Apple killed the netbook and good riddance!

“Netbooks are dead. Good riddance!” Farhad Manjoo reports for Slate. “Just a few years ago, these small, underpowered, ultracheap laptops were considered the future of the computer industry. In 2008 and 2009, recession-strapped consumers around the world began snapping up netbooks in droves. They became the fastest-growing segment of the PC market, and some wild-eyed analysts were suggesting that netbook sales would soon eclipse those of desktops and regular laptops combined.”

“That didn’t happen,” Manjoo reports. “Over the past couple years the netbook market crashed. Now, as Charles Arthur reports in the Guardian, most major PC manufacturers have stopped making these tiny machines. The last holdouts were the Taiwanese firms Acer and Asus. Both say they won’t build any netbooks in 2013.”

Manjoo reports, “If you study the PC industry over the past five years, you find only one company that had the means, motive, and opportunity. Apple killed the netbook, more or less single-handedly, and we should all be grateful for it.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “We can’t ship junk. There are thresholds we can’t cross because of who we are. The difference is, we don’t offer stripped-down, lousy products.” – Apple CEO Steve Jobs, August 7, 2007

Related articles:
Dell quits netbooks – December 19, 2011
Acer to phase out netbooks in favor of tablets – January 18, 2011
iPad Effect: Apple’s revolutionary iPad leads tablet charge as netbook shipments plummet – September 30, 2010
Cool new iPad case with integrated Bluetooth keyboard further threatens netbooks – August 25, 2010
ASUS lowers netbook expectations in face of Apple’s iPad revolution – August 16, 2010
Goldman: Apple iPad will cannibalize the market for, and makers of, netbooks and laptops – July 14, 2010
Survey says Apple’s revolutionary iPad is killing netbooks – May 27, 2010
Netbook Killer: Apple’s revolutionary iPad destroying the netbook business – May 06, 2010
IDC: Netbooks sales fall sharply as iPad launches – April 02, 2010
PCWorld: Apple’s iPad will remain an expensive, niche device compared to all-purpose netbooks – March 30, 2010
Bajarin: Apple’s iPad will kill netbooks – March 22, 2010
Forbes hack: Apple iPad has fewer capabilities than a netbook, in a similar size; not a good start – March 05, 2010
Why Apple’s iPad will kill not only the netbook, but also Google’s Chrome OS – January 29, 2010
Illogical Forbes writer baselessly asserts that Apple’s ‘real problem’ is netbooks – January 20, 2009


    1. Yes. iPad was Apple’s answer to the “netbook,” which is really just a cheap-ass laptop, not a different class of computing device. I’m glad someone in the media actually remembers…

      Also, the so-called “netbook” may be dead, but the ongoing sales target for iPad is this segment of the PC market that would have otherwise purchased a small low-cost laptop. Those same pro-netbook analysts and industry experts are now advocating that Apple needs to release an ultra-cheap sub-$200 tablet. Nope. There are still far more customers at the low-cost end of the PC market who still need to be targeted, and they want a high-quality high-performance high-value iPad, not a stripped-down intentionally-crippled ad-driven sub-$200 tablet.

  1. And the netbook zealots are out in droves to defend their little creatures. The original site is receiving a vocal stream of defensive comments about the usefulness of the tiny keyboard, tiny screen, tiny hard drive, puny processor, anemic battery…

    1. To use Steve’s colorful language, netbooks are shit. I suppose they work if you hardly do any work with them. Other than that, you’re much better off with an iPad or MBA. Ya get what ya pay for.

    2. exactly … the same vocal group is now trying to sell us $199 tablets and $299 chromebooks

      basically, everything that apple doesn’t stand for (Apple excels at 4″ phones and 10″ tablets, so Android fans keep insisting on 5.5″ phones and 7″ tablets even when they overlap like hell)

  2. In my, albeit limited, experience of (other people’s) netbooks, the biggest problem not mentioned in the article has been that they aren’t fast enough to run the antivirus software imposed on them (since, of course, you can’t run an XP machine without AVS). And once the viruses get in you have wipe the sucker clean and reinstall. XP on a www-connected slow machine is a nightmare world.

  3. I have a netbook for school. I was using my MBP for school and loved it but it got to where it required a power source to get me through all my classes and that wasn’t always possible. This was two years ago. My MBP has since been repurposed as a winblows desktop replacement for my father as I use my iPad since I bought it when the New iPad (aka the 3rd) was released. I still use my netbook from time to time if I have to do a lot of typing on the go as the iPad just isn’t great for a lot of word processing. Which is something I have heard from multiple people even on this site. The main reason I went with the netbook? Price and battery life. It was $220 and it did what I need. It’s slow as crap but it does what I need for note taking.

  4. I had a $200 hackintosh that I used when my mom was in the hospital 3 and a half years ago. I left it there at night, running iChat in autoanswer mode, so I could keep an eye on my mom when I wasn’t there. I wouldn’t have done that with an iPad or MBA, which are far too valuable, but it was perfect for the hackintosh.

  5. This article makes no sense at all. So Apple killed the Netbook by NOT MAKING ONE? Apple also didn’t make a Space Shuttle. Shall we say that Apple killed the US ace program, then? What else did Apple kill by not making it? The Hummer? The Ninja Turtles?

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