Report: Small Businesses Loading Up On Netbooks
Generally speaking, The VAR Guy avoids the temptation to evangelize Netbooks, because he thinks the Netbook market is mostly consumer-driven hype. But here’s an interesting business spin: Netbook purchases among small and midsize businesses (SMBs) will more than triple in 2010 vs. 2009, according to a new report. Does that spell opportunity for VARs? Perhaps so, especially when it comes to hardware as a service (HaaS) and managed services. Here’s why.
First, let’s stick to the data points and give credit where credit is due. According to Techaisle:
- SMBs worldwide will purchase 3.5 million Netbooks in 2010, up from 1.1 million units in 2009.
- Overall, between 22% and 30% of SMBs state they are looking at Netbook purchases as they consider upgrading their core desktop and notebooks.
- While some SMBs are looking at Netbooks as possible replacement for desktops and notebooks, Techaisle says it is more likely that Netbooks will be used to augment rather than replace desktops and notebooks. Based on the survey, it is found that among SMBs two factors are contributing to the adoption of Netbooks:
- Techaisle believes that while overall SMB notebook shipments are on track for a 5.4 percent growth rate, purchases of Netbooks will ultimately lead to lower average selling prices (ASPs) and exert downward margin pressure on PC manufacturers.
Now, let’s consider The VAR Guy’s own situation: As someone who allegedly works for a small business and constantly travels, The VAR Guy is in the market right now for a Netbook — preferably one that runs Linux. He’ll likely purchase the Netbook direct over the Web. But heck, there must be millions of small business owners and employees who need channel guidance as they seek a mix of portability, power and low price.
So ultimately, Netbooks do represent a niche opportunity for VARs and potentially managed service providers. In particular, watch for Netbooks to be bundled into hardware as a service (HaaS) contracts — where small businesses receive the Netbook hardware for free – but pay MSPs or large service providers a monthly management and wireless broadband fee tied to the device.
Oh, and a shameless closing plug: Check out The Dodge Retort for ongoing Netbook coverage from former PCWeek/eWeek Editor John Dodge. John avoids the Netbook hype and calls it like he sees it.