updated 10:50 am EDT, Tue August 31, 2010
Gartner sees users dropping netbooks in droves
Netbook market share is likely to keep falling over the next few years due in part to tablets, Gartner found today. It noted that the tiny portables not only lost market share in the first two quarters of 2010 but predicted that the category was on a long slide that would drop it to just 10 percent by the end of 2014. Analyst Raphael Vasquez explained that many were simply buying them as cheap notebooks and no longer have interest now that a full-size notebook doesn't cost much more.
"The recent decline in [netbooks]' share of the mobile PC market reflects a general realization among buyers that [netbooks] are less-than-perfect substitutes for standard low-end laptops," he said.
Researchers didn't give a large amount of credit to the iPad hurting netbook sales as its $499 minimum price has partly put it out of contention, but they acknowledged that cost was likely one of the only factors keeping Apple's tablet from having a deeper impact. Gartner has declined to count tablets with mobile operating systems as full computers, but a cheaper iPad and clone tablets should have a deeper effect over time.
Whether nor not the impact is as soft as interpreted has been called into doubt, since ASUS has reportedly been accounting for the iPad factor in lowering its Eee PC shipments at a time when sales are supposed to be reaching their peak.
In computers as a whole, the group dropped its estimate for growth in the second half of the year down about two percent to 15.3 percent as renewed doubts about the American and European economies might curb spending. Intel's warning of low computer sales was a sign that at least home PC buyers were reluctant to buy in. The analysts didn't expect as much of a slump as last year, in part because computers were more essential but also because corporate buyers now have virtually no choice but to buy.