The rise and rise of the Netbook

NetBooks now account for 10 per cent of all PC sales. That’s having a serious impact on Certain Monopolists, as this NYT report suggests.

In its last quarter, Microsoft posted the first sales decline in its history for the PC version of Windows. It blamed netbooks for the drop. On average, Microsoft charges computer makers $73 for Windows Vista, the version of Windows used in desktop and high-powered laptop PCs. That is triple what it receives for a sale of Windows XP for a netbook.

For Intel, the Atom chips represent lower-profit products, which could turn into a major sore spot if consumers become comfortable with netbooks and start to view them as replacements for standard computers.

In his recent report, Mr. Sacconaghi speculated that 50 percent of consumers could get by with an Atom-based computer for their everyday tasks. PC makers like H.P., Acer and Dell, which face razor-thin profit margins selling laptops, could use the rising competition to place more price pressure on both Microsoft and Intel, Mr. Sacconaghi said…