Maybe Steve’s Right…Maybe Netbooks Aren’t Better at Anything
“Netbooks aren’t better at anything.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that of the ultraportable machines earlier this year, and now it seems the market may finally be nodding in agreement.
In a report out today, research firm IDC reveals that netbook sales are slowing–significantly. Shipments to retailers in the first three months of this year are expected, when the final numbers are in, to have grown 33.6 percent to 4.8 million units. Which is substantial.
Problem is, that’s not even close to the growth netbooks enjoyed during the same period last year, when sales spiked 872 percent to 3.6 million units.
Now obviously, an 872 percent growth rate isn’t sustainable. That said, the year-over-year drop IDC observes is precipitous enough to raise questions about the continued viability of the category, particularly given recent reports that manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL) are losing interest in 10-inch netbooks because of disappointing sales and the surge of interest in Apple’s (AAPL) iPad.