Rob Enderle

About the Author Rob Enderle


Tech Buzz

The One Man Who Could Save Intel

Do boards think CEO is a throwaway job? Considering that boards used to have a ton of ex-CEOs on them, and given the historic bad choices that have badly hurt or destroyed companies, you’d think someone would have developed a decent process to pick a good CEO. You’d think that firms at least would learn from their mistakes. Intel now seems to have the second bad CEO since founder Andy Grove left.

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CES 2018: Spare Human Bodies, a $54K HTC Simulator and Intel’s People-Chopping Cuisinart

OK, I hate CES. It really is a horrible event, largely because of the timing — and particularly this year, Las Vegas making it a nightmare to get around — but man did they have cool stuff at the show. Among presentation highlights were Nvidia showcasing a whopping 65-inch gaming monitor TV. Lowlights included Intel showcasing a human-carrying drone as something out of a horror movie.

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The End of Silicon Valley

A recent article on the institutionalized sexual exploitation going on in tech companies is eye-opening. It comes on top of the realization that social media companies like Facebook are destroying the U.S., and former Facebook executives have been dissociating themselves from the company. Further, news recently broke of a big, industry-wide security problem.

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Who’s More Dangerous – the Sexual Predator or the Enabler?

There are three groups of people involved in sexual harassment: the victims; the perpetrators; and those who cover up or enable the perpetrators. Historically, we have put more pressure on the victims — either forcing them to shut up to protect their jobs and careers, or forcing them out of their jobs, which was totally wrong. There’s been a recent move to focus on the perpetrators/predators.

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Ready Player One and the Troubled Future of VR

One of the issues with virtual reality is that expectations have been overset massively with TV shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, which promised an artificial reality indistinguishable from reality. VR failed. It didn’t have to — there is a pattern to bringing out successful technology that is repeatable. You create a complete experience regardless of cost, then cost-reduce it.

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What Amazon’s Abuse of Power Foreshadows for 2018

Given how many big names have fallen over the last few weeks due to sexual misconduct, abuse and harassment, you’d think I’d name 2017 as the year of power abuse. However, while I know a lot of folks think the issue is dying down, I don’t see that at all. There are entire industries that have yet to be hit by this, and Congress hasn’t even finished cleaning house or putting in place rules to prevent this activity.

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The Tech Wars of 2018

We are coming up to the end of the year, and it’s a good time to look forward. Stepping outside of politics and the obvious war between the Democrats, Republicans and common sense, there is the war between Amazon and Google, which likely will redefine the growth of digital assistants. There’s also the war between Intel and Qualcomm in the personal computing arena.

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The Return of Industrial Espionage and the Building New Wave of Scandals

As powerful men drop like flies due to their inability to resist abusing their authority, it’s clear that the problem is widespread. Similarly, it’s likely that we’ll find the problem of alleged industrial espionage is not limited to Uber. You see, when people misuse authority — and the sexual harassment problem is a massive misuse of authority — folks typically don’t just misuse it in one area.

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IDG Contributor Network: Microsoft Surface Book 2: the best product that never should have existed

The Surface product line is fascinating in that it resulted, much like the Microsoft phone and Zune, from a problem that the firm was having that should have been resolved another way.  But, unlike those other two products, the Surface products have been surprisingly successful — while both the Zune and Microsoft Phone are showcase examples of why those that supply parts shouldn’t sell solutions in the same space. 

Now the problem in all three cases was that Microsoft was upset that the OEMs couldn’t compete with Apple, that Microsoft believed it could do a better job, and that Microsoft was wrong in the first two instances because they couldn’t.  So, I’d like to look at two things, why this generally doesn’t work, and why Surface (and later Hololens) uniquely worked while Zune and the Microsoft Phone were massively expensive failures. 

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BlackBerry: The Most Important Mobile Company of the Future?

If you are like many, when you saw this headline you likely were surprised BlackBerry was still around. As BlackBerry phones left the market, the company fell out of sight. However, behind the scenes it has been moving into industries like automotive. Also, it remains the leading vendor providing mobile security to our politicians, military personnel and major corporations.

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IDG Contributor Network: The big unspoken problem with digital assistants

AI-driven digital assistants are fast becoming our way to interfacing with everything.  We largely had them in our phones first, then in our homes, but they are coming in our cars, and they are appearing in our offices.   Each of these AI virtual assistants is learning with increasing efficiency what we like, what we want, how to anticipate our needs, and, eventually, how to best make us happy.  But the big unspoken problem emerging is that each of these things is largely an entirely separate system with virtually no sharing of common information or consistency of experience. 

Let’s talk about why that is a problem.  

We are complex but consistent

Having separate interfaces for every machine we worked with made sense before we had intelligence in these systems.  Having the same controls for a blender as you’d have for a tank would have created problems in both the kitchen and the battlefield (though I can imagine a bender targeting a male demographic that might have sold rather well if it had a cannon and trigger).  

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IDG Contributor Network: Surface Pro with LTE: changing a mindset

This week Microsoft [Disclosure:  Microsoft is a client of the author] announced the date for shipping their Surface Pro with LTE Advanced.   This is an important foundational product for their coming Windows on Snapdragon offering because it will set the market for a laptop that is always connected, a capability that has been in market for over a decade but largely without broad adoption.  Even though we have had pervasive data connections with our phones for over a decade we still think of PCs more as hard wired devices that may not always be connected.  To assure the success of the ARM version of Windows Microsoft needs to build up advocacy for that capability because if the ARM laptops are reviewed like an x86 laptop they’ll be panned.   They have to be seen, much like the iPad initially was, not as a crippled product but as an offering with unique advantages.   This isn’t going to be easy and this new Surface Pro with LTE Advanced will need to plow the field. 

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Fake News: Amazon Wants a Key to Your House

I’m getting tired of headlines that present something you might want to do as something you’d have to be crazy to do. Last week was a case in point: Headline after headline shouted out that Amazon wanted to get a key to your house. The initial reaction was hell no — but the reality is far more nuanced. You see, there are a lot of folks who live in places where their front entrance isn’t secure.

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IDG Contributor Network: What’s wrong with PCs as a Service

(Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author.)

One of the fascinating things about the technology market is how it goes in circles and not only forgets the past but misses the point. For instance, let’s take the recent mega trend: PCs as a Service, or as we’ll call it, “PaaS.” Most think this is brand new, but it is in fact an attempt to return to what we had with the mainframe. An appliance on our desk and like it was back then the hardware is, and should be, largely transparent and, I expect, as these services mature they hardware will change dramatically and alternatives like Windows on ARM will start to look more attractive.

What is also interesting is that just about the time the last large mainframe/terminal implementations were being yanked out by their roots, IT started demanding desktop computing as a service again. This was back in the 1990s, and now about two whopping decades later, major OEMs are putting programs together to make it happen and reinventing the wheel to make it happen.  

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Fighting Off the Harvey Weinsteins of the World Through Technology

Harvey Weinstein just went from most powerful man in Hollywood to punching bag — and while he deserved this, perhaps greater attention should go toward taking aggressive measures to prevent future Weinsteins — and there will be future Weinsteins. We need to stop acting surprised when this stuff comes out and instead take stronger steps to prevent this kind of thing in the future.

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IDG Contributor Network: Windows Mobile RIP – or how Steve Ballmer committed avoidable career suicide

One of the ironic things this century on technology is CEOs from many tech firms tried and failed to move their PC efforts to Smartphones and lost their jobs.  In some cases, more than one CEO at the same company lost their job only to find their successors killed the programs and did just fine.  This was especially true of Microsoft (Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author) where Ballmer’s mobile failure seemed to be the straw that caused his friend Bill Gates to can him, his successor, Satya Nadella, just effectively killed the program and not only isn’t he at risk, it just seemed to be the right thing to do.  

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Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy

What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple’s valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.

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IDG Contributor Network: Windows On Snapdragon: the promise and problem of building an iPad Pro killer

One of the potentially biggest moves this decade for Windows is the platform’s move to include ARM as well as x86 support. This joint project by Microsoft and Qualcomm could be fascinating and very successful if done right — and another Windows RT if the execution is lacking. [Disclosure: Both Qualcomm and Microsoft are clients of the author] Interestingly, with the iPad Pro, Apple has shown that the market for this product exists, and that product is likely the primary competitor for what will result. 

Hardware is due in 2018, so we have plenty of time to look at the promise and potential problems with Windows on Snapdragon.

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Anticipating the Smart World of 2027: A Billion Cameras and AI, Oh My…

Nvidia went to China last week and made a series of interesting announcements having to do with smart cities and autonomous cars. IBM made an announcement on advancements in tying the Weather Channel to its Watson artificial intelligence engine, and improvements in targeted marketing. We also found out about Oculus’ Fall in Love VR project which is kind of like the The Bachelor.

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IDG Contributor Network: The virtual keyboard and the beginning of the end for physical user PC controls

The idea of a virtual keyboard isn’t new, we’ve had projection keyboards in market on and off for years, but they never sold well.  But with the advent of Mixed Reality and, thanks to Smartphones, a far greater acceptance for buttons that don’t move, this concept of dumping the hardware for something else it is gaining momentum again.  Microsoft, [Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author] just got a patent for a new type of virtual keyboard to be used in Mixed Reality that not only has the potential to end physical keyboards, but all physical input methods including Stylus and mice as well. 

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Sony’s Foolish Failure to Learn From Microsoft’s Mistake

Microsoft has learned a lot of very hard lessons over the last couple of decades, and it continues to surprise and annoy me that other firms seem to have the suicidal tendency to learn the same lessons the hard way. It is far better and cheaper to avoid the mistakes of others, but firms like Apple, Google and, most recently, Sony seem to want to experience past Microsoft disasters first hand.

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IDG Contributor Network: Microsoft Security stopped being an oxymoron with the acquisition of Hexadite

One of the most frustrating things to watch during the early years of Microsoft (Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author) was their lack of interest in security.  It was almost as if, when anyone there heard the term, they’d cover up their ears and say “la, la, la, la, la” until you went away. And, as the century turned, Microsoft security meant anything but security, it was mostly bad joke that hit products like Windows and Internet Explorer particularly hard. But this week’s announcement (ranked as the 3rd most important acquisition this year) they are buying Hexadite showcases that over the last ten years Microsoft made a huge pivot. It finally understood that being unsecure could not only result in massive liability for the firm, but was creating a massive drag on the brand because it reflected poorly on quality. It particularly hurt sales of their products in the enterprise. 

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