Microsoft's Xbox game system." Somehow we find it doubtful that IBM would be trumpeting its Xbox win if it were going to crank out an x86 instead of a processor based on its own Power architecture. And there's also that little matter of Microsoft's current Xbox 2 Software Development Kit reportedly consisting of custom software preinstalled on a dual 2.0 GHz Power Mac G5. Surely if the Xbox 2 were going to be AMD-based, Microsoft would be shipping AMDs to the developers, no?
Okay, granted, neither of those reports originated from what you might consider big-name, unimpeachable news sources. But if those aren't enough to make you wonder what kind of gooey substance clings to the inner walls of Rob Enderle's cranium, consider this nifty interview by CBS MarketWatch, as pointed out by faithful viewer Jimmy. Jeff Benck, vice president of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, dishes the skinny: "I don't know if you've seen it, maybe you haven't based on your comment, but we're getting Power everywhere. We basically have the trifecta of game devices, with recent wins at not only Game Cube and Xbox, but also moving into next-generation game systems all the way up to the Power architecture going into our high-end pSeries and iSeries platforms."
There's a little interpretive wiggle room on that quote, but to us it sure sounds like an IBM veep flat-out stating that the Xbox 2 will be Power-based. Granted, the date on that interview is the day after Enderle made his AMD prediction, but even now he's apparently sticking to his guns; faithful viewer Andrew Woods actually wrote to him and pointed out the whole G5-as-SDK thing, and Enderle wrote back with this: "Actually I meet with the Xbox 2 team on a quarterly basis, sorry I didn't mention that. I also meet with the embedded systems group... neither is even thinking of a non-x86 platform product for embedded XP or embedded Longhorn... Microsoft did deny the G5 stuff, I did ask."
That's right, folks-- Rob claims that he's getting his "Xbox 2 is x86" info straight from the higher-ups at Microsoft themselves. He even insists that Microsoft has denied the G5-as-SDK stories, and while the guy is wrong a lot, we never really figured him for a liar. So, like we said: is this going to be the time that Enderle finally breaks his streak and winds up being correct? It may be a good long while before specs of the Xbox 2 go public, but we're already on the edges of our seats with suspense. It's all about rooting for the underdog. Go, lil' fella, go!