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Analyst: Apple Could Score with $599 Netbook

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Aol, Notebook |

By Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

With a $599 netbook, Apple Inc. could move into a fast-growing market without cannibalizing existing sales and still make the profit margin investors have come to expect, a financial analyst argued Monday.

“Despite management’s commentary that it’s not interested in the netbook market, the key to Apple’s model is continued [share] penetration,” said Brian Marshall, an analyst with Broadpoint AmTech. “Currently, Apple has about 3.5% of the computer market. But I see that tapering off this year, for two reasons,” he said. “One, it will be difficult to stay at that share in this downturn with a high-priced product. And two, the company has indicated it has no interest in playing in the fastest-growing segment.”

Although Apple may resist moving into the netbook market — loosely defined as small, lightweight and lower-priced notebooks — Marshall spelled out how the company could actually craft a premium-priced netbook that wouldn’t eat into sales of the more expensive MacBook line.

“Investors, and Apple, too, are concerned about the possibility of a netbook being cannibalistic, but I think that [a netbook] at $599 is not a cannibalistic product if it’s positioned properly,” said Marshall.

He envisions a device boasting a 10.1-in. screen and a 16GB solid-state drive, perhaps powered by an ARM processor designed by P.A. Semi, the California chip designer Apple acquired last year for a reported $278 million.

Marshall pointed to Hewlett-Packard ‘s Mini 1000 netbook as a starting point for comparisons to what Apple might build. When configured with a 10.1-in. display and 16GB of hard drive space, the Mini 1000 XP costs about $399.

“If you assume a 50% premium for Apple’s netbook, it would be priced around $599,” said Marshall, noting, as have other analysts, that the number was above what CEO Steve Jobs said last year was a too-low price point. “We don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk,” Jobs said last year during a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

“At that price, it’s a material difference from there to the $999 of the least-expensive MacBook,” Marshall said.

Apple’s lowest-priced notebook is the $999 MacBook hold-over from the previous generation; the new “unibody” MacBooks introduced last October start at $1,299.

Using his own cost-of-goods workup, Marshall showed how Apple could sell a netbook at $599 and still make a profit of between 35% and 40% on each unit, a range that matches the 35% margin Apple had in the quarter that ended December 2008.

“But I don’t think Apple will want to be in the space just to make another netbook,” said Marshall. Instead, he expects that the company would offer technologies and software that others don’t. “I definitely see a place for some of their technology, in the form of a multi-touch screen, and their iLife productivity suite, in any netbook,” he said. “That’s obviously crucial.”

While Apple could conceivable delay indefinitely any netbook decisionhe pegged the second quarter as an optimum time to jump in. “Their ability to move [on a market] is second to none,” said Marshall, “Just look at the what they’ve done in smartphones.

“It makes a lot of sense for the K-12 school market, and later, for back-to-school,” said Marshall.

Marshall is not the first analyst to place his bet on an Apple netbook. Last December, Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research Inc. speculated that Apple would roll out multiple models at the Macworld Conference and Expo the next month.

Apple’s only laptop announcement at the trade show was a revamped 17-in. MacBook Pro , which only recently began shipping.

Source: pcworld

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After MySpace And Facebook, Oodle To Power Brand New AOL Classifieds

Posted on February 23, 2009. Filed under: Aol | Tags: , , , , |

by Robin Wauters

oodleClassifieds aggregation service provider Oodle is on a roll and definitely one of the startups worth following closely this year. After signing up two social networking juggernauts – both MySpace and Facebook – the company is now apparently also behind the just launched AOL Classifieds platform, per blog post by Greg Sterling.

The news comes right after a significant financing round announced earlier this month, when 3 VC firms invested $5.6 million in the company, bringing the total in funding raised to a healthy $21.6 million. Meanwhile, its traffic continues to surge (see Crunchbase profile for some upward-pointing visitor number graphs).

I would be very surprised if Oodle ends 2009 without being acquired for a price that puts a big smile on the faces of their investors.

For context, from the release:

AOL Classifieds is expected to serve as a platform for sellers to promote their listings by leveraging the reach of Oodle’s network of more than 250 partner sites.Buyers can expect to find deals with access to more than 40 million listings aggregated from more than 80,000 different sites. In addition, AOL Classifieds links consumers directly to classifieds listings on other properties within the AOL network, including AOL Autos, AOL Jobs, AOL Personals, and AOL Real Estate.

AOL Classifieds is the latest addition to the AOL Local Network, which is an online local network with a monthly reach of 54 million unduplicated unique visitors.In addition to the launch of AOL Classifieds in the U.S., a site for Canada is also available beginning today. An AOL Classifieds site for the UK will be launching later this week.

aol oodle

Source: techcrunch

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Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL search up; Google down

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: Aol, Google, Microsoft, SEO, Yahoo | Tags: , , , , , |

by Dawn Kawamoto

Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL each carved out a little more U.S. search market share in January, but Google still had the biggest piece of the pie, according to a report Wednesday by ComScore.

Yahoo Web sites accounted for 21 percent of the market (up half a percent) compared to the month before, while Microsoft grabbed an 8.5 percent slice (up 0.2 percent), and AOL nabbed 3.9 percent of the market (a 0.1 percent increase).

Google, while still holding the largest slice of the market by far, accounted for 63 percent of the search industry in January, down half a percent.

One interesting observation from Silicon Alley Insider is Yahoo’s consecutive five-month run in posting modest monthly gains in U.S. search market share.

In August, for example, Yahoo’s market share stood at 19.7 percent, according to SIA. But in the past five months, it has steadily grown, garnering more than a 1 point increase during that time.

Source: news.cnet.com

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