Tech pundit Rob Enderle holds a unique spot in the pantheon of boneheaded "analysts" who never cease to turn out drivel not so cleverly disguised as reasoned analysis.
While it's typically best to avoid engaging with pundits who laughably hold themselves up as experts, Rob Enderle has inexplicably managed to make a career out of it. For reasons that defy explanation, Enderle is often looked to for quotes in mainstream publications and will show up on TV stations like CNBC to offer "insight." To that end, if Enderle wants to position himself as a tech expert of sorts, then I'll gladly point out the myriad of ways in which his writing is often the antitheses of insightful, thoughtful, and intelligent.
Looking back at Enderle's writing over the years, there is certainly no shortage of examples that serve to prove that Enderle lacks credibility. Indeed, John Gruber astutely asked not too long ago whether Enderle is as much of an idiot as he seems or if he is, perhaps, a masterful troll.
The answer, I contend, is irrelevant. Enderle isn't a nobody publishing scarcely read opinion pieces in local newsletters. He's often quoted in mainstream publications like the LA Times and is paraded around - by himself and others - as an expert.
That said, let's take a look at Enderle's most recent piece, which, and you have to give Enderle credit for this, is as simple-minded as most of his writings as it pertains to Apple. There is something to be said for consistency, right?
Last Friday, Enderle penned a piece titled "Does Apple's Tim Cook Have a Lucrative Exit Strategy?"
The gist of the article is that Apple's recently announced capital return program is nothing more than a manipulative scheme set in motion by Cook to temporarily raise Apple's share price so he can sell his personal stake in Apple and retire a wealthy, wealthy man. What's more, Cook, Enderle writes, will attempt to time his departure just right so that his successor will come in and assume control of a company riddled with debt, thereby making it seem that any other CEO simply can't hold a candle to Cook's talents.
In a laughably pathetic attempt to support his thesis, Enderle tosses out a number of horribly misguided opinions and conspiracy theories which only serve to undermine his own credibility.
Let's dive in, shall we.
At the outset, Cook had to know that the only reason Jobs wanted him for CEO was because Jobs thought until the very end that he could come back. Given the choice, Jobs believed Apple's board would pick him. In other words, Cook was selected specifically because Jobs knew he couldn't do the job and would be an excellent placeholder because he was so badly matched.
The idea that Jobs picked Cook to run Apple in his place only because he was ill-suited for the job runs contrary to what we know about Apple under the helm of Cook.
For instance, when Jobs took a six-month leave of absence from Apple in early 2011, Cook assumed the role of acting CEO and ably steered the mothership as shares of Apple skyrocketed from $85 to $141 per share, a 65% increase. When Steve Jobs took yet another leave of absence in early 2011, Apple under the leadership of Cook continued to thrive. Revenues continued to break records while innovation in both Apple hardware and software continued unabated.
If Jobs truly wanted to pick a second-rate successor, he did a horrible job.
What's more, it's no secret that Jobs held Cook in high esteem and valued him as a trusted and extremely capable lieutenant. In fact, Jobs during a 2008 deposition called Cook one of Apple's four "ultra key" executives.