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Netbooks, The Bottom, and Apple Speculation



me2MacWorld is around the corner, there are more rumors than in baseball’s Hot Stove League, and many of them are centering on whether Apple will enter the Netbook market or not. Intriguingly some of the speculation focuses on the device profit margins (or lack thereof.)

One such piece is from the AppleBlog, where they just don’t see the thin profit margins in the Netbook scene making much sense in Apple’s current milieu and think a less expensive Netbook will eat into Apple’s other more profitable lines. Makes sense if you have no vision beyond the device itself.

ComputerWorld points out some info from anaylst Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research Inc, that Mr. Gottheil himself clearly labels as speculation, makes some interesting points, speculation or no. Gottheil sees Apple’s entry into the Netbook market as something that might be tied to iTunes and the App store in a similar way that Apple has seens succcess with its locked down silo and   the iPhone and its iPod business.

That is an interesting proposition, which if it came to be, (again, speculation) could change the dynamics of the crazy Netbook scene. Think about it for a second. Netbooks are meant for low overhead Internet computing. Tie in applications and services (where you control the distribution outlet) and the low margins on the hardware could yield better margins overall on the software. Would we see others follow suit with similar App store approaches? (Can you say Google Android?) Who knows. The jury would also be out on whether customers would be content with Apple’s silo approach on this kind of device, the way they appear to be with the iPhone.

But then there is that other elephant in the room that is just getting started: Android.

Fascinating to think about the possibilities.

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