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Netbooks killing off sickly Windows PC sales

post #1 of 103
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PC sales are in free fall as the weak demand for Windows desktops and full-size notebooks in a poorly performing global economy is being compounded by an influx of low cost netbooks, which are gobbling up the remains of profitability in the PC industry.

According to an IDC report issued last week, worldwide PC processor unit shipments in the fourth quarter of 2008 declined 17.0% quarter over quarter and 11.4% year over year. Those tragic numbers were buoyed somewhat by sales of mini-laptop netbooks running low powered processors. Take out Intel's Atom chips that power netbooks, and processor unit shipments declined by 21.7% over the previous September quarter and 21.6% over last year's holiday quarter.

Shane Rau, IDC's director of Semiconductors in Personal Computing research, said the "decline in PC processor unit shipments in the fourth quarter was the worst sequential decline since IDC started tracking processor shipments in 1996. After hinting at a decline last September, the market fell of a cliff in October and November.''

IDC's report stated that "the decline of the PC processor market in 4Q08 was due to a precipitous drop in end system demand that quickly moved up the PC supply chain through OEMs and contract manufacturers to the processor vendors." In addition to tightening consumer spending, sickly PC sales have also been blamed upon weak interest in Windows Vista, which only runs well on desktops and full powered laptops. Most netbooks run the simpler Windows XP, and about a quarter run Linux.

Netbook erosion

That has hit Microsoft particularly hard, resulting in an 11% drop in profits over its year ago quarter and plans to cut 5,000 jobs over the next year and a half. On the other hand, Apple posted its best quarterly results ever, with 9% growth in its Mac sales over the previous year. How is Apple bucking the collapse of PC sales?

In large measure, Apple is sidestepping the fate of other PC makers because it sells machines differentiated by Mac OS X Leopard. While other PC makers are all diving to the bottom of the barrel to offer the cheapest Windows PCs at unsustainable prices, Apple is selling a product with unique value that isn't available elsewhere. The company is also leveraging its strong retail presence of 251 stores worldwide, which offer training and support that can't be found at big box retailers, preventing many Mac buyers from leaving its ecosystem to find a bargain among cheap PCs.

However, another component to Apple's healthy sales figures is its refusal to sell netbooks. While pundits have insisted that Apple jump on the netbook bandwagon, the company has consistently insisted that it can't offer any value in the sub-$500 PC market. That strategy has prevented corrosion of the Mac OS X market for desktops and full sized notebooks at the hands of low powered, ultra cheap Mac netbooks.

Apple's Netbook alternative

Instead, Apple has focused its interests in selling the iPhone and iPod touch to fill the demand for low-end, highly mobile devices in Mac market. The company doesn't break out iPod touch sales from other iPods, but iPhone sales growth in the fourth quarter exploded by 88% over the year ago quarter. Apple sold 13.6 million iPhones in the last year, well above the 11.3 million netbooks sold in 2008 by all vendors combined.

Pundits say there's no stopping netbook sales, with 21.5 million expected to be sold in 2009. However, analysts are also predicting incredible growth for the iPhone, with Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray estimating an installed base of roughly 60 million iPhones by the end of 2009. That would require sales of 44 million iPhones this year, well more than twice the number of netbooks expected to be sold worldwide. Additionally, that doesn't even include Munster's estimate of 23.4 million iPod touch users by the end of the year.

Rather than losing money to chase a fraction of the netbook market share, Apple is creating its own market for handheld WiFi mobile devices that is not only outpacing the entire netbook market in units sold but also in profitability. Because the iPhone and iPod touch are designed to sync with a computer rather than replace one like a netbook, Apple's desktop and notebook sales are not being cannibalized by its mobile sales.

Of course, the fear is that PC netbooks running Windows XP or Linux will soon impact Mac notebooks, too, unless Apple scrambles to release its own netbook competitor. While the company said it was keeping a close watch on the market for netbooks, any threat to the Mac might be well off in the future. Around 70% of all netbooks were sold in Europe, many subsidized by a mobile network plan. That makes netbooks more akin to glorified smartphone, and a more direct competitor to Apple's iPhone and iPod touch.

Macs moving upscale

Apple has migrated away from selling low end, simple Internet browsing computers over the last decade, repositioning the iMac from an appliance PC (it was originally intended to serve as a Network Computer) into a luxury desktop with a big screen aimed directly at higher powered tasks such as editing movies, working with high resolution RAW photography, and making music.

The company has also pushed its notebooks upscale, converting its entry level iBook line into MacBooks closer to the low end of its MacBook Pro models. That has resulted in Apple offering no new notebook models for much less that $1,000, but also taking the lion's share (66%) of the $1,000 and up notebook market, where most of the profits in notebooks are to be found.

Apple hasn't just been pushing its products up scale rather than into junk territory by raising its hardware prices; it has also developed software to make use of faster systems, assembling both the iLife suite for consumers and a series of Pro Apps. Netbooks are designed primarily to do text entry and browse the web, making them natural replacements for low end PCs the cost roughly the same and don't offer to do much more besides take up more space.

That's killing Microsoft's model for advancing Windows Vista on the sheer volume of new PC sales, because netbooks are making a large chunk of the low end market for new PCs obsolete, and replacing them with a low powered device that not only can't run Vista, but can run Linux. If netbooks continue to grow as predicted, they will cause a major erosion of the low end of PC market, forcing Microsoft to either scale down Vista to something closer to Windows XP, or to continue to develop the older XP code base.

Either way, that change will have minimal impact on Apple's business, the majority of which is well above the floodplain threatened by the promised wave of $400 netbooks. Apple's Mac business will be no more at risk than Microsoft's higher-end gamer PC users. However, if netbooks can manage to replace over 20 million low end PCs this year it will have a significant impact on the standing of Windows Vista and its successor due later this year as an increasingly large chunk of the 300 million PCs sold annually won't need a full desktop operating system.

Meanwhile, Apple is targeting the release of Snow Leopard as being fully 64-bit. In the last nine quarters since Apple transitioned its lowest end MacBooks and iMacs to 64-bit Core 2 Duo CPUs, the company has sold 19 million Macs. Apple's installed base of Macs running Mac OS X is approaching 30 million. That means that at around two thirds, or 66%, of the entire Mac installed base is 64-bit.

In contrast, the latest Steam survey of around a hundred thousand serious PC gamers' hardware, representative of the high end of Windows users, revealed that less than ten percent are running a 64-bit version of Windows 2003, XP, or Vista, even though gamers with fancy video cards and an appetite for RAM would benefit most from moving to 64-bit Windows. The majority, 65%, are still using 32-bit Windows XP, with nearly 24.5% using 32-bit Windows Vista, even though nearly all PCs sold in the last two years have shipped with Vista.
post #2 of 103
nice to see reference to people buying netbooks as a way of getting or keeping windows XP, at my work, they are buying used laptops with xp so they don't "get infected" with vista and its path to windows 7. in a recession people want to save money, they are finding much is not necessary now for most things (95%) that people do, broadband, server based services (many companies are using this model of central server based aps and storage to prevent data loss on individual laptops which are thought to represent to single most vulnerable aspect of network, and corp data)

so here is to keeping XP---netbooks are a huge threat to MS since the upgrade cycle is lost, and gives linux a big base.

so how much of the netbook market is a "no- confidence" vote for MS and vista/ W7. and if they break, why even fix them for $300 or less donate and buy another
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post #3 of 103
Microsoft is attacking the netbook market directly with Win 7. Every time they talk about it, they talk about it running on netbooks. So they're doing serious damage control on that front.
post #4 of 103
Why would gamers benefit the most from a 64-bit OS? Not a single mainstream PC game ships with 64-bit binaries on the disc. It's a chicken and egg situation.
post #5 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Why would gamers benefit the most from a 64-bit OS? Not a single mainstream PC game ships with 64-bit binaries on the disc. It's a chicken and egg situation.

Because you can use more RAM with a 64-bit system.
post #6 of 103
This comment interested me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Most netbooks run the simpler Windows XP, and about a quarter run Linux.

Could anyone supply a bit more info on that? What Linux system (or systems) are being used? It strikes me that Linux is MS's biggest lurking nightmare, because for every new Mac sold a good proportion will also buy a retail version of Windows to run under BootCamp or alternatives, but if a third, Linux based consumer-friendly OS got out there and started competing with MS for the OEM market they would be in serious trouble.
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post #7 of 103
Nothing like good healthy competition keeping everyone on their toes.
post #8 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

Because you can use more RAM with a 64-bit system.

But how does that benefit the average user who browses the web and checks their email? It doesn't. And that's what netbooks are used for.
post #9 of 103
I think that some people will be putting of PC purchases while they wait for Windows 7 to be released. This means that Microsoft will surely put a "free upgrade" package for Vista on the market to keep sales up this year.

For basic uses Linux on a netbook is great, and Microsoft have to worry about that. Their idea of a "3 applications max" version of Windows 7 for netbooks is very flawed, especially if it costs $200 like one rumour suggested (I think $30 OEM is more likely, otherwise netbooks will have a severe markup).

I have a netbook. It does everything I want from a casual evening home computer. It runs Linux. I can browse the web, chat on MSN, AIM, Google, do spreadsheets or word process, play music, even have the 3D desktop effects/expose-spaces-like functionality. It sucks for video, that's a chipset and driver failing, and I know that an Apple netbook would not fail in this area even if it used an ARM + PowerVR solution.
post #10 of 103
I think this is an ominous sign for Apple.

Prince is spinning this as if Apple will be unaffected. But I have my doubts.
post #11 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

I think that some people will be putting of PC purchases while they wait for Windows 7 to be released. This means that Microsoft will surely put a "free upgrade" package for Vista on the market to keep sales up this year.

For basic uses Linux on a netbook is great, and Microsoft have to worry about that. Their idea of a "3 applications max" version of Windows 7 for netbooks is very flawed, especially if it costs $200 like one rumour suggested (I think $30 OEM is more likely, otherwise netbooks will have a severe markup).

They've already announced the free upgrade plan- buy a Vista PC after July 1, and you'll get Windows 7 for free.

As for pricing, Microsoft's retail prices have always been absurd, but their OEM prices can be very low- I think they charge $5 for the version of XP Home that goes on netbooks now. Nobody buys Windows at retail, anyway.

Linux on netbooks does everything basic a user would need and runs very well, but its problem is that most people refuse to learn anything new when it comes to computers.
post #12 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

Because you can use more RAM with a 64-bit system.

I can't think of any game that uses more than 3.5GB of RAM. Even the latest Battlefield game tops out at about 2.5GB (inc. OS under WinXP).
post #13 of 103
I think the computer world is all just way past the point of diminishing returns. The majority of computer users just don't need to upgrade to anything. And none of the offerings by any of the manufacturers prove otherwise.

As a video editor and part time gamer, I feel like I'm one of the last people who actually cares about eeking out a little more performance out of my systems. But even then, any extra performance that I can get by upgrading my hardware or software is miniscule compared to what my systems already do! They run everything well enough.

It's no wonder Apple is shifting focus to the iPods/iPhones. At least there you have a significant growth market with a large potential for "virgin" users. In comparison, going after "computer platfom converts" might net a little profit, but the point of diminishing returns starts to rear it's head pretty fast. People just don't need to upgrade their computers, they work well enough, and there's nothing compelling to spend money on, that can't be done by current computers. Well unless you really, really, really need 64-bit facebook, email, web browsers, & ms-office.
post #14 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeysbistro View Post

I think the computer world is all just way past the point of diminishing returns. The majority of computer users just don't need to upgrade to anything. And none of the offerings by any of the manufacturers prove otherwise.

As a video editor and part time gamer, I feel like I'm one of the last people who actually cares about eeking out a little more performance out of my systems. But even then, any extra performance that I can get by upgrading my hardware or software is miniscule compared to what my systems already do! They run everything well enough.

It's no wonder Apple is shifting focus to the iPods/iPhones. At least there you have a significant growth market with a large potential for "virgin" users. In comparison, going after "computer platfom converts" might net a little profit, but the point of diminishing returns starts to rear it's head pretty fast. People just don't need to upgrade their computers, they work well enough, and there's nothing compelling to spend money on, that can't be done by current computers. Well unless you really, really, really need 64-bit facebook, email, web browsers, & ms-office.

Heh. Well now I have to repost a comment I made on a different forum a month ago (I feel a little bad for copying-and-pasting myself, but only a little):

Quote:
I think it is a mistake on Apple's part, but it's their business.

Netbooks are not a fad and cheap computers are going to get cheaper. I hate to sound all "640k is enough for anybody," but we've reached a point where increasing computer power benefits a decreasing number of users.

A few years ago when the OLPC project started, Negroponte talked about leveraging Moore's Law in the opposite direction. Paying less for the same, rather than paying the same for more. OLPC was too ambitious, but the principle is sound. If a computer from five years ago had enough power for mom and dad and your girlfriend, then couldn't a new computer with equivalent power be built much more cheaply? Well, yes, of course it can.

Intel and Microsoft missed the trend and created problems for themselves. First, Intel decided to bury the OLPC because it didn't use their processors, so Intel created Atom and allowed the netbook to be born. Now they're in trouble, because a lot more people are buying netbooks than they expected, and their profits come from more expensive processors.

Second, Microsoft launched an operating system that wouldn't run well on netbooks right at the start of the trend. Extending XP sales later and later was an embarrassing and desperate move to keep Windows in this new market. Notice how every time Microsoft talks about Windows 7, they talk about it running on netbooks. That is the real reason Vista is being replaced so quickly.

Apple is now the third company missing the trend big-time. Apple's focus is on making money through margins rather than volume, and that works when people can afford luxury computers. They're betting on this recession or depression or whatever it is ending soon. If that doesn't happen, Apple's computer business will be in deep trouble. Maybe then we'll see how cheap they're willing to sell a Mac.

Nothing I've seen since I wrote that has changed my opinions.
post #15 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Why would gamers benefit the most from a 64-bit OS? Not a single mainstream PC game ships with 64-bit binaries on the disc. It's a chicken and egg situation.

Some major game titles ship 64-bit binaries (just Google it)... Does not necessarily give a performance boost, maybe a slight boost.

Running 64-bit Windows is useful as a previous poster mentioned because you can access more than 3GB of RAM. If I have 4GB of RAM (which is very cheap nowadays) any 32bit OS is wasting my RAM.
post #16 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

If netbooks continue to grow as predicted, they will cause a major erosion of the low end of PC market, forcing Microsoft to either scale down Vista to something closer to Windows XP, or to continue to develop the older XP code base...

Article is very interesting. On this point though, Windows 7 will probably run on the low end PC and netbook stuff. It *won't* run on smartphone-class devices though... Unless you're talking a mobile phone based on an Intel Atom
post #17 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Running 64-bit Windows is useful as a previous poster mentioned because you can access more than 3GB of RAM. If I have 4GB of RAM (which is very cheap nowadays) any 32bit OS is wasting my RAM.

I imagine it would be getting more important for PC games to run 64-bit as GPUs are getting more and more RAM, cutting into that 4GB addressing limit.
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post #18 of 103
I think most people would be happy to just use XP for the next 20 years, this whole netbook thing could very well put the computer industry at a virtual standstill for years to come
post #19 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by BB Sting View Post

I think most people would be happy to just use XP for the next 20 years, this whole netbook thing could very well put the computer industry at a virtual standstill for years to come

Maybe the "netbook thing" will be the computer industry for years to come...
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post #20 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

Apple is now the third company missing the trend big-time. Apple's focus is on making money through margins rather than volume, and that works when people can afford luxury computers. They're betting on this recession or depression or whatever it is ending soon. If that doesn't happen, Apple's computer business will be in deep trouble. Maybe then we'll see how cheap they're willing to sell a Mac.

I disagree. The people buying these netbooks aren't the same people who would consider spending a $1000+ for a computer, which is the market segment Apple sells in. Yes, there may be some people who want to jump in on what's hot at the moment and they'll argue that Apple needs to release their own netbook or release OS X for other Intel based computers, but the sky is hardly falling. There isn't any proof of a mass exodus of consumers running from $1000+ high quality computers. Apple has proven just the opposite, that they are still selling a lot of computers.

I also seriously doubt Apple assumes that the recession will end anytime soon, however even during a recession there are still those that can afford nicer things. If Apple does anything, they'll drop the prices a tiny bit, maybe $100 or so, but I wouldn't expect anything more.
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post #21 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackthemac View Post

Maybe the "netbook thing" will be the computer industry for years to come...

It could never "be" the computer industry, but the low cost could easily make it a large chunk of the industry, especially in worldwide stats as developing countries and primary schools find this to be a viable alternative to more expensive options or sharing of systems.

I look forward to Windows 7 and Nividia's Ion making these machines more useful. I can't imagine too many adults that would be okay with the small size for any real work, but for a basic multimedia and social device they work out quite well.

PS: My iPhone would be just fine as a replacement for my Netbook if I could watch streaming TV from the networks on it. This means an App Store approved portal or Flash on iPhone OS X.
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post #22 of 103
"Analysts say that Intel would have to sell three times as many processors for the netbook market to make the same profit it does on the sale of a single laptop processor."

AMD plans to steer clear of profit-squeezing netbook chips
post #23 of 103
With Joost and iPlayer apps available, we know Apple has nothing against approving video streaming apps. Slingplayer is soon to come. I've seen requests for iPhone apps on Hulu.com and TV.com community boards. With the meteoric growth of mobile devices, I believe they are both working on it.

If the iPhone had Flash, the video playback would still likely be variable. The video would still have to be of limited size and data rate. Flash video formats are completely different sizes from website to website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

PS: My iPhone would be just fine as a replacement for my Netbook if I could watch streaming TV from the networks on it. This means an App Store approved portal or Flash on iPhone OS X.
post #24 of 103
It has already been reported that laptops outsold desktops. I'm pretty sure that the low cost of netbooks will only push this further. Nothing new to see here.\


that's like saying Apple should be scared because Macbook/Macbook Pros are outselling their desktops.
post #25 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Some major game titles ship 64-bit binaries (just Google it)... Does not necessarily give a performance boost, maybe a slight boost.

None of these 64-bit games are shipping on physical media. They're glorified tech demoes than require the gamer to download the binaries from the internet and are virtually unsupported. Walk into a games store and none of the games on the shelf will be 64-bit.

Quote:
Running 64-bit Windows is useful as a previous poster mentioned because you can access more than 3GB of RAM. If I have 4GB of RAM (which is very cheap nowadays) any 32bit OS is wasting my RAM.

As I've already said, modern PC games don't use more than 2.5-3GB. Anything above that is wasted for games. RAM quality is much more important. 3GB of DDR3 will outperform 6GB of DDR2 in Crysis benchmarks. Modern graphics cards use DDR5 and even 512MB of it is ample for most monitor resolutions.

For general use, more RAM is better. For gaming, anything above 3GB is currently a waste.
post #26 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

With Joost and iPlayer apps available, we know Apple has nothing against approving video streaming apps. Slingplayer is soon to come. I've seen requests for iPhone apps on Hulu.com and TV.com community boards. With the meteoric growth of mobile devices, I believe they are both working on it.

If the iPhone had Flash, the video playback would still likely be variable. The video would still have to be of limited size and data rate. Flash video formats are completely different sizes from website to website.

I'll have to check out those players, especially if iPlayer will get me Top Gear.

I really don't think Flash is the answer, merely an answer. I had to by a netbook recently. I bought a Acer Aspire One at Walmart for $300. it barely plays Hulu vids at 360p and can't smoothly play Hulu's higher0def 480p vids. Quite sad, though this should change when better GPUs arrive.
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post #27 of 103
This article seems to be a very mixed bag (full of Apples and Oranges that are being compared).

It says that processor shipments are down big time and makes it sound like the failure of Windows is at fault when it's rather obvious that the current recession has something to do with it. It then compares that downtrend to Apple (which is doing great), but doesn't Apple use these same processors? That makes no sense to me.


It goes on to talk about how one component of Apple's success is it's "refusal to sell netbooks" but this isn't really so. Apple's so called refusal to sell netbooks is really because they require a healthy margin on everything they make. It's those fatter margins on all their products that's protecting them from the recession. It's also the fact that they cater to the wealthy end of the market and don't focus on the average consumer. But then it doesn't sound so angelic when you put it that way does it?

Then the article segue's into the iPhone story as yet another reason why Apple is doing good and "resisting the netbook" with a low end entry of it's own, but the product is only "low end" because of the subsidies. The "coup" here is the fact that they have somehow developed a brand new computer platform that someone else will pay half the cost of, just to distribute for them. I mean, this is terribly smart of Apple to do this, but really it's another indication of the fact that they really *can't* compete on the low end. They are a luxury product maker that is surviving because they have huge margins on expensive merchandise. The article basically admits this in it's last section about "Macs moving upscale."

While I was happy to read the details on the poor adoption of 64 bit Windows, mixing in all that stuff at the end about how Apple is differentiating their product with faster 64 bit software and so on kind of sounds like empty promotion to me and the whole article is peppered with the same sort of stuff really. The figures quoted for windows high-end gamers would seem to indicate that the consumer doesn't care at the moment about 64 bit computing. In this sense, if Apple succeeds in changing that perception with Snow Leopard, then it's really just another marketing success isn't it? Not so much a technological triumph.

I don't really disagree with most of what's being said here, but this article strikes me as a rambling bit of confusing Apple promotion that doesn't have much to do with it's title. All that's really happening here is the recession, and Apple is surviving because they are the BMW of computers. Big, rich and catering to the segment of the market that's not feeling the recessions' pinch as much. Without separating out the effects of the recession, I think all the talk about Apple's value proposition (especially on products yet to be released), is really just fluffy speculation.
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post #28 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

"Analysts say that Intel would have to sell three times as many processors for the netbook market to make the same profit it does on the sale of a single laptop processor."

AMD plans to steer clear of profit-squeezing netbook chips

I think Intel hoped that Atom would go into hand held devices and smart phones. In the future who knows?

But now the horse is out of the barn and its going to be difficult to get it back in.
post #29 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

But how does that benefit the average user who browses the web and checks their email? It doesn't. And that's what netbooks are used for.

Because it answers this question not yours:

"Why would gamers benefit the most from a 64-bit OS? Not a single mainstream PC game ships with 64-bit binaries on the disc. It's a chicken and egg situation."

Did you even read the context?
post #30 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

It goes on to talk about how one component of Apple's success is it's "refusal to sell netbooks" but this isn't really so. Apple's so called refusal to sell netbooks is really because they require a healthy margin on everything they make.

Yes, that is the point. Apple insulated itself from cannibalization by not offering an alternative to its high margin products. Therefore no netbook and no xMac has contributed to Apple's continued profitability because OSX is a competitive advantage over cheaper windows or linux based netbooks and towers. Something that Vista based notebooks and towers don't enjoy.
post #31 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

I think this is an ominous sign for Apple.

Prince is spinning this as if Apple will be unaffected. But I have my doubts.

He's spinning it? How so? Why don't you provide some details as to how and where his arguments are overly subjective? If you don't back up your assertion then you're not contributing anything significant to the discussion.
post #32 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeysbistro View Post

I think the computer world is all just way past the point of diminishing returns. The majority of computer users just don't need to upgrade to anything. And none of the offerings by any of the manufacturers prove otherwise.

As a video editor and part time gamer, I feel like I'm one of the last people who actually cares about eeking out a little more performance out of my systems. But even then, any extra performance that I can get by upgrading my hardware or software is miniscule compared to what my systems already do! They run everything well enough.

It's no wonder Apple is shifting focus to the iPods/iPhones. At least there you have a significant growth market with a large potential for "virgin" users. In comparison, going after "computer platfom converts" might net a little profit, but the point of diminishing returns starts to rear it's head pretty fast. People just don't need to upgrade their computers, they work well enough, and there's nothing compelling to spend money on, that can't be done by current computers. Well unless you really, really, really need 64-bit facebook, email, web browsers, & ms-office.


+1 and welcome to the boards mikeybistro.

Apple is smart to start trying to capture the mobile phone and media content business because simply selling boxes and shrinkwrap software isn't going to yield massive profits. You really do have to sell the ecosystem. To date no one has been able to show they can make money on SAAS (Software As A Service) so I have my doubts that MobileMe will ever be that big with much of Googles stuff being free.

It's going to be interesting to see who's still standing in 5 years because I think we're seeing the beginning of a computing shakeout.
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post #33 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

They've already announced the free upgrade plan- buy a Vista PC after July 1, and you'll get Windows 7 for free.

As for pricing, Microsoft's retail prices have always been absurd, but their OEM prices can be very low- I think they charge $5 for the version of XP Home that goes on netbooks now. Nobody buys Windows at retail, anyway.

I hope all Mac users know to buy OEM version from Egghead at almost 50% less than retail for their Parallels and VMware. Ironic that Mac users are probably buying more stand alone Windows packs than PC users ever did. PC users get Windows on the Machine they buy and dump the box for a new one when the OS is beyond their ability to fix the software.
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post #34 of 103
I've read much of this information in other articles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

It says that processor shipments are down big time and makes it sound like the failure of Windows is at fault when it's rather obvious that the current recession has something to do with it. It then compares that downtrend to Apple (which is doing great), but doesn't Apple use these same processors? That makes no sense to me.

PC sales are already down because of the recession, add to that netobook's are hurting sales in other ways.

Netbooks are hurting Microsoft because netbooks are being sold with Linux at a higher rate than with other computer form factors.

Netbooks are hurting Intel because they are eroding more expensive PC notebook sales, where Intel sells more expensive chips.

Netbooks are hurting OEM's because they are eroding more expensive PC notebook sales.

Quote:
It goes on to talk about how one component of Apple's success is it's "refusal to sell netbooks" but this isn't really so.

Because Apple is not dependent on Windows, Apple is not forced to jump into a trend and price race with the PC OEM's. Apple can sit back and wait and see how it all works out without risking profitability.

Quote:
Then the article segue's into the iPhone story as yet another reason why Apple is doing good and "resisting the netbook" with a low end entry of it's own, but the product is only "low end" because of the subsidies. The "coup" here is the fact that they have somehow developed a brand new computer platform that someone else will pay half the cost of, just to distribute for them. I mean, this is terribly smart of Apple to do this, but really it's another indication of the fact that they really *can't* compete on the low end. They are a luxury product maker that is surviving because they have huge margins on expensive merchandise. The article basically admits this in it's last section about "Macs moving upscale."

70% Netbooks are sold in Europe. The reason for this is because they are being subsidized for 3G data service just like a phone. That is the reason netbook is being compared with the iPhone.

On top of that the fact that smartphones sold 190 million units in 2008, to the 11 million units of netbooks.
post #35 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

I think this is an ominous sign for Apple.

Prince is spinning this as if Apple will be unaffected. But I have my doubts.

He's spinning it? How so? Why don't you provide some details as to how and where his arguments are overly subjective? If you don't back up your assertion then you're not contributing anything significant to the discussion.
post #36 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


I think it is a mistake on Apple's part, but it's their business.

Netbooks are not a fad and cheap computers are going to get cheaper. I hate to sound all "640k is enough for anybody," but we've reached a point where increasing computer power benefits a decreasing number of users.

Sure, there's a large class of users that email and surf the web. At most they will want to watch tv and movies and Ion should manage that without dropped frames.

But there's also a large class of users where an Ion probably isn't quite enough.

Quote:
Apple is now the third company missing the trend big-time. Apple's focus is on making money through margins rather than volume, and that works when people can afford luxury computers. They're betting on this recession or depression or whatever it is ending soon. If that doesn't happen, Apple's computer business will be in deep trouble. Maybe then we'll see how cheap they're willing to sell a Mac.

There will always be rich people. In any case, their business model is working better than for MS and Intel.

Quote:
Nothing I've seen since I wrote that has changed my opinions.

Yes, because the grand success that MS and Intel are enjoying with the netbook indicates that Apple should dump profitability and join that bandwagon. Apple has never been a commodity maker.

Frankly, it doesn't hurt Intel as badly as folk make it out to be. They have the high end performance market and the low end market squeezing AMD in the middle. Even ARM has issues because as low price as the Atom is the ARM products are cheaper. Yes, it hurts profitability but it sure hurts their competitors more.

In some ways you can claim that Intel has captured the "high ASP/high margin" segment of the low power netbook market by invading that space before ARM grew performance into that space. We'll see in 2009 how well new ARM netbooks do in the marketplace and if a $200 low performing ARM netbook trumps a $400 Atom based netbook. They better get flash working first though...they say 3rd qtr 09.
post #37 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

As I've already said, modern PC games don't use more than 2.5-3GB. Anything above that is wasted for games.

Is that really because the games simply don't need more than 3GB, or because 32-bit software is literally unable to address more than 3GB? The game designers are restricted and have to fit within that container, and have been for some time.

Keep in mind that a 64-bit compilation of a game will be using the same design as the 32-bit version, and that design is meant to run acceptably within that 3GB limit. So a 64-bit game using only 2.5-3GB of RAM is not evidence that 64-bit is not needed.

Show me a game that was designed from the ground up for a 64-bit system, and I'll show you a game that will use more than 3GB of RAM.

Microsoft has really dropped the ball in not pushing 64-bit to the mainstream - it looks like Windows 7 still will not be there, as the 32-bit version will likely be used more frequently for compatibility.

Snow Leopard will be the first mainstream 64-bit OS, but Apple still doesn't seem to care about the (non-mobile) game space.
post #38 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Partial quote ...
I don't really disagree with most of what's being said here, but this article strikes me as a rambling bit of confusing Apple promotion that doesn't have much to do with it's title. All that's really happening here is the recession, and Apple is surviving because they are the BMW of computers. Big, rich and catering to the segment of the market that's not feeling the recessions' pinch as much. Without separating out the effects of the recession, I think all the talk about Apple's value proposition (especially on products yet to be released), is really just fluffy speculation.

You kind of gloss over the simple fact that Apple also make an OS that works very well and is a pleasure to use. Plus I disagree with your generalization about Mac users being in Bush's 1%. I know tons of friends with Macs that are hurting like hell in this economy. Intelligent buying decisions take into account not just upfront costs but the longer term costs. One friend of mine with his $400 Acer laptop is already $400 in the hole for tech help to get it running that failed, he still had to pay. I fixed it for him for free - his Kaspersky had blocked IE from connecting to the internet after an automatic update went badly wrong. It's crap like that happening all day and everyday for PC users that make Apple a better buy even if they cost a bit more up front, even for the financially strapped.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #39 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Netbooks are hurting Microsoft because netbooks are being sold with Linux at a higher rate than with other computer form factors.

True, and Linux I guess can be made okay for home use. To some degree anyway. The rate of return is higher and frankly, there are a lot of things that folks will find that they simply can't do in Linux without jumping through significant hoops.

OpenOffice != Office
GnuCash != Quicken
No TurboTax or TaxCut on Linux

These are common home programs that work just fine on a netbook running XP. And no, Wine isn't a viable alternative for the masses.

Linux is pretty much the wrong answer for netbooks (US market) except for geeks.
post #40 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by delreyjones View Post

He's spinning it? How so? Why don't you provide some details as to how and where his arguments are overly subjective? If you don't back up your assertion then you're not contributing anything significant to the discussion.

He's saying Apple are unaffected by netbook sales.

I think its a bit premature to declare this. I understand Apple's sales held up well in the most recent quarter but lets see how they do this quarter.

The Apple stores I've visited recently haven't seemed nearly as busy as they used to be.
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