Originally Posted by ascii
It does seem likely Apple is in a position to do something similar on short notice, however I hope they don't.
What I suspect people like about Netbooks is not the "Net" part but the small size and low price. Apple is already the king of making things small, and there have been rumors they are attempting to lower prices. The popularity of the new 13" MBP is a sign I think that Apple can defeat Netbooks without actually having to make one.
Another way to look at it is that Apple has already done something similar and it's called the iPhone/iPod touch platform.
There have been mobile devices for ages and several mobile-oriented OS's, but Apple has conquered them all because they understand that they are not actually making a phone, they are defining and promoting a whole new computing platform
So far, Microsoft has not even responded to this other than to try to shoehorn their giant Windows OS onto a mobile device in the most inelegant, non-integrated, "not really a platform" kind of way. Other netbook manufacturers have tried to shoehorn the clumsiness of various flavours of Linux onto the same sort of devices in a similar sort of way.
The other mobile/phone manufacturers are busy trying to evolve their ancient phone-based OS's into a platform, but having such a hard time of it that most are willing to use Android instead because there just isn't that much time to re-invent the wheel when a new platform is emerging.
Google, (with Android and now Chrome OS), is possibly the only company other than Apple that's smart enough to see the writing on the wall. This is a platform war similar to when Microsoft pushed all the other platforms out of the way in the battle for desktop dominance. Apple is way ahead, and Google is smartly taking over number two spot. Microsoft won't even have an entry for the race until Win Mobile 7 comes out in a year or two, and all the Symbians and so forth don't even seem to be aware
that it's about the platform
. So I guess they are playing the role IBM played in the desktop battles.
My personal choice for the number two spot based on logic and utility alone would be WebOS, but it's almost impossible to predict what will happen there.