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Microsoft Windows exec says iPad cannibalizing netbooks

updated 09:45 am EDT, Thu November 4, 2010

Windows exec admits iPad hurting netbook sales

Microsoft's Windows product management GM Gavriella Schuster surprised the industry with remarks that the iPad was taking away netbook sales. When asked about the trend, the division leader said netbooks were "definitely getting cannibalized" by tablets, of which the iPad is nearly the only model. Both netbooks and tablets were "and" devices that were supplements to a main computer, she stressed to Seattle's Post-Intelligencer, but this made netbooks vulnerable.

Schuster quickly qualified the remarks by pointing to Windows adoption case studies that showed the platform as still healthy. Microsoft has sold 240 million Windows 7 licenses in the past year, significantly more than any previous Windows release.

The statements nonetheless directly contradict attempts to reassure investors during Microsoft's fiscal results call, when the company insisted that it wasn't seeing a shift away from netbooks or low-end notebooks towards iPads. Most evidence so far has pointed towards Schuster's interpretation, as NPD researchers saw some buying iPads over netbooks. Best Buy recently acknowledged that netbook sales dropped by half in many of the stores where the iPad was on sale.

Other factors have been attributable to the decline of the netbook, including a lack of meaningful performance upgrades from Intel and a tough economy that has discouraged buying non-essential computing hardware, but Apple's relatively strong iPad sales have suggested at least some buyers have switched form factors. The choice could be a significant concern for Microsoft as it has no direct answer to Apple's design in the short term. Tablets using Windows 7 and Intel's Oak Trail platform aren't due until early 2011, and the more mobile Windows Embedded Compact 7 also won't arrive until the same time.

Current Windows tablets make up less than 2.2 percent of the market and have been so far shunted to the enterprise and other niche industries, including the HP Slate 500. The one-time flagship has been marginalized enough that HP has declined to give any media outlets review units.


By Electronista Staff


  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000


    Wait a few hours...

    ...and you'll see those remarks get retracted outright or "clarified" to make it look less like Apple is having any impact on Microsoft at all. Just like last time, with the Best Buy guy.

  1. MadGoat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    Please stop using Cannibalizing incorrectly

    The use "Cannibalizing" is incorrect. Much like you can't say humans are cannibalizing cows.

    One could argue that iPads could cannibalize MacBooks or iPod touches, since Apple would be eating away at itself, but not netbooks made for windows.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Oh, snap! iPad actually hurting netbook sales?

    He didn't actually confirm that the iPad is stealing netbook market share, did he? He'll definitely have to clarify that he didn't actually mean what he said. Especially after Ballmer said that the iPad had no impact at all on netbook sales. Somebody is telling lies or half-truths. Anyway, I don't think cannibalizing is the correct usage of the word. Someone else's netbooks can cannibalize another company's netbooks, but the iPad isn't a netbook. It's merely eating into netbook sales, not cannibalizing. Either way, I'm so happy that Apple is selling iPads like crazy and cutting into OEM Windows licensing. I can only imagine those millions of netbooks sitting on store shelves with cobwebs all over them and smile. Those cheap netbooks were the scourge of the computer industry because they used such cheap components. I'd figure the computer industry would be happy to get rid of them. And to think of all the pundits that claimed the netbook was the future of mobile computing. Jeez.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    240 million Windows 7 licenses

    Apple is already selling way more than 100 million osX and iOS devices per year, it won't take years before Apple (and android) passes Windows.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: Nov 2006



    I don't think she contradicted at all. All netbooks use Windows XP anyway, not Windows 7.

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