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iPad Isn't "Killing" Netbook Sales, According To Paul Thurrott 457

mantis2009 writes "Paul Thurrott, the prolific technology analyst and Windows expert, reacts strongly to an article highlighted on Slashdot. Thurrott takes numbers from IDC and the Wall Street Journal, indicating that netbook sales have not in any meaningful way been affected by sales of Apple's tablet computer, the iPad. Money quote: '[N]etbooks and sub-12-inch machines will sell 45.6 million units in 2011 and 60.3 million in 2013. If I remember the numbers from 2009, they were 10 percent of all PCs, or about 30 million units. Explain again how the iPad will beat that. Please. Even the craziest iPad sales predictions are a small percentage of that.'"
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iPad Isn't "Killing" Netbook Sales, According To Paul Thurrott

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  • Watch the messenger (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Protonk ( 599901 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @05:45PM (#32141810) Homepage
    We should note that Paul here has both a vested interest in dogging on the ipad and a long history of making hyperbolic statements about how the iPad can't or won't succeed. Also, the original graph clearly showed the growth rate changing, a flow variable, not the number of units, the stock. If the growth rate drops off and is replaced by growth in iPads, how in the world is that not a takeover? What manufacturer will net into a market where the rate of growth is much less than it was even 6 months ago.
  • by budfields ( 1663047 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @05:48PM (#32141836)

    Paul is also ignoring key issues, saying that 'he doubts' things instead of citing any data whatsoever, and tossing out a lot of vested-interest PC geek magazine predictions as if they are fact.

    Par for the course from someone whose wallet size is correlated with the performance of the PC market.

  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:02PM (#32141926) Journal

    Well, do you honestly think that iPad will sell 40 millions units a year and keep it up? I don't. Besides, iPad has been out over a month now and is still only at 1 million units, and half of those are preorders. If iPad would be killing netbooks sales, it has some catching up to do.

  • Re:1 million (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmigaMMC ( 1103025 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:08PM (#32141968)
    If you are assuming that the iPad took 25% of the netbooks market I bet you're wrong. I'm willing to bet that most of those people were not planning to buy a netbook in the first place. Maybe, I could grant that iPad owners had in mind to buy an electronic book reader, to the iPad might have taken sales away from Amazon and Sony.
  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:23PM (#32142070)

    Well, do you honestly think that iPad will sell 40 millions units a year and keep it up? I don't. Besides, iPad has been out over a month now and is still only at 1 million units

    So that's 12 million a year at that rate? Even if you account for preorders, that's probably 6 million a year. Given that the second iPhone sold literally 10 times faster than the first one, I'd be getting pretty worried as a netbook vendor.

  • by Splab ( 574204 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:29PM (#32142094)

    "Netbooks have tried to bundle with 3G but I think it is safe to say it has been fairly unsuccessful."

    I think it's fairly safe to say bullshit - might be true for your neck of the woods, but around here, bundling a 3G dongle is a big hit (EU - Denmark), in fact, such a big hit some of the big carriers are having trouble delivering the amount of bandwith needed.

  • by dirkdodgers ( 1642627 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:43PM (#32142186)

    Apple has built a robust and vibrant software ecosystem around mobile devices that has generated more excitement among consumers and developers alike than we've seen in 5 years.

    The thing that has got to be eating Microsoft execs up is that even if Microsoft entered the revived consumer tablet space tomorrow, they would be starting years behind.

    I've known a lot of microsofties over the years, most of them former; I don't think the Microsoft corporate culture today is capable of delivering successful consumer products in this space.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @07:22PM (#32142488)

    and you're likely going to see $200-$300 tablets with better specs

    Why then is the Crunchpad (sorry, JooJoo) $500?

    Before it was released, it was supposed to be $200 too... I'll believe that price point when I see it.

  • by Pentium100 ( 1240090 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @08:16PM (#32142860)

    I think flash games would run OK on a netbook. DOS games in Dosbox too.

    Anyway, one of the reasons to buy a netbook (with the OS that the main PC has) instead of the iPad is so I can "run the same types of applications as you main machine", but have them on a portable device. I want to browse the internet? OK, I can have Firefox with various extensions (noscript/abp...) installed on both devices. I want to watch a movie? OK, the same player and the same codecs on both devices, so I know that if it plays on my main PC and it is not in HD then it will also play on the portable device.

    My father has a really nice netbook - Fujitsu U810. It is small (171 x 154 x 26.5~32.0 mm, ~700g), has a 40GB hard drive, keyboard, mouse joystick and touchscreen, a slot for a SD card and a CF card or microdrive, 1 USB port, webcam, audio input/output, WiFi and Bluetooth. It probably has Infrared port too, but I'm not sure. If you connect a dongle then it also gets a VGA out and 10/100 Ethernet port. The only problem in my opinion is that the screen has low resolution - 1024x600, but since it is a small screen, it has high dpi already. You can use it as a little laptop or turn the screen around, close the lid and you'll get a tablet PC.

    I think that the Fujitsu U810 is better than the iPad.

  • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @08:30PM (#32142972) Homepage

    How is this flamebait? Seriously?

    Here is just ONE example of Thurrott and how he has no creed. []

    And there are others like: []
    Or Apple copying Microsoft? []
    Or just generally being an idiot? [] [] []

    Thurrott does not belong on Slashdot

  • by wfolta ( 603698 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:28PM (#32143558)

    Tablets are fun, show-off things that you use to waste time (though just like netbooks, they really suck for gaming). But you can actually get work done on a netbook and a good one will cost you less, too. Sorry, tablet fans, but that's how it is. They may be super cool to you and you think that you paid 500 bucks for a great thing, but you know in your heart that you paid 500 bucks for a goof-off device.

    Not unless you count ALL web browsing as a waste, most email, and perhaps reading in general. Let's see, I also have spreadsheets that I keep (and maintain) on my iPad, To Do lists, Keynote presentations (admittedly created on my Mac), a calculator, financial information programs, sketchpad, and a thousand research PDFs (Papers), and yes, games. Sure, I won't be running R on my iPad, but I can easily do my thinking and research on it... And goof-off when I need to.

    All in a convenient form-factor, free from the awkward, desktop-inspired keyboard, narrow-view screen, and short battery life of a netbook. Freedom from the desktop/laptop/netbook awkwardness is a feature.

  • by gig ( 78408 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @02:42AM (#32144978)

    The numbers look pretty grim for netbooks since the pre-iPad hype that dominated CES, and they get worse after the iPad introduction and worse again after the iPad shipped. But even so, I wasn't really sure that iPad was killing the netbook until Thurrott said it's not.

    Thurrott was pro-tablet right up until Apple reinvented the tablet. Now he will be anti-tablet right up until Microsoft has an iPad copy for him to promote.

    The guy is paid by Microsoft and Dell and has no credibility.

    He whined and whined and whined about iPhone v1 and v2 not having "such a basic feature" as Copy/Paste and multitasking of 3rd party applications. Then when Microsoft announced they were killing Windows Mobile in 2009 and would be back in 2011 with "Windows Phone 7" which would lack both Copy/Paste and multitasking of 3rd party applications, Thurrott cheered them. So, keeping score: not having Copy/Paste in 2007-2008 during your first 2 years in the phone market is just totally inexcusable, while removing Copy/Paste in 2011 in your 10th year in the phone market is just fine, no biggie.

    He also said of Steve Jobs' "Thoughts on Flash" that "he can't disagree more" with it. That shows Thurrott knows nothing about mobiles, where there is no FlashPlayer at all, and nothing about the consumer market, where vendor neutral standardized audio video is not just the norm, it's a religion.

    To the actual issue of tablet versus netbook: it's clear that perceptions of the tablet and netbook have been changed, same as iPhone versus the smartphones of 2007. A month ago, HP released an HP Slate teaser video, then just recently they bought Palm and we hear the Slate has been canceled because Windows 7 is apparently not a mobile OS. (You don't say!?) Compared to a netbook, iPad is half the size, half the weight, double the battery life, and 1000 times sexier. It makes a netbook look like a pocket protector. Half the size and weight and double the battery life ... that just can't be argued with. Even with a small Bluetooth keyboard added, iPad is still much more mobile than a netbook. And you can use a 100% scale Bluetooth keyboard and get real typing done.

    The netbook had fatal flaws anyway. If you're going to have a keyboard, make it 100% scale. Every PC maker CEO spoke out against netbooks, even when they were most popular. So it would actually be surprising if we could have this Year Of The Tablet in 2010 and not see the netbook be very much affected. Walt Mossberg said iPad replaced 80% of his notebook use in the first week, so where does that leave a netbook? He's a techie. For consumers it is even worse, they are finding iPad replaces 95% of their Mac/PC use.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @03:56AM (#32145216)

    Like any marketing checklist comparison, you only include items which your preferred solution has, and miss out all the features that the competitor has that you product doesn't. And then you make errors on top.

    First the errors.
    1) Yes you can dump your camera on to it.
    2) Yes you can plug a real keyboard into it.
    3) Both products are connectible to VGA and HDMI monitors.

    Now some of the omissions.

    iPad has a touch screen - HP Netbook does not.
    iPad has built in GPS - HP Netbook does not.
    iPad has built in 3G cellular data - HP Netbook does not.
    iPad is usable in portrait mode - HP Netbook is not (try typing).
    iPad has a battery life of 10 hours - HP Netbook does not (3 hours).
    iPad weighs only 1.6 lbs - HP Netbook is twice the weight.
    iPad is thin - HP Netbook is twice as fat.
    iPad is immune to viruses - HP Netbook is not.

    And one clarification. Whilst the iPad doesn't multitask 3rd party applications now, it does in OS 4.0 which is out next month.

    Why would anyone want an iPad? Because they like the way their iPhone works, and hate the way their PCs work. But they want something with a larger screen than the iPhone for some tasks.

  • by jfanning ( 35979 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @09:55AM (#32146594) Homepage

    He also said of Steve Jobs' "Thoughts on Flash" that "he can't disagree more" with it. That shows Thurrott knows nothing about mobiles, where there is no FlashPlayer at all, and nothing about the consumer market, where vendor neutral standardized audio video is not just the norm, it's a religion.

    Actually I think you misrepresented Paul's statements on just about everything there. But in any case you show your ignorance with this statement.

    Flash exists on pretty much every Nokia Symbian based smartphone in existence. So that means at least 40% of all smartphones have Flash Mobile. The Nokia tablet range including the N900 phone include full Flash, and it works perfectly fine.

    Jobs just has a vendetta against Adobe. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @12:38PM (#32147768)
    People have been claiming netbook sales were going to decrease for like two years now. This is due to several factors, mostly unrelated to the iPad. Windows 7 is more of a resource hog than Linux, so you have to include HDDs instead of SDDs (HDDs use more energy), use cheaper hardware components to defray OS costs, plus there is a high performance differential between a low end Intel Core 2 Ultra Low Voltage processor versus an Intel Atom processor, while cost is nearly the same. Intel needs to revamp their Intel Atom processor line, however they are not very interested in doing it because it competes with their higher margin products. Yet as GPUs are moved in core, power consumption will be lowered across all X86 devices, regardless of Intel Atom improvements.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"