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July 29, 2011 / David Bleeker

PC makers struggling to match MacBook Air pricing ahead of Ultrabook launches

Windows-based PC makers looking to challenge Apple’s extremely successful line of ultra-lightweight MacBook Airs with designs based on Intel’s “Ultrabook” platform are losing hope that they’ll be able to do so and still turn a profit on sales of the notebooks any time this year.

Unveiled a couple of months ago at the Computex trade show, Intel’s new ‘Ultrabook’ design is a set of guidelines for PC notebook makers aimed at marrying the performance and capabilities of a traditional notebook with “tablet-like features” in a “thin, light and elegant design.”

The first Ultrabook notebooks were slated to arrive at that price point in time for the 2011 holiday shopping season but a new report reveals that “actual production costs” to build the new notebooks are roughly as high as Apple’s MacBook Air retail prices, which could “render the hope [of matching the Air’s pricing] practically infeasible.”

Designed more like an iPad than a traditional Mac, the new MacBook Airs are already seeing volume shipments in the millions, affording Apple a head start in the market for ultra portables similar to the one its seen in the tablet market, where its agreements with component manufacturers far undercut pricing being extended to competitors who can’t compete on volume. [read more]

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