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My Opinion

Rixstep's new agony aunt column by famous tech analyst Rob Enderle. Send your questions to rob.enderle@rixstep.com.

Q: Hi Rob, you've twice lauded the coolness of the Acer Ferrari and even said it kicks Apple's butt. Do you own one yourself?

A: Oh no. Come on already. Be seen in public with a thing like that? That's like letting my wife Mary stroll the streets of West Hollywood in red vinyl hot pants, red high heels, and with a red purse over her shoulder. It's way too conspicuous.

And then you have to wonder about Ferrari. Their cars are great but have you seen their website? They don't know anything about computers. I mean - Acer? They could have chosen Dell - that might have worked - but seriously: what are they doing?

And 'Ferrari design'? What's 'Ferrari' about it? Under the thin veneer of red paint it's still the same old wobbly Acer shit made in a small room above a dim-sum shop somewhere in the Orient. And it's still running fucking Windows.

I'm Rob Enderle, and that is my opinion.

Q: Rob, you say a lot of mean things about a lot of people and a lot of corporations. You're infamous for that, if you don't mind my saying. Why this about-face at Rixstep?

A: Look, dipshit: I'm good at what I do. I'm a PR expert. PR - that's an acronym for 'public relations' in case you didn't know. I'm paid some major bucks to get the word out on various products. How I do it is my business. I get the job done.

Unfortunately things are tight right now in the hi-tech sector. Inflation is always there but my clients don't accept it. I need more money but they don't feel they have to pay.

But there's nothing in any of my contracts stopping me from going somewhere else and telling the truth. If they want me to stop doing this, they'll have to pay me more. In the meantime, I have the chance to spill my guts and come clean. Mary and I have also found it does wonders for our sex life. She'll be joining me here too from time to time. She's very good at web design and the whole range of Maybelline products.

I'm Rob Enderle, and that is my opinion, even though it's not really an opinion.

Q: Hi Rob, what's the difference between a tech analyst and a PR whore?

A: Hopefully none at all, dingo brain. If people understood I'm just a PR whore, I'd be out of a job.

The whole thing revolves around placing quotes in the media. 'Mr So-and-so, famous tech analyst, says this. And that.' I don't know shit about computers. I don't have to. That's not my job. My job is to get the word out. I get the word out and I do it better than anyone else in the business.

I'm Rob Enderle, and that's not really an opinion either.

Q: In your speech at SCO you likened open source programmers and adherents - calling them 'Linux Zealots' - to religious fanatics and political extremists.

A: Is that a question? It doesn't read like a question. What's your point anyway? OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you are terminally dense and clueless.

The United States is still traumatised by 9/11. Everyone is scared shitless of Al Qaeda and Usama. Of course they are. Bruce Schneier writes every other week about how security at US airports is not working. People are scared. To them anyone from the Middle East is a religious fanatic and a political extremist. The enemy.

People need images to work with. It's never enough to say 'this is good' or 'this is bad'. You have to put a picture in their minds. If you could do it surgically there'd be no problem, but we haven't got that far yet in science. We're getting there, slowly but surely, but for the moment we still have to use more subtle methods. Like these.

And so Einstein, if you wanted to smear somebody - and keep in mind that the most lucrative market in the world is the US - what parallels would you draw? Strain your mind on this one.

Besides, Gates, Ballmer, Allchin, and the rest of them already tried the 'communist' drop-word and that didn't work - probably because Stallman is a closet communist and took it as a compliment and Torvalds is probably half Russkie anyway - so we decided to try the other end of the spectrum. If it works, don't fix it. And when it doesn't work - just fucking fix it.

I'm Rob Enderle, and that is my opinion.

Q: Have you ever considered working for Apple?

A: Consider? Yes. Consider seriously? No. I've met Steve Jobs and we just don't see eye to eye. He uses integrity like a buzzword. In this business you have to be more flexible. If you have a great product and you need to move it to market, you have to compromise. There are no ethics in marketing - you just get the product out there and keep it there by any means at your disposal. That's what makes this country great, and that's something that pip-squeak CEO of Apple will never understand. He's just way too rigid.

Q: So Rob, tell us: what operating system do you use for your own personal computing?

A: I'm afraid I'm contractually obligated to withhold that information. Only my hairdresser knows for sure. I'm Rob Enderle, and of course I have an opinion in this matter, but I'm not at liberty to express that either. Sorry. Get with the program.

I'm Rob Enderle, and that is my opinion.

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