Apple and the netbook question

April 23, 2009

Given the phenomenal success of netbooks — small, cheap, lower-performance PCs — everybody wants to know what plans Apple, the only major PC player that doesn’t have a netbook offering, might have for the space. Netbooks are one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak PC landscape.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs openly dismissed netbooks.  And when the company was asked again asked about them on the conference call following its quarterly results Wednesday, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook sounded similarly unimpressed. Current netbooks, he said, suffer from “cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware.”

“Not something that we would put the Mac brand on, quite frankly. And so, it is not a space as it exists today, that we’re interested in. Nor do we believe that customers in the long-term would be interested in. It is a segment we would choose not to play in.”

Cook continued: “We do look at the space and are interested to see how customers respond to it. People that want a small computer, so to speak, that does browsing and e-mail might want to buy an iPod Touch or they might want to buy an iPhone. So, we have other products to accomplish some of what people are buying netbooks for. So, in that particular way, we play on an indirect basis.”

And finally: “Then, of course, if we find a way where we can deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution, then we’ll do that. We have some interesting ideas in the space.”

Apple is widely rumored to be developing some sort of small touchscreen PC or similar device.


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Sure and when the specs, processing power, memory, features, weight, and twice the battery life as a mac book air are compared – it’s a piece of junk.

So basically when you pay 1800 for the same features as a netbook, its not a piece if junk?!

Talk about envy…
Tim cook could not possibly more hypocritical!

Posted by Jabberwolf | Report as abusive

apple has a netbook already – it’s called the iphone ! as i sit with only one arm freely available three days a week on dialysis, i can do almost anything i do on my macbook pro – the biggest thing i can’t is play flash videos.

Posted by chris b | Report as abusive

“… i can do almost anything i do on my macbook pro – the biggest thing i can’t is play flash videos.”

You should be able to play flash videos on the Palm Pre. Stay tuned!

Posted by finid | Report as abusive

Adobe is working on flash player for iphone/itouch

Posted by Rick Faaberg | Report as abusive

I am a student and have my laptop on me all the time for notes in class.I have a macbook right now and I’d rather go to a netbook like a HP Mini or Dell’s equivalent. They are small, portable devices great for school. I can’t take notes on a iPhone faster than a netbook.

Cook’s opinion that netbooks are junk is ridiculuos, people who want more power than an iPhone are going to go for a netbook. Apple is being a “high and mighty” coy in the sense that they have already looked at it and have something in the works. The time isn’t right to release the word on the street.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Well well, the touch,. Considering it to be your ‘best’to answer the netbook segment product, I have killed 3 in a space of 1 year due to your hardware problems, I gotta squint my eyes to view basic websites, can’t play my simple Football Manager on it, let alone some says flash games, oh, and not forgetting hanging device as well to boot. Does the almost same or more expensive price-tag for your device counts when I can have 160GB of storage space with a netbook? Sad to me.

Posted by Berfie | Report as abusive

I think my netbook is a blessing, especially on the road, it has 6 hours plus battery life, it’s less than a kilo, it’s fast and it’s cheap. I think Apple makes a mistake by neglecting this market, a year ago you hardly saw any netbooks and now you see them everywhere.

Posted by Nikkei 225 | Report as abusive

I have always fancied a mac, but when they are twice the price of a pc I have never been able to justify buying one. I have recently had some success with Linux on an old laptop & discovered that you can put OSX on a netbook via the “hackintosh” community. I now have an MSI (Advent 4211) netbook running OSX & am becoming a convert. Might be a way to gain more customers like me Apple ?

Posted by Mike – Thames Valley | Report as abusive