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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:16 PM   #1
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Netbook Industry Shutting Down After Being Squeezed by iPad and MacBook Air




As noted by The Guardian earlier this week, the netbook industry will be winding down in the first quarter of 2013, as major players Asus and Acer will be shutting down production of the tiny notebooks.
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Actually, the number sold in 2013 will be very much closer to zero than to 139m. The Taiwanese tech site Digitimes points out that Asus, which kicked off the modern netbook category with its Eee PC in 2007, has announced that it won't make its Eee PC product after today, and that Acer doesn't plan to make any more; which means that "the netbook market will officially end after the two vendors finish digesting their remaining inventories."

Asustek and Acer were the only two companies still making netbooks, with everyone else who had made them (including Samsung, HP and Dell) having shifted to tablets.
The report points to four factors that likely contributed to the demise of the netbook: the overall PC market including the rise of more powerful ultrabooks, the global economy, poor profit margins on netbooks, and the iPad leading a charge of tablets to the market.

Going a bit further, Slate argues that Apple is the primary culprit in the demise of the netbook, with the MacBook Air and iPad squeezing netbooks from both sides and leading to a transformation in personal computing.
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Apple alone stood against the tide of netbooks. Apple's brilliant insight was that despite netbooks' popularity, nobody really wanted a netbook per se. Instead, Apple realized that people who were buying netbooks were looking for one of two things--they wanted full-fledged laptops that were very portable, or they wanted cheap machines that allowed them to easily surf the Web, use email and do other light computing tasks. Rather than building a single netbook that fit both these audiences poorly, Apple built two machines that were, each in its own way, much better than any netbook ever sold.
Slate's Farhad Manjoo goes on to note that Apple simply couldn't compete in the netbook market given the pricing model, and it had no interest in building an inferior product in an attempt to do so. Steve Jobs himself said at the iPad's introduction in 2010 that netbooks were simply a non-starter for Apple.
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If there's going to be a third category of device it is going to have to be better at doing these types of tasks than a laptop or a smartphone; otherwise it has no reason for being. Now, some people have thought 'that's a netbook!' The problem is that netbooks aren't better at anything. They're slow, they have low-quality displays, and they run clunky old PC software. So they're not better than a laptop at anything, they're just cheaper. They are just cheap laptops. And we don't think that they're a third category of device.
With the MacBook Air and iPad emerging as Apple's alternatives the entire computer industry was spurred to follow its lead, ultimately squeezing netbooks out of existence.

Article Link: Netbook Industry Shutting Down After Being Squeezed by iPad and MacBook Air
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:21 PM   #2
irDigital0l
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Did not see this coming...
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:22 PM   #3
levitynyc
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Remember when analysts kept wanting Apple to make a Netbook and Steve Jobs was like "We don't know how to make one that's not a piece of junk."
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:22 PM   #4
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Steve called it.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:23 PM   #5
0dev
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Can't say I'm surprised, I don't see many people buying netbooks when iPads and Android tablets are just as cheap and far more convenient and functional.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:24 PM   #6
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Now if only the industry would take Apple's lead in product and device design.. oh wait.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:24 PM   #7
daverso
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"Netbooks aren't better at doing anything!"
Favorite steve jobs line.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:25 PM   #8
Slix
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Been thinking this for a while. iPads and MacBook Airs are the way to go, Netbooks aren't good at all, like Steve said.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:25 PM   #9
sshambles
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Netbooks really are junk. Smallest MacBook Air reminds me of one of them, and it's just not needed in my opinion. 13" MacBook Air is lovely though. This had to happen eventually.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:25 PM   #10
HishamAkhtar
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Wow.

Apple literally KILLED a category.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daverso View Post
"Netbooks aren't better at doing anything!"
Favorite steve jobs line.
They're the best at being little computers.

...but yeah, I always thought the iPad was a better device for netbook style tasks than a netbook ever was.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:26 PM   #12
Hakone
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It did what it promised.... slowly.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:26 PM   #13
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Hey look, Steve was right.... again
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:27 PM   #14
charlieegan3
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The worst headache i've ever had was given to me by a netbook and an 8hr train journey - good riddance I say.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:27 PM   #15
JohnnyComeLatly
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Funny thing is I was never interested in the netbooks for the reason Steve mentioned, and yet... here I sit with an MBA in my hands and a iPad sitting on my desk. The MBA replaced the MBP that just seemed like a ton of bricks (yes, at only 6 pounds I'm being melodramatic), and I use it when I need more than the iPad will do, yet my Mini isn't available (traveling).

Can't put my finger on it, but I have friends with NetBooks and they've always seemed "forced." I never really thought about it enough to articulate, but now that I read Steve's comments I'd have to say it is what I was "perceiving." One might say it's the power of suggesting it, but I do truly feel the iPad and MBA do EVERYTHING exactly the way I want. And, once M$ comes out with the Office for iPad, my kids won't need expensive laptops/netbooks/whatever to do school work (until they get older and maybe want to do software engineering or something )
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:27 PM   #16
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I owned two netbooks over the years. They were good for what they were designed to be -- VERY inexpensive PCs with VERY good battery life (6-8 hours, which was pretty much unheard of at the time). But that was pretty much ALL they were good at. They made huge sacrifices to get there, including tiny unusable keyboards and highly underpowered CPUs that were optimized for low power consumption, at the expense of performance.

I distinctly remember being only somewhat impressed with the performance of my first netbook out of the box, but then after installing Windows firewalls and virus protection, it all went downhill from there. A PC that was barely usable, almost right out of the box. Woohoo!

So yes, I think Steve was right. People bought these for the extremely low price or for the extreme portablility -- a "throw away" laptop you could take on the road, just to check your email. That was my primary reason for buying it. And the battery life was such that I didn't have to pack my AC adaptor, and thus carry an entire laptop bag. So it fulfilled that purpose just fine.

But now, everyone uses tablets for that.

I still own a netbook, a dual-core Atom this time, which I had planned to set up as an extremely low-powered file/media server. Haven't got around to it yet. It cost me less than $200, for a full Windows 7 PC with a 250 gig hard drive. I'm certain the manufacturer made next to nothing in profit on the sale of this thing. I can see why they're not terribly interested in continuing to sell them.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:27 PM   #17
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One more of Steve's visions coming true.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:27 PM   #18
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So it turns out that the only difference between a MacBook Air and a Netbook was they one was small and good and one was small and bad. And this outcome shocks who?

I love how the tech press kept trying to convince us that, "oh no no, they're totally different categories!"

No, a phone is a different category. A bicycle is a different category. A Netbook is just a crappy laptop.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:29 PM   #19
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Thank God and good riddance! I hated selling these things. Whenever a sales person sold one we'd start a pool for when we thought it would be returned. I made more money in winnings then I ever did selling a netbook.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:29 PM   #20
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Personally something named "Mac Book Air" is ages more catchy that something called "Eee PC".

First big failure there, people will buy what they can remember and recall easily.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:29 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by brayhite View Post
Now if only the industry would take Apple's lead in product and device design.. oh wait.
Kinda like samsung eh ?

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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:30 PM   #22
Drich290195
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Again steve nailed it very much an inovater the world is going to be a less fun place
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:30 PM   #23
Schranke
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I will say that i never understood netbooks.
Happy to see apple change the way we use otherwise would have solved a problem when it comes to a good device.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:31 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
Going a bit further, Slate argues that Apple is the primary culprit in the demise of the netbook, with the MacBook Air and iPad squeezing netbooks from both sides and leading to a transformation in personal computing.[center]
It is hard to get excited about cheap stripped down hardware running stripped down and old software. If they also boasted a built in universal remote control and gaming pad the netbooks could have survived in the living room. As it has been to this point netbooks never had anything to make them exciting.

Cheaper camera memory and easier cloud based storage pretty much took away any usefulness a netbook had for me.

I expect is is less due to Apple and more due to general smartphone acceptance as the major culprit here. People are addicted to online info. You can get that on a tablet but it is even quicker on a smartphone because it is usually in your pocket.

Last edited by glutenenvy; Jan 3, 2013 at 04:33 PM. Reason: to spell or not to spell...
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 04:31 PM   #25
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Not just netbook, Ultrabook line will be dead soon. No one wants to pay over 1k for Windows notebook.
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