Netbooks killing Windows faster than expected

Netbooks killing Windows faster than expected

Summary: IDC figures from the fourth quarter show a rush toward inexpensive Netbooks and away from Windows laptops. Take out sales of the Atom processor running many Netbooks and total shipments were down 20%, figures showed.

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Call it the sum of Microsoft's fears.

IDC figures from the fourth quarter show a rush toward inexpensive Netbooks and away from Windows laptops.

Take out sales of the Atom processor running many Netbooks and total shipments were down 20%, figures showed.

Apple fans are crowing that Macs are resisting this downward pressure. One reason might be the MacBook Air, which offers the light weight of a Netbook, along with a full-size keyboard and large screen.

The success of the Netbook form factor -- no moving parts -- gives Linux a real opportunity to make headway on the desktop, or at least the coffeeshop desktop.

But the present success should really be just the start of an evolutionary process. Here are some ideas for the next generations of Netbooks:

  • Solar Power. How hard is it to put a small solar panel under the cover, along with the screen?
  • Peripherals. We already have incredibly tiny, dense hard drives that plug into a USB port. How about DVD drives on a similar scale? And what other devices can be added?
  • Ruggedization. The Netbook is rugged by design, but it can be more rugged. Police car rugged, for starters. We'll worry about military rugged next year.
  • Game slots. Netbooks lack the graphics and memory for high-end gaming. This sounds like a cartridge opportunity to me. Turning a Netbook into a real game machine could make cross-country flights zoom by. (Yes I know this is a Microsoft opportunity.)
  • Phone chargers. Once you have a solar-powered Netbook how about charging your iPhone while you're on the go? Or better yet your Android?

How would you improve Netbook designs for 2009 and 2010?

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Windows

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  • Interesting spin...

    ... since many sources cites increasing returns of linux netbooks to replace them with XP netbooks.

    Care to cite your sources that netbooks are "killing Windows?"
    Confused by religion
    • You already can charge your phone (s/b reply to story)

      Most phones these days charge via mini-USB cable. So if your netbook power were unlimited, your phone power too would be unlimited. The reason people generally don't is because it isn't unlimited, but I have charged my phone through a laptop in a pinch, and would do the same with a netbook.
      Michael Kelly
      • My apologies for not knowing that

        I should have known that.
        DanaBlankenhorn
        • It's Ok, we don't expect you to...

          ...know much about anything really.
          Sleeper Service
    • Virus writers in Redmond prepare to infect netbooks

      via a trojan called Windows 7, so I heard.
      Amelioration
      • *Yawn*

        Pointless and idiotic.

        You would assume someone taking the screen name "Amelioration" would understand it's meaning, and strive to prove that they were worthy of using that as a name.

        Your post proved that is not the case.

        Have a nice day! :)
        GuidingLight
    • Also confused...

      As far as I've seen, there was a single interview with an MSI exec, Andy Tung, in laptopmag.com, which has tended to be inflated by all the pundits quoting each other about it.

      The interview doesn't say what the Linux netbooks were exchanged for, if anything. Refund? WinXP netbook? Laptop? Nor does it say in what parts of the international scene this is happening. For example, what are the stats for netbook OSs in Russia? India?

      If you or anyone can provide additional details about the relative sales rate, return rate, etc, of various netbook OS flavors, I'd love to learn more.

      It may be that the major impact on MS is not loss of market share on netbooks but instead that MS is being forced to lower its OEM software prices for use on lower-margin netbooks, whose sales are somewhat displacing sales of higher margin laptops. For example, MS is selling XP to OEMs for use on netbooks at less than $20 each (I've read). I have no idea what MS is getting for an OEM copy of XP used on laptops, but it's likely to be much more.

      Also, some netbook users are going to want an office suite. OpenOffice is free and runs on both Linux and Windows. OpenOffice seems to be included with Linux netbooks. MS doesn't (yet) seem to be able to get MSOffice onto netbooks at an attractive price. If and when MS does offer a MSOffice Lite or equivalent, it's likely MS' revenue will fall for this product as well due to reduced prices to OEMs installing it on netbooks instead of on laptops. Maybe some OEMs offering Windows on netbooks will also pre-install OpenOffice in order to get a competitive edge over other netbook vendors offering XP with no office suite. MS would love that!!

      The bottom line is that, because netbooks are so cheap, OEM software prices are being forced downward, which lowers software revenue. This hurts MS.
      Feral Urchin
      • Exactly

        Even where Microsoft is winning with Netbooks it
        is losing. Thank you.
        DanaBlankenhorn
      • MSI Wind with anything but XP?

        I agree. I read the same article by referenced by Feral Urchin and have seen quite a few references to the original article. Where do these people come from? I have never seen an MSI Wind offered with anything but XP. Of course, I don't look everywhere - only the most obvious online sellers of netbooks, Newegg, Amazon, etc.
        hgh9mrp9
      • What about MS Works?

        Why doesn't MS install Works on low cost XP machines. It used to be part of the stuff preloaded on OEM equipment. It reads and saves to .Doc and other MS file systems. Last time I saw it offered retail, it was $50, American. I also used to buy MW Works Suite ($99 US.) which had Works with a copy of Word and other MS home apps. It would also work as a base if you wanted to buy MS Office Upgrade. Of course, that was before I discovered Open Office and Abiword.

        Paul
        pfyearwood
        • cuz

          They never did, so why start now. Go get works for $99 and feel the pain.
          atari8bit
    • Plus the fact that another recent blog here

      on ZDNet pointed out that Netbooks with Windows are outselling Netbooks with Linux.

      So he is correct: [i]Netbooks[/i] with Windows are killing sales of [i]Laptops[/i] with Windows.

      How does this effect Microsoft?
      GuidingLight
      • RE: Plus the fact that ... M$ fans are in denial

        <font color=#808080><em>"How does this effect Microsoft?"</em></font><br>
        Their bottom line?<br>
        Hint; Microsoft is a for <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=msft" target="_blank">profit</a> company.
        Feb 13: 19.09 Down 0.17 (0.88%)
        Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)


        ^o^<br>
        <br>
        n0neXn0ne
        • RE: Plus the fact that ... n0neXn0ne is in denial

          But that was a given 2 years ago, so what has changed?

          Nothing, except the fact that Windows on a netbook now outsells Linux on netbooks. And Laptops. Combined.

          Have a nice day (but I doubt you ever do) :)
          GuidingLight
        • Oh MY GOD!!!!

          Their stock price is down almost ONE WHOLE PERCENT???? Forget CitiGroup and all the others....waaaahhhhhhh....ONE WHOLE PERCENT!!!!!! Good-bye cruel world.

          Meh.
          MGP2
        • Check any other stock prices lately?

          At finance.yahoo.com as of 15:40

          Novell, Inc.(NasdaqGS: NOVL) Change: 0.04 (1.16%)

          RED HAT INC(NYSE: RHT) Change: 0.18 (1.16%)

          FYI - those parentheses around the net change means DOWN
          MGP2
      • Tub Thumps

        Here's a good point to jump in.

        First: "kill?" I'm more excited by the release of "Lenny" and more
        interested in what "Snow Leopard" will do than Win7, but I know that
        Windows is always going to be around. At worst, Microsoft may have
        to worry about what internal changes it has to implement in order to
        profit at 40-66% market share. Frankly, I think if that did happen, all
        of us Windows users, willing and unwilling, will find it a better and
        more interoperable system.

        So why does it hurt Microsoft when a Windows netbook is bought
        instead of a Windows laptop? Less revenue and yet another person
        who, for the next few months any way, is running XP and not Vista.

        As to Apple and crowing, it isn't over yet, but I think a case could be
        made that there is and will be a significant market for high-powered
        portable systems and that, to date, people who have chosen a netbook
        would not have been considering an Apple system. We could be seeing
        the start of the thin-client and cloud synergy, but I do have my
        doubts that people will edit home movies in the internet.

        As the number of laptop units sold decline for recessionary and
        (perhaps) disruptive form factor reasons, Apple thinks the likely
        short-term outcome is that they will outperform their competitors in
        terms of laptop units sold. Having a different operating system
        insulates them, to some degree, from being compared to a $300 XP
        system. Ironically, if the everyday folks stopped being so Windows-
        centric and realized that Linux presents a huge value to general
        consumers, the choice between a $300 Linux and $1000 Apple
        transform more into a question of money rather than, for lack of a
        better word, experience.
        DannyO_0x98
      • Loss Leader.

        They get $10 per XP copy from OEMs. This is after incentives to tier one OEMs. Toss in the normal advertising incentives (kickbacks) and you have a situation where Microsoft is probably losing a net of $15 for each XP netbook sold. They don't get the normal $29-$49 (minimum for a regular notebook with Home Basic, more if Home Premium) check for each netbook.

        I want to find the link, will post when I find it again, but XP on the netbook (offered exclusively due to the existence of Linux as a completely viable option) has cost MS a minimum of $95M in revenue last year. It's interesting how the tables have turned. it used to be MS would give it's software away to drive the competition out of business, and it now finds itself in the unenviable position of having to give it's OS away to just compete.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
        • Huh? Seriously?

          <i>It's interesting how the tables have turned. it used to be MS would give it's software away to drive the competition out of business, and it now finds itself in the unenviable position of having to give it's OS away to just compete.
          </i><br><br>
          First, are you positive that the OEMs are not absorbing some of the cost, i.e. not as much advertising subsidies, in the case of netbooks. In fact it's always been their policy to Not pay for competitors advertising, there is no way in hell they are paying their normal adverting with, as you seem to think, a very strong competitor benefiting from it's own advertising dollars. <br><br>
          Secondly, how do you figure they are doing it "just to compete"? Their revenues are not restricted to just the netbook niche. You say it cost them 95 million in revenue last year but we are in a full fledged recession, headed toward a depression at minimum according to many well respected analysts (scary thought) and a 95 million decline in revenues is unusual? <br><br>
          What is your postioin? Do you want to see people lose their jobs to gratis software and why? If software, as most OSS backers will tell you, is just knowledge and should be free, how are you going to spring that on the engineers and lawyers and physicians and other professions that work solely on knowledge to make their incomes? There is no tangible product and should the knowledge of how to help heal a person be something humans charge for? <br><br>
          Truely TripleII, are you in favor of turning the U.S. and other capitalist nations like Canada, the U.K., Australia and many others into pure socialist states? We all work for the government and wealth is distributed equally, no matter how much a person has worked, or taught themselves and can offer to a free enterprise system? YOu really think someone who dropped out of highschool, smokes dope and works only as needed to score some more dope should get the same as a person who worked for 20 years 24/7 to build a business and create value for the customners, the economy and maintains well paying jobs to qualified individuals willing to come in every day and give their best effort? <br><br>
          I have a feeling for many, you may fit in here, you see Linux as a new market to exploit for the first comers and you prepared yourself, unfortunately much earlier than you should have compared to how well Linux has moved. There is money to be made but nothing like the ecosystems that sprout from commercial vendors. Apple's ecosystem could be much larger if it would open up a bit and allow others to provide value for them. <br><br>
          But what is a linux world going to do for jobs and the economy in general? It's going to put millions out of work for starters and permanently, there is not "NEW" technology to move into as is the normal movement of technology. It's actually moving in a less functional equivilent, at best, and swapping out a major job producing entity that aside from the false civil charges, has been a strong and great steward of Jobs for decades now. Why can't someone commercialize Linux so that the disruption isn't a "BAD" thing, as it is, and will be. <br><br>
          There is about a 10 to 1 job tradoff if you could swap Linux with windows right now. 10 people now working under commercial software would be reduced to 1 under "free" software. <br><br>
          For instance, who is making money on these Linux netbooks? Who is covering the install costs? How are the OEMs making any money from them since they don't get any software income and they don't get subsidies for advertising and the like? <br><br>
          I feel sad that you see the decline of the job market, people struggling to live and having to give up their homes and so forth as a "good thing". I simply can't and never will be able to adopt a socialist mindset. <br><br>
          You can no more distribute wealth than you can force everyone to like each other. If a wealthy man was forced to give all he had to a poor man, the odds are in one year the original wealthy man would be back on the path to wealth and the poor man would be counting how much money he had left before it was gone. <br><br>
          I'm not worried about my career or have any self interest or concern about my career. I am a healthcare business professional at this point. I'm a member of ACHE with a FACHE credential, a dual degree in computer science and business and work more with solving problems than what OS we are using. My career is something I built through much hard work and the number of Windows netbooks vs. Linux netbooks is never going to affect that. <br>
          <br>And on top of that, not counting another all out assault to "kill the new Windows version" by Apple and the OSS world which it is so determined to do, even with the creator of the Linux kernel standing firmly against the idea of the ugly radical, religious movement he's been witness to and detests, win7 will run fine on netbooks. Win7 is/will be an exceptionally good OS that will bring many of those who were pitched FUD over Vista to make the leap to win7 and MS will see decent quarters, even throughout recessionary times. There is already a renewed movement toward Vista going on right now as businesses are seeing Vista is a good OS and they would be better off moving now and being ready when win7 SP1 one comes out in later 2010 or 2011. <br><br>
          This is due to the renewed confidence that MS took the right direction with it's OS, has been able to shrink the footprint w/o losing any of the great functionality and the confidence that a Vista implementation now will be worth it, as 90+% of the businesses that have rolled it out have made clear in polling. They know that a Vista roll-out will transition into a smooth win 7 rollout and they'll even net some resources in the end. <br><br>
          This allows them to confidently invest in new hardware NOW, knowing it will be fine for years and years of Vista and win 7 to come.
          <br><br>
          It's actually a better outlook than there was with XP, which took this long to catch on, since back then the roadmap to the next OS was not already layed out. Score a major victory for Microsoft. <br><br>
          So if the OSS crowd would quit complaining about MS having partnerships with for-profit hardware vendors to sell Windows and realize that if Linux was ready to go, the market would dictate that, not by forcing existing OEMs to start doing charity work and loading Linux for free and losing money, but by building NEW channels to build hardware for Linux. Truely at the end of the day, after all of the complaints about MS and the OEMs, you know as well as I do, that if a Linux based OS for consumers were going to move, billions would have been poured into it already. That hasn't happened TripleII, you can blame the MS/OEM relationships all you want but you know that MS can't stop a determined OSS entreprenuer, or more likely hundreds of them, from financing the birth of new hardware companies to deliver on that Linux demand you keep talking about. I won't say crowing but with the netbook market it's very close.
          <br><br>
          That leaves two possibilities in the real world for Linux based systems. <br>
          1. Free enterprise market sees no money to be made from Linux based OSes and the VCs will not put money into something that won't make money. <br><br>
          2. There is no market, to speak of, for Linux based OSes. <br><br>
          Even where Linux fits like a glove, you have to search and search on almost every OEM's site or retail websites to find the Linux machines and they aren't even very pretty usually, the first few are normally white with 8GB of total storage. <br><br>
          If you see that as big movement, then you are working on a different scale than I concerning those terms. <br>
          ;)
          <br>
          xuniL_z
          • Dude, let's try shorter next time.

            [B]Secondly, how do you figure they are doing it "just to compete"? Their revenues are not restricted to just the netbook niche. You say it cost them 95 million in revenue last year but we are in a full fledged recession, headed toward a depression at minimum according to many well respected analysts (scary thought) and a 95 million decline in revenues is unusual?[/B]

            XP was not put out to it's long overdue pasture so that they could have [B]something, anything[/B] as a hedge against what would be 100% Linux netbooks. Vista just wasn't viable. They entered special pricing as well, $10 for a license, again, in an all out bid to cause price parity (or close) to the Linux versions. If that is not an all out effort to compete with Linux, but essentially giving your OS away, what is? :D

            I found the article, the conservative estimates on what Linux has cost Microsoft. It has nothing to do with the recession, whether the market is hot or cold, it is all based on units sold.

            http://www.chineselinuxuniversity.net/news/46769.shtml

            [B]What is your postioin? Do you want to see people lose their jobs to gratis software and why?
            ...
            Truely TripleII, are you in favor of turning the U.S. and other capitalist nations like Canada, the U.K., Australia and many others into pure socialist states?[/B]

            Fact 1, I am Canadian and left Canada to get away from the onerous socialist tendencies up there. Second, ONE company funneling all the money to their shareholders does NOTHING to improve the economy, it stifles the economy. Let me ask you, what is better, 1 company using monopoly controls to make 90% margins or 25 companies making 7-10% margin. Which one employs more. Which one if better for the economy?

            I am beyond a Capitalist, and that's why I WANT Microsoft to be forced to compete on merit, not work to stifle innovation, choice. Look at the marketplace today! Mobile is ON FIRE, with many healthy companies competing, employing people. The internet is free again, and thousands of companies are flourishing and it was ONLY when MS lost control that it happened.

            I do NOT want MS to go under, I want one thing, for them to compete on merit, not the endless ways they "compete" today.

            Even computer manufacturers may see a rebirth. Seriously, what's the difference between a Dell laptop and HP laptop with Vista Home Premium? Logos? It is a sea of sameness out there. Choice and competition is good.

            The rest, as I said, too long dude and you could not be more wrong. I hate the spending bill, you can read my thoughts here, I hate market coercion (MS is included in that), I hate anti-trust, I hate illegal tactics, the whole shooting match.

            http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=60739&messageID=1118656

            Aside: I can see the socialist slide (higher taxes, onerous rules, political correctness gone wild and endless entitlements as millions become "victims" of circumstances and fewer people take responsibility for their lives.

            So, no, I DO NOT want socialism, I will fight it at every turn.

            TripleII
            TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827