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Netbooks chewing at Apple, Intel finances?

updated 12:00 pm EDT, Wed September 24, 2008

Netbooks Affecting Apple

The rapid surge in popularity of netbooks is affecting the bottom line for Apple and its chipmaking partner Intel, ThinkEquity researcher Vijay Rakesh claims in a recent study of the market. The analyst's checks with both Amazon and physical retail show Apple as having to face increasing competition from Acer, ASUS, and MSI. Of the top ten portables at Amazon at the time of the report's creation, two Apple MacBooks were the only systems not to fit into the new category of mini-notebooks, according to Rakesh.

Suppliers also claim that the development of full-size notebooks has slowed while netbooks have spiked in production.

The impact is seen by Rakesh as potentially damaging to Apple, particularly during the late summer period as students return to college or university and may opt for a netbook for class rather than the more than twice as costly Apple alternative. Forecasts for Apple notebook shipments could be optimistic as a result, the analyst tells investors.

By extension, Intel is also considered at risk. Although its Atom processor is used in nearly all these netbooks, the low cost of the processor itself combined with the need for lower profit margins prevents the semiconductor firm from generating as much money per sale or from recovering its revenue through sheer volume.

Apple at present has no quick avenue into netbooks. Manufacturers of these systems are often required to use leaner versions of Linux or Windows to accommodate weaker processors and are often limited in terms of storage; Apple doesn't currently have a feature-reduced version of OS X for Macs. [via Barron's]

by MacNN Staff



  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bring it on

    Come on Apple. Bring on those netbooks. It's what I wished the MacBook Air was instead. Otherwise I'll be looking at trying to install OS X on one of the new Dells or HPs.

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Apple doesn't currently have a feature-reduced version of OS X for Macs."

    I wouldn't want it anyway.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Um... OS X iPhone?

    I think there's this new device called the iphone running a reduced feature version of OS X on a "weaker" processor.

    I'm not suggesting that this would be the one they would use on a netbook but maybe they've done a good chunk of the leg work...

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    OS Features

    Apple doesn't currently have a feature-reduced version of OS X for Macs.

    10.3 worked well enough on a 500MHz G3 with 384 MB RAM.

    An Atom CPU should not be a serious obstacle to overcome.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Netbooks are weak...

    You can't possibly tell me that a user will go to a store: I want to buy a Macbook, wait a second this netbook is half the price, I'll take it instead.
    That is BS.

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple needs

    a $500 and $700 solid state, sub-80gb, non upgradable uber thin netbook to compete with the Asus EeePC that runs the whole Mac OS X not just a limited version. 1024x768 on a 10" screen, no optical drive, lots of USB ports (at least 4), no firewire (make it an economy model), lots of wireless connectivity. It is entirely possible from Apple, using an LED screen and possibly even a backlit keyboard and aluminum casing...

    Apple is good at the throw away computer, but this one needs to be totally recyclable when its life is disposed of. Oh, and this time lets make the battery user replaceable.

  1. shmoolie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Another analyst with...

    nothing better to speculate on decides that netbooks are the "new" thing and goes off half cocked. Internet "press" (and I use that term loosely MacNN)pick up the story and report on it with no counterbalancing opinions.

    Netbooks pose no threat to apple and we will see good growth in apple notebook sales this quarter.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Really Out of Touch

    The reasoning of these analysts is weak at best. I believe Acer is losing ground in the PC market based on the recently released performance number for PC sales. There is also the issue about who the buyers are, if you're buying a Mac, you're probably buying it b/c it runs Mac OS X. I can see NetBooks impacting the bottom line of other Windows/linux computers as a lot of PC shoppers buy the cheapest thing out there.

    Apple has also gotten tons of flack about not including this or that in the MacBook Air, why would Apple even want the head-ache of Mr. Needs an ethernet port, or Mr. What-No-Firewire, etc.

    Apple seems to understand the pulse, other all, of what the market will bear and what products will success (with minor exception - Cube), I don't think building one of these NetBook is innovation, and even if Apple did build one, I think it'd be another Cube.

    Apple may build some web focus device, but it'd be more though through with both form factor and functionality and probably won't look like a NetBook at all.

  1. spyinthesky1




    'Apple doesn't currently have a feature-reduced version of OS X for Macs'

    Obviously the person who wrote that has no understanding at all of the modular structure at the base of OSX. If you judge an operating system by what is required by Windows to do the same thing, it is no wonder that you can't foresee the future of technology. After the iPhone one would have thought however that these Dumbo's' just might have developed at least an inkling of what a game changer can do, especially when it is the same game changer.

  1. macnews

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not what students buy

    I work in higher education and can tell you my friends around the country are seeing a huge spike in Apple computers on college campuses. Four years ago you just saw iPods attached to windows machines. Now the demand from students (and faculty) is so great old windows only IT support is being replaced by all around IT for windows, osx and linux.
    I just don't buy back-to-school sales will be hurting Apple by these netbooks. Real world is proving different.

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