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twitter's Journal: Rob Enderle's Bitter Vista Experience. 1

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Letters from the Vista Capable lawsuit show just how out of touch with reality M$ was about Vista. Ron Enderle confronted them about the problem of versioning and was abused and punished for his efforts. Enderle is a long time M$ booster and the emails show that he's willing to turn away news business and lie for M$'s sake. In hindsight, we know that Vista was a dissaster that tainted everyone who tried to push it and did indeed freeze the entire market. The released email tells this small part of the story best. Here are a few excepts Todd Bishop thought captured the moment.

"Anyway, you'll do what you do," [Enderle] wrote to Microsoft's Barry Goffe. "Dell will go along; they are just trying to miss a bullet that they, and I, know you can't even see. Let's hope we can mitigate the damage otherwise the industry is really screwed."

"Honestly, in all my years of dealing with analysts, I have never been quite so flummoxed. He is just dug in and is not willing to acknowledge reality." [Microsoft's Barry Goffe wrote to others at M$].

[the next day Enderle wrote Steve Ballmer], "We had an advisory meeting with Dell where they (made) a huge stink about your plan for Vista SKUs and asked the analysts and reporters to intervene (we were under NDA so the information was contained). So I attempted to do so and spoke with Barry Goffe who was very nice but seemed surprised that Dell had a problem (I've since spoken with the CEO of another OEM who concurred with Dell) and so went back to Dell and got the attached response. Sitting on the OEM typically is not effective at making a problem like this go away. Dell was never going to publicly roll against you they were just trying to prevent a mistake ... "

At some point I'd love to learn how to help you folks without either getting shot myself or getting someone who also depends on me shot. I figure that would be a great survival skill.

Dell left him hanging and threatened him, saying "Any assessments you make are best supported/couched in terms of your own analysis and opinion rather than communicated on Dell's behalf," and threatened, "Any conversation outside the spirit of this forum [Dell GAC discussions] are in violation of the NDA. (page 29)"

Looking again at the email, you can see why people at M$ would be angry, especially now that it's leaked out to the public. It starts on page 17 and is worth quoting because he correctly predicted the whole Vista Capable fiasco. Parts where he promises to sell out his readers are emphasized.

From: Barry Goffe
Sent: August 29, 2005 11:14 PM
To: Neil hamey; Shanen Boettcher; Brad Goldberg; Debbie Anderson
CC: Lisa Worthington (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject: FW: glass vr. non-glass

I really need your help. Lisa and I did a call this morning with Rob Enderle to go through the SKU plan. Apparently Dell leaked our SKU plan (while under NDA of course) to Rob and a bunch of other analysts and press - under the guise of an 'Advisory Council' In the process Dell did its damndest to poison Rob's thinking - and they were rather successful.

Rob's Logic is:

a.) we have been showing off this great thing called Vista
b.) it has all kind of great stuff in it, like Glass.
c.) since we have not yet talked about SKUs, all customers are expecting that all the features that we have discussed will be in the mainstream SKUs - the equivalent of XP Home today on the consumer side
d.) We are going to ship this thing called Home Basic which we are going to price the same as XP Home
e.) some of the features that we have been showing, namely glass (because I can't get Rob to come up with any other feature) will not be in the Home Basic SKU
f.) customers will perceive that we are taking stuff away from Home Basic andthat it will be looked upon as a price increase
g.) this perceived price increase will freeze the entire market.

.... Rob is quite passionate as you can see from the string below. Honestly, in all my years of dealing with analysts, I have never been quite so flummoxed. He is dug in and not willing to acknowledge reality.

From: Rob Enderle
Sent: Monday August 29, 2005 11:06 PM
To: Barry Goffe
CC: Lisa Worthington (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject: RE: glass vs. non-glass

Well this is what happens when you set expectation high then pull features out. .... Microsoft is already being lambasted for crippled Vista. If you don't know what a glass looks like full anything in it looks good, but if you know what you are missing you tent to focus on what is missing, unfortunately that is where we are now. I get to do a lot of columns these days, could guarantee each of these titles [that Vista is a rip off] not only would get published they would make the front page or pull amazing numbers. ... you are convinced the customer is getting a great deal, you are the vendor, vendors always think that ... the customer often votes their feelings with their pocketbook. One thing has changed since '85 we have blogs now. .... The press was taken through the product and every time a feature is dropped the calls come in with the take that Vista is just smoke and mirrors now, I can turn some of these but there are limitations to what I can do. ...

Anyway, you'll do what you'll do. Dell will go along, they are just trying to miss a bullet that they, and I, know you can't even see. Let's hope we can mitigate the damage otherwise the industry is really screwed.

From: Barry Goffe
Sent Monday August 29, 2005 8:29 PM
To: Rob Enderle
CC: Lisa Worthington (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject RE: glass vs. non-glass

Rob,

Thanks for taking the time to think this through some more. I really appreciate your feedback.

Please see detailed comments in line below ...

From: Rob Enderle
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 3:56 PM
To: Barry Goffe
CC: Lisa Worthington

There will be a lot of attention spent on the UI because that is the visual change and this is often where the Apple vs. Microsoft pieces focus. I expect we'll have a number of Linux vs. Windows pieces as well but still think most of those will focus on what you get and how much you pay ... but UI is possible.

Natuarl Headlines:

Microsoft Charges More for Less: Text focuses on what fell out of Longhorn and the price increases for the premium offering.
Buy Tablet and Media Center or Else: Text focuses on the fact that to get the good stuff you have to take other things.
If You Doubted Microsoft was a Monopoly: Rant on perceived price increases.
Microsoft Raises Tax: Avoidance Advice: Price increases with recommendation you buy either Linux or Apple (or simply not buy)
Windows Consumers get 4 Choices Business gets Screwed: Focus on disparity between consumer and business lines
Windows Vista - 7 Reasons to Switch: Focuses on complexity of offering and perceived price increases.

... What I heard was there was 4 SKUs ....

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Rob Enderle's Bitter Vista Experience.

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