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.

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

Question remain whether Acer will be able to keep this position as there is increasing number of unhappy customers (including me) that are deeply disappointed by quality of technical support.

After some very extensive research, I settled upon the Asus Eee 1000HA, mainly because of the 10" screen over the 8.9" and the large HDD. I am impressed with the quality. Acer prices are a little lower, but I have to agree with Peter_budo, I have read more poor reviews for Acer than for Asus. I haven't have to deal with support yet though.
Some of the nicer Asus models are getting into full-size laptop range in price, so I think their greed might further erode their market share, unless they continue to make the 1000 series available.

I know this article is six months old but I have to put my experience in too. I purchased an Acer netbook because of the reviews over the Asus Eeepc. It could be that the Acer I purchased had a 160HDD, 1GB DDR2 533MHz RAM, Windows XP Home etc. I purchased this computer back in April and love it. The Screen is bright and very crisp, the keyboard is actually very comfortable to use, at least for me it is. I watch videos online with and my Acer has actually become my main PC for daily use. I purchased a 9 cell battery and I go all day without having to carry around my power brick. Love it and would buy another.