Are netbooks slowly fading away? Microsoft mentioned during its quarterly earnings call that the overall PC market contracted by about 8% in the first quarter of year, which was at least in part driven by a massive 40% decline in netbook sales.
We are not really the pessimistic type of writers here, but 40% is a pretty substantial drop. Analysts picked up that number quickly and pointed to Intel and AMD, which did not paint a similar scenario, even if the overall average selling prices (ASP) increased and a drop of netbook processor sales was apparent. Microsoft indirectly accused Intel of cheating with its charts as the company apparently removed netbook CPU sales from its ASP charts entirely and took those products out of the equation.
We have been wondering for a while whether the tablet market is complementary, whether it has the potential to kill the netbook or whether it is a phenomenon that is limited to Apple as the PC industry has yet to produce a sucessful tablet. However, if the tablet kills the netbook in the end, it would somewhat dramatic for Intel, as the netbook was really the only successful product category the company created in recent history.
Remember the UMPC? Dead. The MID? Yup, dead as well. The netbook? It's still breathing, but it needs new ideas.