Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

The Decline in Netbooks Put a Big Dent in the Windows Business

While it is no secret that the netbook phenomenon has passed, Microsoft made it clear on Thursday just how big the impact of that is on its business.

As part of its earnings report, the company noted a 6 percent year-over-year revenue drop in the unit that includes Windows. There were several factors responsible for that, including the impact of a hard drive shortage brought on by flooding in Thailand. But the drop in Netbooks was a major factor, as well.

Consider these two stats:

A year ago, netbooks represented about 8 percent of the PC market, according to Microsoft. Now they account for just 2 percent of the business.

The consumer PC business was down 6 percent last quarter. However, excluding netbooks, the business actually grew 2 percent.

For those looking to see the impact of the iPad on Microsoft’s business, I’d point to those statistics. While they are clearly two totally separate products, they have filled a similar niche: A good second device for those who already have a PC and want an easy way to surf the Web and consume some content, on the couch or on the go.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work