Netbooks: Market falls in wake of iPad success

Posted on by Mike Evans

Netbook growth
Author: Michael Evans

For over a year before the launch of the iPad, Steve Jobs was telling the world that Apple would not join the netbook craze. At the time, Mac fans were a tad disappointed because there was huge pent-up demand for a smaller-screen computer.

Today Fortune reports on research by Morgan Stanley which demonstrates how the iPad has had a remarkable impact on netbooks and the broader gadget market. Sales of netbooks, which peaked last summer at a staggering 641% year-on-year growth rate, have fallen off a cliff this year, particularly in January at about the time the iPad was launched by Apple. Apparently 44% of US consumers who were planning to buy an iPad said they were choosing it instead of a netbook or notebook computer, with 24% saying that they had previously intended to buy a Mac notebook. 

According to Morgan Stanley 41% were  of respondents were going to buy an iPad instead of an iPod touch - clearly the biggest sufferer here - while 28% had previously intended to buy a dedicated eReader. 

IPad chart  

It is clear that for many people the form factor and ease of use of the iPad outweigh negative aspects such as lack of ports, lack of structured filing system, no multi-tasking (until OS 4 comes along next month) and the need for a mothership computer. Not everyone wants to carry around a fully fledged computer running Windows or OS X; most are happy to have web browsing, book reading, email and dedicated useful apps instead.

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