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Uh Oh, Steve Ballmer Likes the MacBook Air’s Chances

Ballmer_MacBookAirMicrosoft’s (s msft) Steve Ballmer has an unimpressive track record at predictions, which is why his latest comments should be of concern to Apple (s aapl) and, especially, MacBook Air fans:

Those new ultra-thin PCs, the first of which will be coming later this year and, presumably running Windows 7, won’t be as cheap as $299 or $399 netbooks, Ballmer admitted, but they will combine netbooks’ portability, with some unnamed but higher-sounding prices.

Though the MacBook Air won’t be running Windows 7 any time soon, the rest of the quote is a pretty good description of it. Ballmer had earlier defined this “new” class of PC when speaking at the kick-off presentation for Microsoft’s Financial Analyst Meeting:

Ballmer told analysts there would be a new class of “ultra-thin” PCs” — or high-end netbooks –coming this year that would combine the light weight of netbooks with high-power and high-performance of traditional PCs.

Yep, that’s the MacBook Air alright.

When the Air was introduced, Steve Jobs first outlined these three problems (compromises) with netbooks:

  • Small screens
  • Tiny keyboard
  • Low processing power

The MacBook Air went on to address them all. And it did so as a “high-end” model for a “higher-sounding” price, exactly as Ballmer is predicting will not appear until “later this year.”

Will Ballmer’s bad track record seal the MacBook Air’s fate? Or will this particular “prediction,” which is of the past, and tantamount to predicting yesterday’s sunrise, be an isolated case of him being correct?

I guess only time will tell if the MacBook Air is truly finished.

2 Responses to “Uh Oh, Steve Ballmer Likes the MacBook Air’s Chances”

  1. The weird thing is that this is by no means a new category. I had an amazing Acer laptop back in 2000 or so. I don’t remember the exact specs, but it was a full-powered laptop with a 12 inch screen and weighed well under 3 lbs. In fact, it had a nice magnesium case, no floppy or optical drive — it was the exact precursor to the MacBook Air.

    I always wondered at the time why everybody didn’t have one, and when the 12″ PowerBook came out, it looked quite chunky by comparison. it wasn’t until the Air that Apple had something to compete in this category. I suppose the category as a whole has never taken off because of the trade-off of convenience and price. I would much rather have an Air than a netbook, but I just can’t justify the price. I will probably be sticking with the MacBooks.

    It just goes to show that these things are cyclical.

  2. ryemac3

    Hey, sounds like to me that Apple knew what they were talking about a year or two before everyone else. You’ll see, all these netbook pushers will soon learn what Apple already knows. All netbook users buy their netbook, marvel at its tiny size and amazing portability. Then after a month or two when the novelty wears off, they realize just how crippling it is. Sure, they’re OK for checking mail and casual websurfing. But you can’t really get any realwork done on it for any real length of time. You soon realize that it’s a not a netbook you need, but a full sized laptop that is light yet powerful. Sounds like a MacBook Air to me.