Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential 2009 — #8 Netbooks

Computerworld's Top 10 Most Influential for 2009 continues with our 8th place: Netbooks.

As the year draws to a close, it is time to recognise the people, products, organisations, trends and events that have had the greatest influence on the ICT industry and community. We have therefore launched the inaugural Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential.

Earlier this week Computerworld began counting down to the winner with one article each day from 10th place to number one.

We started on Monday with #10 — CSIRO's wireless patent win.

Yesterday, we took a look at #9 — Virtualisation.

Once we reach #1 in two week’s time, it will be over to you for the readers' choice award. If you don't agree with the panel of 12 (see below) you can still have your say on the most influential person, product, organisation, trend or event for 2009.

We’ll publish the results on the website and in the February/March issue of Computerworld magazine.

#8 Netbooks

Two years after Asustek introduced the first netbook, the Asus Eee PC 700, the smaller, lighter and cheaper devices have continued to be embraced by all comers and faced down many of their biggest critics.

Some thought netbooks would be 'just another fad' that would eventually join the throng of IT wannabes on the rubbish heap, but the mobile device category has done the complete opposite — shining brightly through one of the toughest economic years on record.

The PC market overall suffered severe drops as a result of the global economic downturn. In contrast, sales of netbooks continued to grow.

From a domestic economic perspective it is arguable that netbooks helped several of Australia's largest IT retailers, including Harvey Norman and JB Hi, avoid the damaging retail hits taken overseas. As is often the case, the numbers are telling.

Analyst firm, Gartner, predicted at the start of the year that 2009 PC shipments globally would fall by 11.9 per cent from last year. The expected decline would have been four times greater than that in 2001 after the dot-com bust.

But the consumer demand for netbooks — and other mobile devices such as laptops — meant that forecast after forecast by pretty much every analyst firm was beaten.

The latest expectations from Gartner, the largest analyst firm in the world, are that mobile PC shipments will reach 162 million units this year, a 15.4 per cent increase over 2008. Mini notebooks, which are mostly comprised of netbooks, are expected to account for 29 million of that total.

The growth in netbook sales: 41.4 per cent.

Desktop shipments: A 9 per cent decline.

But it's not just sales at the register that have made netbooks influential this year. Aside from Apple, pretty much every major manufacturer has launched a netbook offering and plugged, pushed, peddled and promoted it with gusto since January.

Intel's Atom processor, which is used in netbooks, helped PC microprocessor makers sell record numbers of chips during the third quarter, according to market researcher IDC. And chip makers such as AMD and Via have refocused their operations to target the netbook trend.

On the operating system side, where netbooks pushed Microsoft to extent the life of Windows XP, the form factor saw a swathe of announcements in 2009 with Windows 7, Linux, Google's Chrome OS, Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) and others such as Jolicloud competing for attention.

If you still don't think netbooks have been influential on the ICT industry and community this year, consider this: In 2009, the NSW Government decided that more than 200,000 high school students in the most populous state in the country would begin to use netbooks in their formative educational years.

The $110 million NSW Digital Education Revolution tender to supply 200,000 netbooks to 571 schools for year 9-12 students over the next four years was won by Lenovo with its IdeaPad S10e laptop in April. The device had to be under $500, weigh less than 1.75kg, be smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, have a minimum screen size of 8.9-inches and be able to boot up in less than five seconds.

Microsoft was selected as a software partner and will serve up the Windows 7 operating system and Office suite.

It is for these reasons and others such as the continued consumerisation of the workplace with the use of devices such as netbooks and smartphones, that the panel voted netbooks into 8th spot in the Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential for 2009.

See more stories on Netbooks

Two years on, netbooks on verge of big shake-up

PC desktop market will continue in the long term, Intel says

Netbooks disappoint consumers, says survey

PC market crash averted, says Gartner

Microprocessor sales reach record levels, says IDC

Acer debuts Windows 7 netbook

Nokia enters the netbook market with the Booklet 3G

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook

PC shipments stronger than expected in Q2, IDC says

AMD slowly evolves with netbook demand

Next: Meet the panel

Page Break

How we chose the Top 10 Most Influential 2009

The Top 10 Most Influential 2009 was chosen by a panel of 12 members comprising the Computerworld editorial team (4) and 8 industry experts (see below for details). Each member of the panel was given a list of suggested possible entries for inclusion in the final list. They were then encouraged to nominate 10 candidates and to add others if they thought them worthy of consideration.

To ensure the broadest possible range of products, people, trends, organisations and events were given a chance at being considered, no restrictions were imposed. In short, anything considered by a panel member to have been one of the biggest influences on the ICT industry and community throughout 2009 was acceptable.

The nominations (or votes) were then tallied by the Computerworld Editorial team and a short-listed created. The entry with the most votes was then selected as the Most Influential for 2009. Those entries with the same amount of votes then went through a count-back with a final decision made by the panel.

The Panel:

Computerworld Editorial Team:

Trevor Clarke (Editor) – See more stories by Trevor

Georgina Swan (Deputy Editor) – See more stories by Georgina

Tim Lohman (Journalist) – See more stories by Tim

Kathryn Edwards (Journalist) – See more stories by Kathryn

Frost Sullivan ICT practice head, Andrew Milroy Andrew Milroy heads up Frost Sullivan’s ICT practice in ANZ having joined the firm in 2006. Andrew has spent more than15 years in the ICT industry. He has held senior management roles at IDC and co-founded, NelsonHall, a successful IT services advisory firm in the United States. Andrew’s recent roles have been focused upon the development of research and consulting activities in Europe, Australia and the Asia Pacific region. His research focus has been ICT services, in particular outsourcing. He has also led research and consulting projects in cloud computing and sustainable IT. Visit the Frost amp; Sullivan website

IDC Associate Vice President Research, Australia, Tim Dillon Tim Dillon manages IDC’s Australian research operations. As part of his role Tim focuses on working with Senior IT executives from Australia’s leading ITT organisations across consulting projects, research and analysis areas such as; Telecoms, Software and Services. Tim has more than 17 years of professional experience in research. Having lived and worked both in Europe and Asia Pacific, Tim has a global perspective that provides a broader view of technology trends as it impacts Australia. Visit the IDC website

Intermedium Head of Consulting, Kevin Noonan Kevin specialises in the Government IT, as an industry analyst, consultant and commentator. For the last four years, he has provided consulting advice to more than half of the Top 100 ICT companies, and many government agencies. Kevin has more than thirty years experience in the government IT sector. This includes ten years as a government senior executive and Chief Information Officer, and a further eighteen years as a government manager and project director. During this time he held positions responsible for almost every aspect of IT, ranging from technical infrastructure and major procurement, through to policy and large scale business change Visit Intermedium's website

Web Directions conference series co-founder and author, John Allsopp John Allsopp is a co-founder of the Web Directions conference series, and author of one of the earliest books on Microformats. As a software developer, long standing web development speaker, writer, evangelist and self proclaimed expert, he’s spent the last 15 years working with and developing for the web. As the head developer of the leading cross platform CSS development tool Style Master, and developer and publisher of renowned training courses and learning resources on CSS and standards based development, and author of the highly regarded “Dao of Web Design” he has been widely recognized as a leader in these fields. Visit the Web Directions website.

IBRS advisor, Dr Kevin McIsaac Dr Kevin McIsaac is the IBRS advisor for virtualisation, desktop deployment, mobile devices networks, servers storage and data centre infrastructure. He has 25 years of IT experience and is a recognised expert in infrastructure, operations and vendor management. Dr McIsaac has 10 years experience as an IT Analyst researching, distilling and disseminating best practices in IT and regularly work with the CIOs and the IT management teams of leading Asia-Pacific organisations. Prior to IBRS, Dr McIsaac was Research Director Asia-Pacific Group for META Group and has held leadership positions at Computer Associates and Functional Software. Visit the IBRS website.

Social media commentator and strategist, Laurel Papworth Laurel is one of Australia’s top social media strategists, a renowned keynote speaker and respected thought leader on the business of being social. She is in the Power150 Media and Marketing blogs globally (Advertising Age), # 3 Media Marketing blogger in Australian (BT Magazine), and regularly interviewed about social networks in international press and on Australian TV shows and Radio National, Vogue Australia, The Australian and the Fin Review, SMH, Telegraph, and various magazines Visit Laurel's website.

Layer10 Founder Paul Brooks Paul Brooks is the founder of Layer10, a consultancy and advisory practice in the telecommunications industry specialising in broadband access, optical network design and service strategy.

Australian Information Industry Association CEO, Ian Birks Ian Birks was appointed AIIA Chief Executive Officer in July 2008. Prior to this he was a national board member of the AIIA, serving since 2004. As a board member Ian has been actively involved in industry workforce and skills issues, working as an advisor to the association’s initiatives in this area. Visit the AIIA website

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon