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Microsoft Makes If Official: Netbooks Don't Exist

Posted by: Peter Burrows on June 03, 2009

Well, that was quick.

Yesterday, I blogged about an interesting confrontation in the making between Microsoft and its fastest-growing Windows licensee: Acer. It’s become clear that while Acer wants to light a fire under the new Netbook category of cheap computing devices to drive volume hardware sales, Microsoft—having largely coopted this low-end market from the early Linux-based variants that dominated the market a year ago—now would rather make netbooks go away and convince consumers they are nothing more than plain old PCs, albeit with somewhat smaller screens and somewhat higher price tags. Now, given comments made by Microsoft manager Steven Guggenheim at the Computex 2009 show in Taipei today, this is the official position of the company: that the phrase netbook is meaningless.

I doubt it will be so easy to get consumers to give up on the idea of buying a device costing $200 or $300, rather than $500 or more. Once established, new low price points rarely just disappear.

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Reader Comments


June 5, 2009 04:43 AM

Microsoft, in their rush to combat Linux on netbooks, may have shot themselves in the foot. Now, consumers and OEMs know they can have a full-featured Windows OS on cheap computers.

Apple, on the other hand, is likely to introduce a netbook/tablet device running the iPhone OS. It will do a lot, for less money, but if users need a full featured OS X desktop, they will have to buy a more expensive mac notebook/desktop.

To make matters worse for Microsoft, Linux is reemerging on smartbooks/netbooks, in the form of Android & Moblin, with big names behind them (Google & Intel). These OSes are purpose-built for mobile "net"-computing and are fast, easy to use, offer long battery life & are free.


June 5, 2009 04:50 AM

What ever opinion that Microsoft says about the phrase "netbook" is meaningless.
In my non scientific way of trying to figure out the word "netbook". A "netbook" is a book sized computer to surf the internet, and do other minor word processing and the like. So what ever microsoft says about it, it is a true sized "net" "book" computer.

Let's look at "micro" "soft" name. They are microthinkers. they only think of themselves. and their product are "soft" in that very little thought goes into them. "BoB", Windows Me, their expensive non-sence commercials, Explorer, Tablet PC, Live. you get the point.
I think is time for Microsoft realize their demise against Google, Cloud computing, and opensource programers. They need to be a little more humble with their vast reserves of cash. More money behind them doesn't translate for them making better products and having a "correct" opinions. So, if the world is calling it a netbook, we don't need MS to tell us otherwise.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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