Asus Offers Proof That the iPad Hurts Netbooks

By  |  Monday, August 16, 2010 at 10:36 am

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.


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Sean Gallagher Says:

    Yeah, I'm not buying Asus' claim. I think that the iPad and netbooks are two different devices with overlapping markets, but they aren't mutually exclusive. iPads are for people who want to consume content, whereas netbooks are for people who want to consume and create content–and get some work done, maybe.

  2. JaredNewman Says:

    That last part hasn't been my experience, at least.

  3. ediedi Says:

    I agree they are different categories, but not as in create vs consume (a lot of netbooks I have seen used only for browsing and watching movies on the go – their tiny keyboards and screens make them a pain for anything else), they are different in cheap vs. expensive: the netbooks are (supposedly) very cheap notebooks, the ipad is a very expensibe ipod touch-like device.
    In fact, this is what might have killed the netbook: for just a little more, you can now get a full sized cheap laptop with a real processor and bigger screen.

  4. Tom B Says:

    Anything you can do with a Netbook, you can do better and faster with an iPad, for about the same price. I predicted this back before the iPad shipped. It's also killing the Kindle; AMZN basically has to give those away.

  5. Reece Tarbert Says:

    Better and faster with an iPad for about the same price?!? You're being sarcastic, right? RIGHT?

    I mean, wow can the iPad at $499 (or more) being a direct competitor to something at $399 (or less) when the cheaper option comes with more RAM, more disk space, a larger screen, a proper keyboard and the freedom to run pretty much whatever software you want? The mind just boggles…

    The point, as suggested by other readers, is that Asus is not doing so well for reasons of its own and the iPad makes for a very convenient scapegoat — for now.


  6. Tom B Says:

    Not being sarcastic at all; netbooks are notoriously slow. Sure, they offer more software options than iPads– for now, but that is likely to change.

  7. tribalogical Says:

    I pair an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard. My laptop rarely travels anymore. I can consume or create about 80 ~ 90% of my daily “Content I/O” using the iPad and various apps. All data syncs painlessly with my cloud storage, desktop or laptop.

    That said, my laptop is hardly replaced. I compose/produce music, video and graphic design. The laptop is still needed for high powered or CPU intensive apps like Logic, Photoshop, Final Cut etc.

    But I can communicate, write, sketch, read, browse, create wireframes, production schedules, planning, meetings, presentations, and so on using only the iPad.

    A couple of interesting notes on how it has integrated into my workflow. I rarely bring the laptop anymore for general stuff (as noted I can accomplish all my general/essential daily tasks with it).

    But when I do need the laptop, the iPad still comes with me. So now I always carry either one (iPad alone) or both. This is because when I’m using the laptop, the iPad becomes a useful satellite device: as a remote touch controller for Photoshop, Final Cut or Logic / Ableton Live, or a touchable screen extension, and so on.

    I’m still discovering ways to usefully incorporate it into my workflow, but as it is, it has more than paid for itself in myriad ways. And it’s just plain fun to use!

    Just sharing a bit of direct experience 🙂

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