Netbooks are finished

While there will always be a place for desktop computers, powerful handheld devices are pushing the entire notebook category into long-term decline.

By Jim Cramer Sep 24, 2010 8:57AM

jim cramerBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


The netbook giveth, and the netbook taketh away. That was my conclusion last night after I did some reading about still one more tech disappointment, the never-can-shoot-straight Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).


The notebook category, for all intents and purposes, is finished. It is in secular decline, a victim of handheld devices that are so powerful they make netbooks look like relics.


That's one of the main reasons Intel (INTC) is not doing so hot. It's why no one liked Texas Instruments (TXN) even after it announced it would buy one-quarter of the company, and why Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which has a great netbook franchise, has slipped. It's another reason HPQ and Intel are frantic to pick up new business away from netbooks, which was, just a few years ago, the savior category. It could be the source of many problems for SanDisk (SNDK), which is relentlessly going down.


Smart handsets have made the size of netbooks a liability. The tablet from Apple (AAPL) -- and now others -- first froze the market, then destroyed it. (It's doing the same to the now uninvestible disk drives too, hence the horrible trading in Western Digital (WDC) and Seagate (STX)).

We know the desktop is being challenged by a ton of different devices but will always have a place. But the netbook? As someone who loves his iPod Touch and worships his iPad (great apps from TheStreet on these, by the way, maybe better than anyone else's), I can't see this category coming back.

Does that mean I want to sell Intel? We own it for the Charitable Trust. Eh. Wait for higher prices.


And Texas Instruments, AMD and Hewlett-Packard? (Notice I'm not even including Dell (DELL) anymore.) No, thanks.


You are either going to thrive at the highest end -- servers -- profit from cloud or fast Ethernet, or be in Apple.


Everything else?


Go buy an oil stock.


Random Musings: Gold hit $1,300 -- made my price target for the month. Tim Collins likes copper; hard to be too bearish if copper breaks out as he said last night on "Mad Money."


At the time of publication, Cramer was long Apple and Intel.

Jim Cramer is co-founder and chairman of TheStreet. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO.


Click here to follow Cramer's trades for his Charitable Trust.


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