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Microsoft Aims to Wring Cash From Netbook Buyers

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Microsoft Aims to Wring Cash From Netbook Buyers

Paul Boutin, The Industry Standard
Mar 12, 2009 7:51 am

Did you save hundreds of dollars by buying a netbook or cheap laptop
instead of a PC? If you did, Microsoft would like you to consider a US
$30 laptop cooling base, which has a built-in USB-powered fan to keep
your lap from sizzling beneath your Eee PC. While you're at it, have
you considered working with a separate mouse instead of the trackpad
on your downsized keyboard? For another $50 you can buy a Microsoft
Arc Mouse Special Edition, which comes in four colors.

Estimates vary wildly as to how much netbooks have eaten into
traditional laptop and desktop sales. But the safe answer is "a lot."
The cheap mini laptops are one of the few bright spots in the PC
industry, and no wonder: As consumers continue to see and hear reports
that the economy is headed further downhill, it's a given that $300
netbooks will become even more popular -- and Microsoft will need to
develop new products and revenue streams to appeal to this market
segment. Microsoft makes considerably less money off the cheaper
Windows versions installed on netbooks, so much so that Windows
revenue is down 8 percent from last year. The company's add-on
hardware gadgets are a clever way of getting more cash from netbook
buyers: Let them buy an Asus netbook for the cheapest price they can
find online. Then, tease them with inexpensive accessories.

There's a lesson here: People are afraid to spend money, but that
doesn't mean they won't.
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