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Dell’s enterprise chief pooh-poohs netbooks

May 21, 2009

Netbooks: flavor of the month? Not according to Dell’s Steven Schuckenbrock.

The PC giant’s head of enterprise sales was quick to point out flaws in the stripped-down, no-frills mini-computers that have garnered rave reiews for their ultra-portability and anywhere-connectivity.

“Netbooks are a secondary device. The user experience of a netbook is just not as good. It’s slower than a conventional notebook computer,” Schuckenbrock said at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York.

Perhaps that’s why Dell was slow to get into a space dominated early on by aggressive Taiwanese upstarts like Asustek. Dell, the once-preminent U.S. personal computer manufacturer, which has steadily given away market share to rivals from Hewlett Packard to Lenovo, unveiled its first netbook only in September.

Schuckenbrock, however, acknowledged that the netbook was an ideal device for non-demanding consumers. “I carried one with me on the road this week to check it out. A great device. Light, easy to use. But a different performance. If I’m in my office, it’s probably not gonna work.”

Which is fine by some investors. Dell had endured criticism from the Wall Street community for appearing at times to see-saw between different and sometimes contradictory corporate strategies, from its initial tardiness in latching onto the netbook craze to its flirtation with the hand-held device market.

Comments

This was a missed chance for Dell, netbooks are not slow it all depends on what software you put on it. A netbook is ideal when you’re on the road, my netbook has an almost 8 hour battery life, a ssd and great mobile internet connectivity.

 

If you’re doing the enterprise side, you can say netbooks are not up to the task of being anything more than a blackberry with a bigger keyboard and screen.

Unless…with server based apps and cloud computing, the heavy work is done elsewhere, and your “inadequate” netbook is only used to display the results and provide a means of input. I seem to remember companies hanging onto old WIN98 workstations while newer servers actually did the work, allowing them to hang onto old hardware a bit longer.

It all comes down to the customers you’re working with and what their requirements are.

Posted by Brian Foulkrod | Report as abusive
 

I bought a netbook when my laptop died, thinking that I would be able to use it exclusively as a replacement. I did that for a few months then went back to a regular laptop. The Netbook is a great little computer to take in the car, carry in my wife’s purse etc, but it’s nowhere near a replacement for a full PC or laptop.

 

This isn’t all that suprising really – Intel are also downplaying the usability of netbooks out of fear that netbook sales will cannabalise sales of more expensive notebook computers. The fact that netbooks would serve 90% of consumers perfectly well seems to be of no consequence to the heads of marketing (who are realising a little too late that they’ve shot themselves in the foot when it comes to long term sales by jumping on the netbook bandwagon)!

 

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