Apple trashes netbooks

Steve Jobs’ stand-in, Tim Cook, has launched a vitriolic attack on netbooks, as Apple announced bumper profits.

Apple trashes netbooks

Read our first impressions of Toshiba’s far-from-junky new netbook, the Mini NB200

Netbooks are the one growth market in a slumping PC industry, but the Apple chief operating officer isn’t impressed by what he sees.

“When I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens – it’s just not something we would put the Mac brand on,” Cook said.

However, he did leave the door open for an Apple entry into the market. “If we find a way where we can deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution, then we’ll do that,” he added.

Apple is certainly in no dire need to enter the low-margin netbook market, having announced profits that soared past analysts’ expectations. Net income climbed by 15% to $1.21 billion in the second quarter, while sales grew 8.7% to just over $8 billion.

The company sold 3.79 million iPhones in the quarter – double the amount it sold in the same quarter last year. And with third-generation hardware expected to be announced in the summer, Apple can probably expect a healthy boost to those sales figures later in the year.

iPod sales also grew by 3% to 11 million, with the iPod touch responsible for a significant proportion of that growth.

Computer sales were predictably down, although the 3% decline is far better than the industry average of around 10%.

Apple is understandably pleased with the results, which come despite the uncertainty surrounding Steve Jobs’ long-term future with the company. “I think in a better economy our sales certainly would have been higher but… we have just reported the best non-holiday quarter in Apple’s history despite the economy that we find ourselves in,” chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told Reuters.

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