Shocker: Netbook sales slow down

The results all but confirmed a sudden slowdown in netbook sales in the early part of the year and suggested the business may actually be on the decline. Intel didn’t directly explain the shift, but an ongoing recovery from the recession and a more mature market are likely to give more buying power and greater interest in faster notebooks, especially following the addition of mobile Core i3, i5 and i7 chips.

The trend away from netbooks is likely to continue as Intel raised its profit margin estimates for the whole year from a range of 58 to 64 percent earlier to between 62 and 66 cents.

Source: Electronista

A tip of the hat to John Gruber for compiling this list:

Daring Fireball: Apple Netbook Claim Chowder.

14 October 2008, Doug Aamoth at CrunchGear: “Five Reasons Why an Apple Netbook Is a No-Brainer”:

When asked today about the possibility of an Apple netbook, Steve Jobs said something to the effect of, “The market is just getting started — we’ll see how it goes.”

Huh? Here’s how the netbook market’s going, Steve: pretty much every major computer company has a netbook but you. Apple’s a prime candidate for a netbook, too.

20 January 2009, Brian Caulfield at Forbes: “Apple’s Real Problem: Netbooks:”

The real problem is how Apple’s portfolio of expensive gear — particularly notebooks — will fare as the recession starts to bite.

21 January 2009, Brian X. Chen at Wired Gadget Lab: “Apple Still Oblivious to Netbook Opportunity”.

18 March 2009, Shane O’Neill at PC World: “Recession Breathes Life Into Windows PCs as Apple Gasps for Air”:

At this point, I’m going to stop asking when Apple will acknowledge these dark days we live in because I think the answer is never. Maybe Apple should just be a bull market company. When times are lean, it should pack up like a traveling carnival or disappear like a baseball team in winter and not come back until everybody’s rich and happy again.

24 March 2009, Scott Moritz at “Apple’s Netbook Foray Will Flop”

Nonetheless, design hubris and slumping sales will cause Apple to tap a hot segment of computer market.

19 August 2009, Charles Moore at The Apple Blog: “Lack of Netbook, Price Hurting Apple in This Year’s Back-to-School Market”.

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  • M

    Is not the iPad a netbook? Analysts say that it will replace notebooks and laptops.

  • It is not a netbook. At least not until it's counted as a PC in the IDC, Gartner industry summaries. I do not expect that categorization to take place for at least 8 years.

    • Tom Ross

      I think Gartner is going count the iPad in their PC stats. At least this statement suggests that:

      Apple's announcement of its upcoming iPad has created much discussion in the marketplace regarding market opportunities for traditional tablet PCs and next-generation tablet devices, such as the iPad. Gartner's initial thinking is that vendors could ship up to 10.5 million traditional tablets and next-generation tablet devices worldwide in 2010.

      "User requirements are clearly segmenting, and the mini-notebook proved this point," said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner. "Vendors can no longer afford to just think in terms of traditional PC form factors or architectures. With the rise of Web-delivered applications, many users no longer need a traditional PC running a resident general-purpose operating system and fast x86 CPU to satisfy their computing needs. Apple's iPad is just one of many new devices coming to market that will change the entire PC ecosystem and overlap it with the mobile phone industry. This will create significantly more opportunities for PC vendors as well as significantly more threats."

      If true, we could see Apple's PC market share, as bestowed by Gartner, double this year, as the iPad is already selling as well as the Mac (about 1 million units per month). Apple will probably reach 10 % of the global PC market by the end of the year, up from 4 % last year (which was already up from 2 % in 2004). Brilliant.

      • They may suggest it, but they won't change their categorization for years. I followed them during the formation of the smartphone market. They did not define the category correctly until 5 years after it was created.

        Their latest report is only one day old:

        This is the official position quoted in the above:
        "Products from adjacent categories, such as smartphones and media tablets (Apple's iPad), offer messaging and Web access, which are challenging the key applications for PCs. While Gartner does not see these products as a direct replacement for mobile PCs, analysts are closely monitoring how consumers and businesses are using them."

  • Tom Ross

    Dang, that's too bad for them. Then their PC stats might soon become as relevant as their PDA stats became when smartphones emerged.

    Although technically what you're citing is their one-off "Mobile PC" stat, a subset of their regular overall PC stat which in theory might include iPads again. Your quote might even suggest that people within Gartner are not sure what to think about the whole thing yet. Here's to hoping common sense will prevail, but they'll probably err on the conservative side.

    • They are not sure, of course. They are not fools and they are deeply seeped in the market–that's what they are paid to do all day long. But the reason they don't do the intellectually honest thing comes down to the way they get paid. Their customers are primarily IT firms. It would not be good for business to tell your clients that their closely held beliefs are myths.

      I criticized the lack of courage in the analyst community here:

      "Corporate analysts feed information to management that management is comfortable digesting. Those managers then hire industry analysts to validate their opinions. Industry analysts are keen to maintain a relationship with those firms and so they listen carefully to the prejudices of their clients. They then hold up a mirror to those myths and consolidate those opinions for wider distribution and quotation by journalists at respectable publications."

      [disclaimer: it takes one to know one.]