If Apple really is poised to release an $800 notebook, who would be the winners and losers?
Apple: Pretty obvious really. Not only would Apple rake in some 20 - 30% of the sticker price as profit, the company would also more than likely see a significant increase in Mac OS X market share.
Increased profits + Increased market share = Good for Apple!
Customers: Increased OS choice at a lower price point. That's got to be a good thing, both in terms of immediate choice and in that it will stimulate competition.
Microsoft: Every extra notebook sold with Mac OS X on it is one less Windows machine out there. 'nuff said.
Notebook OEMs: While Apple's notebooks were all priced above the $1,000 psychological barrier companies such as Dell, Acer, HP and Lenovo had free reign over the entire sub-$1,000 market. Apple's entry into the sub-$1,000 market is going to cost these OEMs a fair few customers overall.
Linux: How does an $800 Apple notebook affect Linux? Well, while I don't see this having a hugely negative effect on Linux, it does mean that the three horse OS race will start at $800 rather than $1,100 as it currently stands.