updated 12:55 pm EST, Fri November 28, 2008
Intel Exec Pans Netbooks
Intel is no longer as enthusiastic as it has been regarding netbooks, company sales and marketing VP Stu Pann has said at a supply chain conference. The executive reveals that the popularity of netbooks in Western countries has been unexpected at Intel, which had only expected strong use by children and developing countries that were either better suited to the small form factor or else couldn't afford a full-size system. Many of the systems aren't well-suited to extended use by adults, he notes.
"If you've ever used a netbook and used a 10-inch screen size, it's fine for an hour," Pann says. "It's not something you're going to use day in and day out."
He adds that the components behind netbooks are "incremental" revenue for Intel rather than a core aspect of its business.
The popularity of netbooks has increasingly been regarded by Intel and notebook manufacturers themselves as a problem, according to analysts. The emphasis on a low price is known to hurt profit margins for both Intel and its computer building partners, as the Intel Atom processor costs below $30 where many Celeron M, Pentium dual-core and Core 2 chips cost multiple times more.
Pann's objection also reflects a cooler stance on netbooks by system makers like Apple, whose chief Steve Jobs has labeled netbooks a "nascent market" that might not necessarily be sustainable. He has also resisted pressure on Apple to venture into particularly low-cost computers as a whole, noting that it dilutes his brand and represents too steep a compromise. [via CNET]