Netbooks Are Causing the PC Industry to Change, And It’s a Good Thing!

Perusing the web recently led me to this article in the NY Times and this blog post from the LA Times. Both articles, in different words, basically say that Netbooks are breaking the PC industry.

Why would rapidly selling stripped down laptops cause harm to the PC industry? Because the PC industry is driven by big software firms (mostly Microsoft) coming out with new software and pushing consumers towards it, driving the sale of newer hardware.

Netbooks represent a model opposite of this. This is because Netbooks either run Linux (a free operating system) or XP Home, a version of the Windows XP operating system that is 6-7 years old and doesn’t have a high profit margin for Microsoft, such as Windows Vista.

A brief little related side story. My mother-in-law, a few months back, provided me a window into why Netbooks are so popular. She said, “for the longest time, we’ve had to buy these expensive computers that are great for some people, but all I want to do is get online (the web) and check my email. Finally, with netbooks, the rest of us computer users are getting exactly what we need: inexpensive laptops that are tailored to the way we use computers”.

So there you have it – a mass audience is finally getting the type of hardware and software they need. Why is this bad for the PC industry? It seems to me that the PC industry just needs to adapt to the new business model and figure out how to tailor their products for the new usage model that has emerged.