Asus pretty much invented the whole netbook concept as we understand it today with the Eee PC, and for the longest time it sat pretty at the top of the netbook sales charts. The more astute reader might have noticed the past tense here, because Asus no longer rules the netbook roost it would seem.
Indeed, according to the latest 'Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report' from DisplaySearch which covers the growth of the portable computing market, things are changing pretty rapidly all round.
While other parts of the PC industry prepare for lean times in the face of the economic downturn, netbook sales continue to soar. The report shows growth of more than 160 percent during quarter three of 2008. What's more, it shows that Asus has been knocked off the netbook sales perch by Acer which managed to capture an impressive 35 percent of the market.
Back in 2007, the whole mini-PC come netbook market was around 1 million units. By the end of this year that should have grown to at least 14 million units, propelled by low prices and enthusiastic user-experience feedback.
“With the lone exception of Apple, all of the top 10 PC brands have entered the mini-note PC market, initially as a response to the competitive threat posed by Asus, but also to satisfy demand from customers for low-priced, thin and very light (less than 3 pounds) products that provide at least a modicum of typical office software functionality and also enable greater mobility,” said John F. Jacobs, Director of Notebook Market Research and author of the report. "We expect the mini-note PC market to settle at approximately 16% share of the notebook PC market by 2011,” Jacobs added.
The jury is still out as to whether Apple will enter the market, with Steve Jobs apparently saying no to the idea.