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]