Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PC Chaos – the rise of the $150 Netbook

On the one hand, the rise of the Chinese batteries-not-included netbook.

On the other, the Great Recession and the threat of GD II.

The tech industry is being slammed, and Apple is not going to escape.

Emphases mine (note both Lenovo (mainland) and Acer (Taiwan) are Chinese corporations) …

Chaos Reigns in the PC Industry - NYTimes.com

… The major PC component suppliers –- companies like Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia, Seagate and Western Digital –- are reeling as hardware sales dry up. The credit crunch took its toll on business spending, then American corporations shut down in December in a bid to save money and now companies in China have halted their spending as the Chinese New Year approaches...

… In the fourth quarter of 2007, Acer held 9.5 percent of the PC market, while Lenovo held 7.5 per cent. In the fourth quarter of 2008, Acer boosted its stake of the PC market to 12.3 percent, while Lenovo dropped to 7.1 percent. Acer’s market share is now just 0.9 percentage points behind Dell, according to Gartner.

The rise of netbooks, a type of cheap, ultra-compact laptop, has helped spur Acer’s growth. Acer and its fellow Taiwanese PC manufacturer Asustek Computer have led the netbook market, while slower-to-act rivals waited to figure out if the products would enjoy wide interest.

In its fourth quarter, Intel reported a 50 percent surge in the sales of its [jf. low margin] Atom products, which go into netbooks, hitting $300 million in revenue…

.. The PC makers tried the light, compact laptop idea before with so-called ultra-mobile PCs. But it took better broadband connections, more online services and much cheaper PCs to really make the idea take off. Now the PC market may never be the same.

Broadband providers around the globe are expected to start giving away netbooks in exchange for commitments to wireless network services, Mr. Richard said…

PC makers sowed the winds with 27 years of prices suspended in mid-air. Now comes the hurricane. Microsoft is going to be hurt very badly, and Google’s chromestellation strategy could be a big winner.

Alas, there’s not much money in this for any PC hardware vendor – not even Acer. Only for those that sell components to Google.

I think this is why Apple showed nothing at MacWorld. Apple had a netbook years ago, they’ve got a netbook-in-waiting now. It’s time to see if they intend to play.

Update 1/22/09: As expected. Microsoft is not stupid, though Gates would have been more brutal. His great strength was an eagerness to shoot the lamed horse - past love be damned.

No comments: