Dell: netbook fad wears off within hours

Michael Dell has launched a withering attack on netbooks, claiming the appeal of the mini-laptops wears off within hours.

Dell: netbook fad wears off within hours

Dell was one of the last PC manufacturers to enter the netbook market, and only launched a device after rivals such as Acer and Asus had enjoyed considerable sales success.

Yet, despite the popularity of netbooks – which now account for more than a fifth of consumer PC sales – the Dell boss remains unconvinced.

“If you take a user who’s used to a 14 or 15in notebook and you say ‘Here’s a 10in netbook,’ they’re gonna say ‘Hey, this is so fantastic. It’s so cute. It’s so light. I love it,'” Dell said, during an appearance at Silicon Valley’s Churchill Club, according to a report on The Register.

“But about 36 hours later, they’re saying ‘The screen’s gonna have to go. Give me my 15in screen back.'”

The attack is all the more extraordinary, given that the company has only recently revamped its netbook line-up with the Dell Inspiron Mini 10v. But the Dell boss claims customer satisfaction with the mini laptops is well below par. “We see a fair amount of customer not really being that satisfied with the smaller screen and the lower performance – unless it’s like a secondary machine or it’s a very first machine and the expectations are low.

“But as a replacement machine for an experienced user, it’s not what we’d recommend. It’s not a good experience, and we don’t see users very happy with those.”

Dell did concede that netbooks were well suited to markets such as education, which the company is attacking with its Latitude 2100. “Sales have been many times what we thought,” Dell claims. “Schools just love ’em. It fits their applications perfectly. But as a general purpose notebook, it’s not really a great solution.”

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