Netbook Industry—Doomed to its End

Samsung N145 Plus running Windows 7 | Wikipedia

Samsung N145 Plus running Windows 7 | Wikipedia

The PC industry may be seeing a bigger decline because of mobile devices, but global information company Information Handling Services, Inc. also predicts that one particular segment will be dead in two years. And that death is primarily caused by Apple’s iPad.

Blame it on Apple’s iPad

Netbooks were designed in hopes to bridge the gap between mobile devices and the traditional PC. It gained traction in 2010, shipping 32.14 million units, but it was also the same year when Apple introduced the first iPad. Since then, the netbook category encountered a rapid decline.

The Cupertino-based company’s bestselling tablet has come to the frontline when the PC industry was struggling. Consumers eventually opted for smartphones and tablets over traditional PCs. As Apple CEO Tim Cook puts it, the iPad has been the foster child of the post-PC revolution. In fact, the device accounts for one in every six shipped computers.

Moreover, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs dismissed the netbook segment as an incomplete device, which doesn’t deliver consumers’ needs.

The problem is: netbooks aren’t better at anything. They’re slow, they have low-quality displays, and they run clunky, old PC software. We don’t think they’re a third-category device.

Netbooks: Coming to an End by 2015

In relation to this, IHS iSuppli released a new report, saying that netbook shipments will only be a bit over 10 percent of the total units shipped in 2010. That is a 72 percent drop from last year’s shipments.

The company also predicts that the netbook segment will move just 264,000 units by 2014, and it will be dead by 2015. According to IHS analyst Craig Stice:

Netbooks shot to popularity immediately after launch because they were optimized for low cost, delivering what many consumers believed as acceptable computer performance. However, netbooks began their descent into oblivion with the introduction in 2010 of Apple’s iPad.

Before iPad was introduced in the market, analysts and industry pundits thought that Apple would release its own competing device. However, Jobs repeatedly dismissed the segment, saying that it is not their area of interest. But they eventually responded by releasing the iPad in 2010.


With the rise of mobile devices that can now function as a computer on-the-go, do you also see netbooks coming to an end in the immediate future?

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