The MSI Wind captured a lot of reviewers hearts when it was first introduced a few months ago due to its great design and low price point. Then shipping delays started leading many to wonder if MSI was having trouble producing the mini-notebook for the low price points advertised. The answer is beginning to become clear and it seems that indeed MSI has discovered they cannot produce the Wind as cheaply as they originally thought. Laptop Magazine has spoken with MSI and indeed the Wind with the 6-cell battery is selling for higher prices across the etailer space. They found the netbook online for anywhere from $549 to $599, much higher than the originally quoted price of $499 which had everyone excited. This price increase doesn’t sound like much on the surface but that’s a 10 – 20% increase which is bigger when you look at it that way. Laptop is also reporting that consumers who had pre-ordered the Wind from Buy.com for $499 have seen their order cancelled due to the price increase.
This gets into the area that we’ve warned about before, OEMs of these mini-notebooks are having a hard time producing these netbooks as cheaply as originally thought. The single biggest draw of the original EEE PC, the mini that started this whole genre, was the $300 price tag. People are willing to lose functionality if the netbook is so cheap but once you start adding costs to them that willingness begins to disappear. I went through that thought process recently when purchasing a notebook for a kid going to college and I went with a $600 laptop from HP because there was simply no need to accept reduced functionality at that price point. That’s the uncharted waters netbook OEMs are entering as prices go up, they are going to drop sales and quickly.