Should Apple be blamed for a decline in netbook sales across the industry? Asus President and CEO Jerry Shen seems to think so.
At an Asus investors’ conference on August 13th, Shen blamed Apple’s popular iPad tablet for his company’s lower-than-expected second quarter earnings. Also, as a result of the decrease in sales, the company is planning on scaling back third quarter netbook shipments.
“Because of decreased shipments of motherboards, notebooks and netbooks, Asustek’s financial performance for the second quarter declined on quarter. Asustek will continue to offer Eee PCs and will step into the tablet PC segment with its Eee Note and Eee Pad series,” Shen said regarding the company’s future plans.
Along with several other manufacturers, Asus will be stepping into the tablet PC market this Fall. The 8.9” Eee Note will be their first to debut in October with a $199-$299 price tag and a Linux OS. The larger Eee Pads will likely launch in early 2011 with a 10” Android model for $399 and a 12” Windows 7 model for $1000.
Shen’s claims about Apple stealing netbook shoppers are nothing new. As we reported back in May, a consumer electronics poll by an independent firm showed that 30% of prospective netbook customers decided to buy an iPad instead. A second poll by the same firm showed that 78% of consumers polled were leaning toward purchasing an iPad while only 22% were considering netbooks instead.
Industry analysts are only expecting the market to get worse for netbook manufacturers. In April of 2010 year-over-year sales for netbooks dropped 13 percent, and were expected to continue to decline through 2012 as tablets become more prominent.
Even with all the experts’ predictions, the actual performance of these products will depend upon the pricing and quality that manufacturer’s offer compared to the needs of consumers and what they want to pay. Just because Asus is entering the tablet market doesn’t mean that they’ll regain their share back from Apple. The iPad has been a unique and easy-to-use offering for the right price. Whether manufacturers like Asus will be able to put out a strong iPad competitor will remain to be seen.