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back to article Apple loses students to netbooks and Windows

When US students return to their classrooms this fall, few of them will be lugging along new Apple notebooks. That's the conclusion reached by a small survey conducted recently by consumer-electronics ecommerce website Retrevo. Of the 300-plus students surved by Retrevo, 34 percent of laptop buyers will purchase netbooks, and …

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Headmaster

er

"Very small screens" - not like the iphone then?

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Anonymous Coward

Gimme a break

A survey of a whole 300? What a joke.

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Bronze badge

Context...?

Just for context, does anyone have similar figures for actual student laptop sales in the run-up to school from last year?

At a projected 17% of the student laptop market, is this significantly down for that market, year-on-year?

I did a(n admittedly) quick search on El Reg but couldn't find anything, offhand.

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Go

could it be?

Peoples are starting to smart up and realise that Apple is pure oveprice crap!

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This seems pretty much normal

Apple has a pretty long policy of simply not caring whether it seriously competes with anything else on the market, though, at least when it comes to computers. Their pricing structure obviously reflects making more per box rather than more boxes total, and their target demographic has never been what they might think of as "the lowest common denominator." Apple appears genuinely not to want a huge market share, end of story. I wouldn't call that hubris, just an unusual business model.

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Jobs Horns

Apple has always been our-way-or-the-highway

And sometimes they hit a really good product (Apple][, original Mac, iPhone), or just have good/lucky marketing for an also-ran product (iPod) and do very nicely thank you. But they have long-since abandoned the institutional/education environments - they will still sell us the kit, but it is wholly unsuited for big, mixed, managed environments and it isn't worth Apple's time to fix that (they are a business, not a charity, and supporting niche clients is not profitable, so I see their point even if it doesn't help my user base).

Apple is more a CE company these days. A quite successful one, so good on them, I guess. But I am in the market for a cheap netbook: I /want/ a small screen and keyboard for out-and-about -- I have a 27" monitor on my quad-core desktop for the heavy work.

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Netbooks can do almost anything

For a student or even office worker, a netbook can do almost anything. I have XP on Acer 150 with Office 2007 so I can work on almost any kind of document needed. I even have Visual Studio 2008 installed and it works perfectly fine for doing software development.

For entertainment, I can easily play any mpeg4/divx/xvid file without any problems. You can hook up external speakers easily enough if you'd like some good volume. Or, get a USB sound card if you want good stereo. The only time I ever see a stutter is if I'm trying to play over wireless. The hard drive (160gb) is large enough to put all my music and favorite videos on. And if I want more space, I can always attach external drives.

If I want to sit down and do some real work, I can very quickly plug in a USB keyboard/mouse and a 24" monitor. Close the lid on the netbook and work as if it's a desktop. The 1.66Ghz Atom processor in this thing is still faster than the last Dell laptop I had from work.

Apple really missed the boat on this one. There is no reason a student shouldn't get a netbook instead. Mine was only $400CDN and the best purchase I ever made.

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Netbook schmetbook

Early in the year we bought a 'netbook' (the now defunt Dell Mini 12) as we couldn't afford a MacBook at the time. Well what a stupid call that was. The Dell is so freakin slow that it's now gathering dust in the corner. Stupid Atoms. Shoulda got a MacBook with a processor that can actually do stuff.

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Ty
Jobs Halo

lol

You guys.

It's a SURVEY! Of 300 people! lol

Wait for the real figures you numbskulls.

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Coffee/keyboard

The iphone is Apple's netbook

Every other kid has one, or an ipod touch, and it lets you do email, web, facebook et al, without the school/uni firewall blocking you. (The silly Flash embargo is a pain). Iphone costs the same as a netbook, but the margins are higher and it IS a neat bit of technology to have in your pocket ALL the time. For note taking, you can record the lecture and take pix of things too.

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Happy

And so that kind of thing I think many people will not be happy with

ah - but many will, cause they want small over all. I have a powerbook and an iMac. And a Netbook. And one day I might even put OSX on it - apparently there are quite a few people who have already and love them!

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FAIL

...yeah right.

...and all the students will be wearing brogues and will dress in clothes handed down from their uncle. Oh wait, I forgot - students have more money than sense and are more likely to buy something just because of the label than any other group in society. Logic FAIL.

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Anonymous Coward

Strategy

When I was a student back in the early part of this decade, Microsoft UK gave us Computer Scientists a free copy of Windows XP - which I'm still using (because Vista causes retching and diarrhoea). Did it help me buy Microsoft products? Did it hell. But it did help me along the path of more ... "genuine" software than poor students often use.

Would it work if Apple did the same thing with Mac OS? As a non-Mac user, I actually think it would work better, and more people would convert to Apple. But, then, they'd still need to buy Apple hardware to run it.

And therein lies a major stumbling block.

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Stop

Results of Another Tiny Survey....

In a survey of 1 person, the following results were obtained:

plan to buy Windows laptop: 0%

plan to buy Mac laptop: 0%

plan to buy Linux-based laptop: 0%

plan to buy Windows desktop: 0%

plan to buy Mac desktop: 0%

plan to buy Linux-based desktop: 0%

plan to buy netbook (any OS): 0%

plan to buy tablet (any OS): 0%

plan to buy other computing device: 0%

Conclusion: computers are on the way out and the industry will evaporate in 2 years.

The above is about as meaningful as the Retrevo study. 300 people is not enough to cover a variety of universities/schools/colleges, age groups, educational field, affluence, geographical location, etc. Such surveys are the marketing equivalent of pseudo-science: bunkum at best and dangerous at worst.

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rho
Jobs Halo

Revive the Duo!

Yeah, not likely, but the Powerbook Duo was a really awesome setup. Expensive, sure, but all Macs were spendy then.

Not that that would fix the issue, which is cost. A MacDuo and a Dock would be at least as spendy as a Macbook. But I sure would dig it.

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Troll

And the prize for pointing out the bleeding obvious goes to...

this survey for announcing that people with less money than a product costs are less likely to buy that product.

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Silver badge

Lucky they dropped 'computer' from the name?

Just as Apple without the Apple 2 was once unimaginable, I think they'd do fine without the Mac. Makes me wonder: how much happier would people that despise the company be if they had no OS, no computers and focussed on making their Windows software half decent? Jobs may have a 20+ year history with the NextStep stuff, but he's also shown himself to be pragmatic to the point of ruthless.

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FAIL

I tell you what...

... we wait to the end of the quarter and then see how Apple have done.

Last quarter we had Microsoft bosses doing cartwheels in the corridors because of how well their Laptop Hunter ads were doing. And then we got the figures. Microsoft sales right down. Apple sales through the roof.

August is the silly season and a survey of 300 people seems to get massive traction. It will, of course, be long forgotten when the actual figures hit.

Oh and dave93, yes the ipod touch and the iphone is Apple's netbook and the current student offer running here in the States gives you an iPod touch when you buy an Apple Laptop. Two machines for the price of one.

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FAIL

Most used computers are slower than netbooks.

A lot of people are using 3-6 year old computers running Windows XP with maybe 512 MB of ram and a 40-80GB HD.

Why because they don't play games, they don't edit video and it does everything they need it to do.

I helped a friend pick out a ASUS EEE PC 1005HA. When its on her desk its hooked up to full sized, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speaker and its about twice as fast as the old computer it replaced. Mobile you can watch full screen streaming video for over 6 hours or take notes for over 10.

If I was going to school I'd buy one of these in a heart beat so I didn't have to lug around my 13" Macbook.

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Changing demographics

When I were a lad, back in the early 90s, the only students who could afford computers were well-off enough to buy a Mac. Macs were trendy amongst the rich students and many Universities had largely Mac based computer labs.

Today, Windows based laptops are so cheap that many more students can afford them, but the Mac equivalent is still pricey. I imagine the same type of student who bought Macs 10 to 15 years ago are still buying them in the same numbers.

It's not really a change in attitudes to Apple computers - just a change in the demographic of the average laptop buyer.

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Pint

@OkKTY8KK5U

Actually what I think they care about is making $. They seem to do this very well with ~3 (or 5) % of the market.

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@Antidisestablishmentarianist

Are you the kind of person that would buy a Pinto and expects it to handle as well, look, and drive as fast as a Ferrari?

I will admit Atoms are not too good unless you have at LEAST 2 gigs of ram.

Also when you buy Dell (or ANY manufacturer for that matter) if you didn't know it the first thing you do is erase all partitions and reinstall windows from scratch because Dell likes to put a ton of garbage that you do not need, and will probably never use on them that hogs all the memory and processor cycles. My sister owns the same dell model as you have, I installed Xp on it myself, and she has never complained once about it being slow but then she also knew what to expect.

I also own 2 atom desktop boards Ones a original atom that I use as a low power NAS, web, and mail server that has a light load. And the other is a dual core that I use for a multimedia PC that can play videos at 720p resolution and under(that I've tried).

and ZenCoder I agree most people that ask me what they should buy I usually tell them get a atom based netbook or desktop seeing they use it mainly for E-mail, light web browsing, and word processing.

and as a side note most students buy windows laptops due to their colleges and universities not supporting mac, and linux on their network so its windows XP or no connection.

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Silver badge

@This seems pretty much normal

Apple are mostly afraid of competing with Apple. They don't want somebody buying a $500 Apple netbook instead of a $1500 Apple notebook, somebody buying a Windows netbook instead of a Widnows notebook helps them - anything that makes MS looks bad.

As to the 'we can't build it for $500'. They could buy a Dell mini 9 or 10 for $200-250 retail, put a sticker over the Dell logo, pay $130 for Leopard and download hackintosh - and still have a $170 profit.

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Anonymous Coward

NOT Interested

Jobs once said the same about selling iPods without screens (shuffle/nano). Hummmm?

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FAIL

sample size of 300

OK, so some idiot runs a story based on a sample of select students in a select area regarding what they do or don't intend to go back to school with, and they come up with NET BOOK? OK, the notebooks don't even come CLOSE to meeting the requirements provided by most universities in the first place, and I know of no school listing a NetBook as an acceptable machine for any incoming freshman class. As if that alone was not a clue, IT WAS A SAMPLE SAIZE OF 300! That would be an invalid sample size even if the article was about the incoming class of a SINGLE university, and has no potential bearing on the habits of actual people going to schools.

The average notebook price purchase for a generic person is an under $700 machine, students average price is several hundred dollars more. University laptop requirements are typically significantly inflated, require the business (pro) operating system, not home or basic, and are typically intended to be machines that will actually last the full 4 years of a student;s career in college.

For reference, please see Clemson University IT support statement, about halfway down the page, regarding netbooks:

http://www.clemson.edu/ccit/hardware_software/hardware/purchasing/index.html

If you show up with a netbook, University IT staff will likely send you away without allowing your machine on their network, and without access to required campus resources.

I found a similar statement at USC, Hofstra, SUNY, Furman, MIT, Miami, and more in quick searches. Students coming in to school are requires to purchase supported notebooks as most universities. At every one I checked, MULTIPLE Mac models were listed, most had 1 or 2 dell options, some required you to order preconfigured machines with university specific pre-installed OS images!

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RA

Just wait till the "smartbooks" arrive

If Apple's having trouble already with netbooks, just wait until "smartbooks" hit the market around year-end, with all-day battery life, HD multimedia and 3G cellular connectivity.

For more on smartbooks, check out:

http://smartbookblog.com/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/alert_32.png

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You are all idiots

El Reg commenters are all tards.

I am really mad! Every BMW is way too expensive. All other cars have four wheels why do they keeps selling theirs for so much money? What a bad business model! I'm going to buy a Ford or a Dodge they are way less expensive even if they aren't BMW. In fact I think I'll make a commercial where I take a teenage girl and her mom and go to a bunch of different car lots like Toyota, BMW and Honda and then good old GM and choose a nice cheap Pontiac and gloat about how much money I save "seems like a lot of money just for the brand."

Fucktards.

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Old Computers

We refurbish a ton of old 1Ghz, 512MB ram machines into Ubuntu machines. I just want to know why the bleedin hell all these students are being led astray into buying slow, old, crippled windows netbooks and not fast, efficient, complete and competent Ubuntu netbooks.

tut, tut, netbook makers.

As for Apple? Irrelevant.

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Happy

Another Apple-Hater Bait Article

I would be more concerned with all the time futzing with a laptop steals from actually learning something.

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Troll

@David Walker

Thank you for sounding off in the general direction of El Regs' readership. I rather enjoyed the statement of obviousness regarding the purchase of computers is akin to automobiles.

*takes Captain Obvious bars and applies to left breast of jacket*

And surely someone of your calibre can surely understand that we are all elitist about our chosen platform/s for which we play, work, and relax in front of. Now I please request that if you are to poke fun at us for arguing over a survey that is lacking at best in scientific basis you please find something more creative than F*cktard. What about sniveling twits, or perhaps snobby snobertons, or the steve jobs resistance front. please keep those in mind for future flame wars

Ta

/Troll

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Linux

How is this different

than any other back to school period? Students generally do not have the $$ to make premium purchases of the fruity variety. I have a Dell 10V that runs Windows XP, Ubuntu 9.10 NBR, and... oh yeah, Mac OSX 10.5

This is the best machine I've owned. Best of all three worlds!

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FAIL

pointless exercise in bullshitting for publicity

"At a time when many people are experiencing economic hardship, having a new Apple laptop isn’t a necessity"

You know what, that's spot on! In fact, I would rather replace my Apple desktop instead of getting a new Apple laptop. And why is that? Because I already have an Apple laptop that absolutely gets the job done for me and will continue to do so for a while. But then I'm not a student, do I count at all? No? Did you really need a "survey" to see that folks on a restrictive budget, regardless of whether they are students or not, will in most cases tend to get something that fills their needs on that budget instead of opting for a premium brand product? Me neither.

Face it, this is nothing but pointless drivel looking for the attention of fanboys of all convictions.

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JB
Happy

What?

spokesfolks?? Is this another El Regism?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Michael C

wow, ""Netbooks" are not a viable option as your primary laptop." no reason given, but hey it's a university so they must be right, right?

I wonder how much dell and co paid them, and how much commission they get when someone buys a laptop throught their referal schemes.

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Anonymous Coward

The customer is NOT always right, and you don't get that.

You commented in your article:

All well and good, but it appears that Apple has little regard for the old adage that "The customer is always right."

This has never been an effective strategy in retail since it is not true. The more accurate adage, for the true student of marketing is associated with the fact that the customer is NOT always right and indeed they are often wrong, HOWEVER, the customer is ALL there is. I am surprised that a journalist, writing in the marketing space, does not realize what has been stated by Paul Hawken over a decade, if not TWO decades ago. Understanding that the customer is ALL THERE IS, is the reason that Apple is the kind of company that it is, because it will take care of the customer, by NOT making a product "just because people think the customer is always right" but by making a BETTER product, since the customer is all there is and making that a better product than could ever be considered "right." okpj

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Ty
Jobs Halo

@Wrenchy

You poor soul.

You may THINK you are running 10.5. You have a half-arsed sort of working version. Good luck updating to 10.6, and I can assure you running those three OS on my Mac Pro would spank your sorry little crappily-built Dell.

You are also breaking Apple's EULA.

The ONLY way to run multiple OS 100% and faster than anyone else - do it on Mac hardware.

Game over wannabees!

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FAIL

Student discount

Students actually get an 11% discount anyway so Renovo's minimum price is actually all wrong. Also did they fail to mention the Mac Mini to 49% who will buy full-sized machines. Possibly not the most economically practical purchase solution but it's still an option (and with a price less than the 'contrast' of $949).

Anyway, idiots. I couldn't give a sh*t if a student buys a Mac or not. It doesn't affect my purchasing decisions.

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Keyboards?

I wouldn't buy a netbook to "take notes in class" on because they do have tiny cramped keyboards. You need a bigger laptop with a proper keyboard.

Whether it's a Mac or a Windows machine is entirely up to you, mind.

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Thumb Down

Boo freaking hoo

>The tiny size of the survey and that fact that Retrevo links to far more netbook-selling sites than it does Apple resellers colors the legitimacy of its figures,

Boo, hoo... the figures don't match what *I* feel about laptops. They must be flawed.

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FAIL

@Martin Owens

Yes Martin. As irrelevant as Linux and the approx. 2,000,000,000 other Linux distro's that have been replaced by Windows XP on netbooks perhaps?

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Jobs Halo

@ rho

that's exactly what the new product is, a 'tablet' that you use in a mobile fashion through the day then bring home and 'dock' into a station to be used as a desktop....wait and see....

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Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

@Michael C

jesus that is scary. There is one thing UK uni's have going for them - if they tried to recommend only certain laptops as acceptable (with the large bungs they no doubt get from the corporations) they would get ripped to bits. That is downright pathetic.

I have 6 netbooks - they do tasks from being HD media centres, to being my holiday osx machine for editing videos and pictures. The hyperthreaded 1.6gz atom is fast enough to do all this no bother at all.

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Thumb Down

It's Apple

Who gives a shit!?

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gjw
Jobs Halo

In two weeks time...

Apple will have had its 15 minutes of fame. The fanbois should get used to it already.

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err

12inch G4 powerbook not close to a net book then?

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Price

This is UK based - but the outcome is the same...

When we looked at getting a laptop for taking notes and research we went to a local computer store to look over the various laptops/netbooks etc.

I was quite taken with the Macbook 13" MB990 - until I saw the price - at £899.

However also looked at the Netbooks (which were running various linuxes/Windows XP/Vista). Most seemed slow due to the Atom CPU. We decided to go for a cheap dual core in the end and looked at Acer/Random makes and eventually settled for a Sony Vaio which we paid £399 for. It's been a superb laptop (once I uninstalled all the extra applications) and even with an issue can't fault Sony Support who fixed the issue quickly and without any fuss.

Apple need to reduce their prices for entry Macbooks. I would have considered one at around £399-£499 as I think the user interface is generally superb. If they reduced then they would build on the student market.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't get it

When did universities stop providing you with controlled computing resources and start expecting you to buy your own??

When i went, and did a pretty hardcore IT course, you did all of your programming work in computer labs. If you needed to do general net research type documents etc, there were general purpose computer clusters.

Having your own machine, that could connect to the university network, was merely a convenience not an outright requirement for the course!!

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Linux

@Ty

I don't have to "update", I'll just download a hacked 10.6 for free and install it. No Apple tax for me thank you!

If it makes you feel any better, I normally boot in to Linux anyway for important things like online banking, web surfing and emails. System security for me is a top priority. Windows and Mac OS just don't cut it. Sorry!

When I want to run some of my business apps that are Windows, boot XP. And when I just want to dick around doing artsy fartsy stuff that is just not that important to most people, boot OSX.

So I am happy with my Dell Mini 10V. It does all I need it to do. As far as it being "crappily-built", for $329, I think I'm getting my money's worth as the build quality, for the price, is excellent. Hold one and try it out and you'll see.

But the most important fact here is, Apple is not getting 1 cent out of me. Have a nice day!

Love

Wrenchy

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Dead Vulture

Shockeroonie

GASP! Students in "refusing to buy overpriced stuff" shocker!

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AHEM!

US students who buy their Macbook from an Apple retail or online store get a free iPod Touch. They aren't so stupid as to go to the third party resellers surveyed.

All this survey shows is that self-interest is alive and well among US students. If they want a Wintel craptop and have half a brain, they'll first pick up the Macbook and iPod from Apple, then sell them for a profit on eBay, then go to the third party reseller for a better third class laptop experience with their increased funds.

Anyway, for those wondering why Apple doesn't sell cheap notebooks, Sun Tzu wrote: "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." Apple may go to war against Wintel at some point, but first they will no doubt "build a golden bridge for their enemies to retreat over" (Scipio apparently wrote that).

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