Whether Apple’s iPad is killing netbooks remains a touchy subject, but Asus has added fuel to the fire by lowering its netbook shipments for next quarter.
According to DigiTimes, Asus president and chief executive Jerry Shen acknowledged that the iPad was cutting into netbook sales, which fell short of expectations last quarter. At a conference for investors, Shen reminded the audience that Asus is working on its own tablet and e-reader, but said the company will continue offer the Eee PC netbook line.
There is at least some other proof that the iPad is hurting netbooks. A Morgan Stanley/Alphawise study conducted in May showed that 44 percent of U.S. consumers who planned to buy an iPad were doing so in lieu of a netbook or notebook PC. And why not? Between smartphones and PCs, there might be room for a third device, but four is a stretch, especially when tablets and netbooks overlap in their ability to check e-mail and surf the web. That doesn’t mean the iPad is killing netbooks, it just means consumers will make a choice, which explains why hardware makers besides Apple are trying to push out their own tablets.
Still, I’m taking Shen’s claims about his company’s netbook performance with a grain of salt. Keep in mind that Asus lost netbook market share between 2008 and 2009, and could lose its second place standing behind Acer with strong netbook sales expected of Samsung. Even before the iPad launched, Asus was already seeing flat-to-meager increases in netbook sales. Meanwhile, iSuppli expects overall netbook sales to grow by 30 percent this year.
In other words, Apple’s tablet makes a good scapegoat.