Best Argument: Yes
A recipe for success
Ed Bott: Apple has been kicking ass in the high-end portable PC market over the last couple years. The MacBook Air has become deservedly popular for its exquisite engineering. But that’s all about to change. The pieces are finally clicking together for PC OEMs to make small, light, great-looking portable PCs at commodity prices. That is historically when the Apple versus Wintel battles get interesting. In this economy price is more of an issue than ever, and economies of scale should drive the price of ultrabooks down quickly.
I predict ultrabooks will be a big hit with PC buyers who like the MacBook Air form factor but prefer Windows to OS X. The combination of genuinely interesting hardware and a mature, smoother, more reliable Windows should narrow or even erase the design gap between Apple’s MacBook Air and those of the top Wintel OEMs. Historically, that’s a recipe for success.
Another profitless bit of me-too-ism
Robin Harris: Apple has re-defined music players, smart phones, tablet computers and, with the MacBook Air, the notebook computer. They've also gobbled up the lion's share of the profits and will do so again in Ultrabooks.Apple dominates over-$1,000 PC revenue with a 90% share. They dominate tablets likewise. The last 2 MacBook Air models have been a huge hit. Apple's strategy is to win profits, not volume.
Now, aided by an Intel war chest estimated at $300-$500 million, the PC vendors are striking back with the same tired "cheaper, not better" strategy that lost them the profitable markets segments in high-end PCs. It's another profitless bit of me-too-ism by the 20th century anachronism known as Wintel.
Wintel will lose the Ultrabook battle.