Apple Death Knell #34: Four Tech Execs Agree That Apple Will Soon Be Dead

by , 6:00 PM EST, November 24th, 2003

We've had this great Death Knell to add to the Apple Death Knell Counter (ADKC) concerning Apple's retail stores for a couple of weeks now. (Hint: Someone said two years ago that Apple's retail stores would be closed in two years). The reason why we have yet to add it is because there has been a rash of brand new Apple Death Knells from the peanut gallery that have to be covered instead.

Today we have another one of those brand new Death Knells, and this one comes to us via none other than Rob Enderle. Mr. Enderle, the first person to make the ADKC three times, can't be blamed directly, however, as he is just the messenger. According to his newest column, the analyst moderated a panel of tech execs at Comdex talking about the future of technology. Mr. Enderle says that panel was made up of "Ted Farrel (chief architect and director of strategy for Oracle), Greg Stein (chairman of the Apache Software Foundation), John Montgomery (director of developer and platform evangelism for Microsoft) and my friend Laura DiDio (a research director at the Yankee Group)."

Mr. Enderle also says that when asked which companies would be around for the long haul, all four agreed that Apple would be on the short bus to deadsville. That's no mean feat, getting four tech execs to agree on anything, but according to these four, Apple is on its way out. Accordingly, we present to you Apple Death Knell #34:

I asked the panel to list the companies that would certainly be around in the future -- and those that wouldn't be. The topic of the panel discussion was oriented on software -- .NET actually -- so don't read too much into this. The two companies everyone on the panel agreed would be around for the future were Microsoft and IBM. There was some disagreement about Oracle. Microsoft and Oracle said that Oracle would survive; Apache said it wouldn't.

I also asked which companies would be dead. The panel agreed that it would be Apple, Sun and Novell. The panel also agreed that if it didn't run on the x86 architecture, it was likely gone. What was really interesting was that almost everyone I spoke with after this panel said that this x86 prediction was like predicting that the sun would rise in the morning -- in other words, that it was a given. Most participants felt that the future world of technology would be solidly based on standards and that anyone not using standards would be gone.

You can read the rest of Mr. Enderle's column at

A special thanks to the many Observers who wrote to us about this article.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Well, well, well. Rob Enderle is indirectly involved with predicting the death of Apple...Once again. Again, we would never suggest shooting the messenger, but we will instead amuse ourselves with the desperate glee Mr. Enderle conveys when he says "See, these other guys say that x86 is the only game in town, too." Talk about looking for affirmation from those around you, but whatever helps you sleep at night, folks.

Speaking of sleeping at night, we wonder what Ted Farrel's boss at Oracle thinks about his director of technology predicting Apple's death. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is one of Apple CEO Steve Jobs's best friends, and Oracle, Inc. has invested untold resources in developing Mac OS X versions of some of its products. That seems like a bit of a waste considering Mr. Farrel's opinion.

We're also surprised to see someone attached to the Apache Software Foundation write off Apple, but hey, it's Rob Enderle doing the reporting.

Be that as it may, all four of these chuckleheads are going to the same place as the umpteen Nostradamuses that came before them, the Apple Death Knell Counter.