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Sun zinged by rent-a-quote analyst

Economist phones friend of Dell, HP and IBM

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Imagine our surprise when The Economist - possibly the most respected magazine on the planet by business types - closed out an evisceration of Sun Microsystems by turning to a consultant who gets paid by most of Sun's major competitors.

In a piece entitled "Still changing the subject" in the current edition of magazine, we learn -

"All the changes Mr McNealy has made since 2002 have been attempts to convince customers that buying gadgets from Sun was no longer an all-or-nothing proposition," The Economist wrote.

"But too many customers have become used to listening to and doing business with Dell, HP and IBM instead. Rob Enderle, who runs an eponymous technology consultancy, says that Sun is 'like a soccer team that suddenly shows up in the Super Bowl against an [American] football team.'"

Enderle, you see, serves on the advisory councils of IBM, HP and Dell, among others. This information is not disclosed in the article, which gives the misleading impression that Enderle is an an objective and impartial source.

Enderle no longer even works as an analyst, although he still gets billed as being one. He's a consultant for the Enderle Group. You can find out more here.

The Economist tends to do a fine job covering technology and raises some very valid points about Sun in its story. We, however, wonder how quoting a paid consultant who works for Sun's competitors to deliver a pot shot fits into the magazine's objective agenda.

The magazine isn't alone in this type of practice. The technology press has proven reluctant to hold analysts to the same standards demanded by the financial press when quoting financial analysts. Analyst houses such as IDC and Gartner refuse to disclose their customers, and tech reporters, for the most part, help by not insisting the analyst firms be more forthcoming.®

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