BBG has an interesting bit about how netbooks nicked 20% off of standard laptop revenue even though there was a 1% increase in revenue. Why? Because foolish laptop manufacturers have been gunning for that sub-$999 price point for years now and now that they finally hit it they can’t bring it back up to sane levels thanks to sub-$500 netbooks.
When I worked at Laptop Magazine a few years ago, all the rage was sub-$1000 laptops. Everyone was talking about it and expecting a new renaissance of sales thanks to these Wal-mart notebooks. Sadly, they did too good a job. By selling low-cost, low-power notebooks, they basically cannabilzed their “big notebook” sales by convincing folks that once they had one laptop, they didn’t need another one.
Think about it: you have a year or two-year-old Dell. It runs XP Home. All is well. Then you think I’d like to upgrade and look for a laptop. A few netbooks out there actually run Vista fairly well, you buy one for $600 – half the price of the Dell – and ignore all the power limitations. You get a wonky little machine that barely runs Vista but seems to do everything you need it to do. You’re mildly miffed and can’t afford anything better so you’re stuck until next year. The manufacturers shot themselves in the foot.