Why Apple will have to release a netbook

Apple's underwhelming refresh of its Mac desktop line shows just why the company needs to release a netbook. The company seems oblivious to the economy crashing around it, and continues to believe that it can thrive by selling champagne-priced computers in a beer-priced world. It's time for Apple to face reality and build a netbook.

Apple's sales are tanking, along with its stock price. As Greg Keizer notes in a Computerworld article, people are buying lower-priced computers, and forgoing expensive Macs.

Keizer's article notes this:

According to ChangeWave Research, 27% of the U.S. consumers surveyed who said that they plan to buy a laptop in the next 90 days said that their new purchase would be a Mac. Apple's slice of the increasingly shrinking pool of buyers was down 6 percentage points from a similar survey done by ChangeWave in November 2008.

"[That's] our weakest visibility reading for Apple laptops in nearly two years," said Paul Carton, ChangeWave's research director.

The article quotes other bleak sales figures for Apple --- all because of its high-priced hardware. And netbooks are clearly hurting Apple badly. The article says:

ChangeWave's latest survey, conducted from Jan. 5 to 12 with nearly 3,500 U.S. consumers, found that almost one in five laptop buyers (19%) said they had purchased a netbook in the past three months. About one in seven (14%) of future notebook buyers said they planned to pick up a netbook in the next 90 days.

Despite this, Apple continues to sell high-priced hardware, and ignore netbooks. Microsoft, by way of contrast, has finally recgonized that netbooks are here to stay, and has begun a multiple-pronged strategy to take advantage of them. As I've recently written, Windows now has a 90% share of new netbook sales, effectively killing Linux as a serious desktop competitor.

In addition, Microsoft designed Windows 7 to run well on netbooks. And just recently, the company also announced that it is developing a netbook-version of Office. It's mum on what that means, but expect it to be very low-priced, or possibly ad-supported and free.

Apple would do well to learn from Microsoft here, and take advantage of the netbook market. After all, Microsoft has taken quite a bit from Apple over the years --- Apple should now return the favor and target netbooks.

Update: The rumor mill has it that such a netbook will ship in the third quarter of this year. For details, check out my blog post, "Report: Apple netbook to ship by the third quarter."

The brave new world of Windows 10 license activation
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies