Fools of the Year

Has it been another year again?! Because, really, reading the work of these pundits, it seems like it’s been a lot longer. But catalog the atrocities we must! For history must know … that … uh …

Wait, why do we do this?

No time to wonder! The lights dim and all rational thought goes out into the lobby to smoke and drink as the Fools of 2014 take the stage!

10. Rob Enderle

You know him, you love him … uh, well, you know him … and no list of foolish punditry would be complete without him, as he is our Fool Emeritus. This year Rob took an inexplicable shine to BlackBerry, claiming it was just like Apple in 1997 and that you Apple punks will be laughing out the other side of your modern mobile devices when the boys from Waterloo come steaming back! And steam power may actually be in the offing, as BlackBerry has recommitted itself to physical keyboards.

Coolmeister extraordinaire Rob told us how Apple could “get its cool back,” compared Tim Cook’s compensation to Bernie Madoff, and thought Amazon and Microsoft were going to kill Apple in the enterprise with the Surface RT and the Kindle Fire, respectively. Also, Rob told us to read a damn book, preferably one that has a lot of made-up stuff about how Apple’s doomed. More on that later.

9. Assorted Business Insider clumps of congealed meats

While their volume wasn’t up to the level of their peers noted below, the Macalope would be remiss in not noting their … well, “work” is the wrong word. “Trout?” Is that something people can write?

When he wasn’t detailing his fascinating adventures on the pedestrian side (riding in coach, while presumably holding a handkerchief to his mouth in order to keep out the ill humors) or on the high-society side (staying at the Ritz Carlton), Henry Blodget took time to note how no cheap iPhone meant something was clearly wrong at Apple and how, in general, Apple was “blowing it.”

His colleague Steve Kovach let Samsung explain why it’s so super-awesome and Apple sucks and then told us how the Nexus 7, despite not being as good as the iPad in many ways, is definitely an iPad killer. Despite all this, Business Insider editor Nicholas Carlson groused to the horny one about his refusal to link to their mash notes to the Apple community. Sorry, Nick. That’s what happens when you try too hard.

8. John Koetsier

Writing for Tiger Beat In The Valley, Koetsier was there to tell us how Apple’s a loser, just like BlackBerry. He also sagely recounted Jim Cramer’s comments about how Apple was doomed—without noting that Cramer was being sarcastic. That might have been important context. July saw Microsoft take a $900 million bath on unsold Surface devices, showing that what Koetsier had declared a “home run” was really a can of corn. That still might fit into his world view, though, as he doesn’t think profit means anything. He’s also quite put out the that the Macalope doesn’t link to his pieces. The Macalope feels just terrible about it. Just. Terrible.

7. Jim Edwards

In May, Business Insider’s Edwards described 21 ways switching to Apple “made his life harder.” For example, did you know there’s no advanced task killer on iOS? How is Edwards supposed to kill all those processes that aren’t actually using resources or doing anything?! Like Enderle, Edwards also thinks Apple should be terrified of BlackBerry. But he also thinks that about Tizen, and probably cream cheese. Edwards’s imagination is a one-way street of doom that leads only to Cupertino.

6. Mike Elgan

Remember Facebook Home? Not many people do, but Mike Elgan was very sure it was going to “screw” Apple. Elgan also thought Apple’s lack of openness was killing the company, because everyone clearly wanted stuff like Facebook Home and Google Glass. He declared the Moto X “the new iPhone” because it was the “most elegant, innovative and fun-to-use smartphone for everybody.” Which is why we all own Moto Xs and Google didn’t try to sell Motorola. His threat assessment skills have not changed at all since that time he said the Zune was a huge threat that had Apple shaking in its boots. It’s adorable.

When he’s not seeing Apple threats everywhere, he’s imagining new ones, like how Microsoft could leapfrog everyone by shipping a $5000 touch table that connects to all your Microsoft devices. Finally, Mike invented Godwin’s Law Lite—now with less Hitler!—by comparing Apple not to the Nazi leader, but instead to Joseph McCarthy. That’s some world-class hyperbole, Mike.

5. Paul Thurrott

Despite often being on point, Thurrott gets a relatively high spot on the list this year for his repeated attempts to declare victory while still on the field of battle and still losing pretty badly. He’s kind of the Black Knight of technology.

In early August of 2013, Thurrott said Steve Ballmer was doing a great job and it was Tim Cook who should be fired. Huh, wonder how that turned out? He also didn’t think there was anything at all wrong with his having declared the iPad an “iDud” back in 2010. At the very least, Paul, there’s the crime of having made a lame “iName” joke. To close the year, Thurrott said that Windows Phone had turned the corner in 2013 and it was nothing but smooth sailing from here on out. If you say so.

4. Jay Yarow

Having banged the “MARKET SHARE IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS” drum for a long time—until our ears were bleeding, really—Business Insider’s Yarow switched tactics this year. First he said that Apple focusing on profit instead of market share is “obscene” and “self-defeating” and then he declared that it should “bother” Apple that more people aren’t using its devices. Dude, give it up. Apple would really rather have the money. Thanks for asking, though. Yarow wasn’t quite done, though, adding that “Tim Cook is blowing it” and that “Apple is the new Microsoft.”

Business Insider hasn’t really explained why we should be listening to the concern-trolling of a guy who either doesn’t understand changes in the release schedule of new iPads or doesn’t feel his readers need to know about them; instead, the site is more worried about the Macalope’s lack of linking. Very troubling.

3. Sam Mattera

Wow. Let us attempt to catalog Mattera’s numerous crimes against humanity this year.

First he said the 2013 iPhone would mostly certainly be a failure because it wasn’t going to be a gigantophone and Apple MUST MAKE A PHABLET. Mattera’s got the elite threat-assessment skills of Mike Elgan with the prolific writing ability of Isaac Asimov. Some of his work can also be classified as science fiction, such as his belief that DigiTimes has “a fairly good track record.”

Mattera believed an $80 phone and Dr. Dre’s music service were the biggest threats to Apple. He also thought Apple would be dethroned by a proprietary dock. Because everyone loves docking things into other things to make hybrid things. That’s never not awesome. And though saying Nokia’s new phones put Microsoft ahead of Apple and Apple “whiffed” on the 2013 iPhones were both pretty good, nothing beat “Samsung’s Mediocre S4 Reviews Are Bad News for Apple.” Mattera is said to be possibly hopped up on goofballs and still at large.

2. The New York Times

What do you get when you cross 1) realizing that making everything about Apple and only Apple generates a lot of traffic and 2) an actual ability to write? A Pulitzer Prize, that’s what. In addition to retiring to the fainting couch over Apple’s labor practices—which are arguably way better than its competition, but writing nuanced pieces doesn’t get you a Pulitzer, Chester—the Times ran a number of other APPLE SMASH pieces.

Brian X. Chen, for example, described how Samsung is killing Apple in the U.S. Well, provided you don’t count iPhones sold at Apple Stores, as the data Chen was using did not. But, really, how many iPhones could Apple be selling in its stores? Like … five? A minute?

The Times also gave space to conspiracy theories such as Apple deliberately punishing switchers and designing its devices to quickly become obsolete. The paper reached peak triteness in its attacks on the company when it published “7 Reasons Not to Buy Your Child an iPad for Christmas.” Do it for the children. Really, these are works worthy of the lowest of fruit-bearing bushes—your BetaNewses, your Motleys Fool, your whatever that site is that publishes Enderle’s wadded up chum and sawdust—not The New York Times. For shame.

1. Yukari Iwatani Kane

Congratulations to Haunted Empire author Yukari Iwatani Kane! Now you can say your book is “award-winning.” Kane’s collection of conventional Apple doom wisdom thrown into a blender and poured out onto a page was bad enough. (When the best thing reviewers can say is “the cover is nice,” it’s probably not a very good book.) But her clichéd “I must have touched a nerve!” and “Why, the very idea I had pre-conceived conclusions!” defense of its criticism was further eye-roll-inducing. There’s only so much of Kane’s trope-tastic work that even an ungulate can choke down.

Here’s hoping her book tour is long and takes her far afield. Like Neptune.

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