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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IDG Contributor Network: CES 2018: Microsoft’s broad near-term vision of our very different technology future

[Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author.]

I got to sit down with Microsoft prior to the start of CES to talk about the broad future visions they’ve been sharing with folks all week.  As you would expect, given this is CES, focus was on personal technology.  This was separate from Surface or any other tightly focused effort and it was more Windows centric as well.  The near-term future of personal technology strategy from Microsoft is broken down into the following areas:

Lots of choice

This has always been a keystone of the Microsoft strategy in the 1980s/90s and why they so easily rolled over Apple and Sun last century.  They had the advantage of leverage because they had lots of hardware licensees while Apple and Sun had to go it alone.  (Strangely this strategy didn’t work with Smartphones but that was largely because Microsoft didn’t capture the developers like they did initially with Windows). 

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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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IDG Contributor Network: With an AI back end, could we create an anti-abuse OS?

This is going to seem like a huge stretch, but hear me out, because I think operating systems could become a far more powerful tool to help us moderate our own behavior than they now are.

The reason I’m starting with the OS – and it could be any OS – is that it is pervasive, and it is largely within our control.  Currently, much of the monitoring that surrounds us is designed to prove wrongdoing or capture information that could be used against us.  But what if the OS had the capability to warn out about things that would do us harm?

We’ve now build in virus protection into the OS, something that seemed impossible a decade or so back. Why couldn’t we use something like a modified key logger to provide behavior protection and flag everything from abuse to extreme depression?

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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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IDG Contributor Network: The critical path to success for the Always Connected PC

I’m a believer in the concept of the Always Connected PC largely because it fits very well into the way I work. I prefer a desktop system when I’m at home and even build my own systems. But when I’m on the road, I mostly write, browse the web and consume content. The reduction in performance for this platform doesn’t bother me as a result because I need the thing to be light, have long battery life and be something I can be proud of.

This Always Connected PC is a huge joint initiative by both Qualcomm and Microsoft (disclosure, both are clients of the author), but often efforts like this are defined by what they don’t do well as opposed to what they do well. The real promise of the Always Connected PC is its ability to be a true 2-in-1 and not what we have had in this class up till now – good laptops that suck as a tablet. This is potentially the first product that could be a good laptop and a good tablet but, to get there, it needs a couple of things. 

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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: Windows on ARM and the future of PCs as a Service

This month, the initial battle will begin on what will be an historic war for the next generation of PCs.  Initially it will be fought on laptops but – much like smartphones drifted to tablets, and much of the initial wave of AI-driven, home-based digital assistants – this war may eventually encompass all PCs.

If this were just a war between processors, the X86 folks would likely win easily, both because Windows has decades of tuning on X86 and it is the entrenched part. But this isn’t about processors. This is about whether the computing will be done on the desktop or in the cloud.

In short this is a war between the modem and the processor…or yet another attempt to turn the PC into more of large smartphone.

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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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