What’s a nettop you ask? According to Microsoft it is an ultra-low cost desktop computer originally targeted at that same student and first timer in emerging market group as the netbooks. Microsoft had already announced an extension of the life cycle for XP for those portable devices, with some restrictions, and now is giving the same reprieve to ultra-low cost desktops. More than 20 OEMs (including many of the majors) have signed on for this and it looks like this low cost approach is gaining major market traction way beyond the initial targets.
Keep a couple of things in mind here. The market is undergoing this tremendous shift towards low cost everything, featuring devices that offer less oomph than what we have been accustomed to and cheaper price points as well. Customers have been taking note and with so much shifting towards the cloud and Internet computing, all of this is aiming for those folks who don’t want to spend a bundle on hardware, nor on software. Students? You bet. Emerging markets? You bet. Everyone else? It sure looks that way.
Think also, down the road about Microsoft Mesh. These low cost alternatives are excellent targets for that sharing platform, and of course having customers familiar with the Microsoft way of doing things can only help Microsoft’s penetration there.
The shifts we are seeing have undercut the old models and are creating new ones before our eyes as Microsoft and OEMs respond to consumer demand. The real question is where this will all end up, say one year or so down the road.