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HARDWARE

Is the iPad a Netbook Killer?

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Short answer: no!  Long answer... read on.

Apple stock watcher Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley has both Wall Street and Silicon Valley all atwitter at the moment for issuing a note to investors extolling the red hottedness of the iPad and the cooling down of Netbooks. Coincidence? Ms. Huberty thinks not.

Ms. Huberty makes a pretty compelling case:

1. She believes the iPad will reach 10 million units in sales within the first year, surpassing her earlier prediction of six million. Given that 2 million units have sold in two months, I won't argue with her updated sales predictions.

2. Netbook sales were down 13% in the month of April; the month the iPad came out, compared to the same month a year ago.

3. A recent survey by online shopping review site, Retrevo.com, shows 30% of potential netbook buyers reportedly bought iPads instead.

I am still not compelled, Ms. Huberty.

Here's why netbook sales are down:

1. Perhaps it has a little bit to with the iPad. Perhaps...

2. More likely, it's the fact that netbook sales have been so mad hot over the past couple of years they've been long overdue for a cooldown.

3. Even more likely, Windows 7 has been out for several months now and people are starting to trust its not Vista: The Sequel. When people buy a PC, they are now choosiong between a cheap laptop that's very close in price and size to a netbook, BUT with the more stable Windows 7 that can do a lot more than the aging operating system, Windows XP.

4. Also a factor, netbook sales are increasingly shifting over to the mobile carriers. The good news is that they cost less (by about a hundred to a hundred and fifty bucks). The bad news is that they actually cost much, much more. That $199 sticker price comes with a two year contract committing to a $30 a month data plan. Now that $199 netbook costs more than a smoking rig full-size laptop. Consumers aren't dumb. They know a bad deal when they see one.

Netbooks and iPads are like comparing apples and oranges, or rather oranges and apples (pun intended).

Netbooks are here to stay. Clearly, so is the iPad. One will not supplant the other.

 

 

Last updated: Jun 8, 2010




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