Aside from Christmas, the back-to-school market is one of the most profitable times for computer makers. Apple’s MacBook has virtually disappeared from Amazon’s top-selling notebook list during the period, according to ThinkEquity analyst Vijay Rakesh.
Instead, ‘netbooks,’ those ultra-small PCs from Asus, Acer and Dell, now dominate the list. This is an abrupt change from the past, where Apple had been a mainstay.
“While Mac desktops and 3G phone sales have been doing well, the notebook market could be impacted in the peak back-to-school season,” Rakesh wrote in Wednesday.
While Apple had two notebooks on the Amazon “top 10″ list for the period, Acer and Asus topped the chart.
Rakash said the reason for Apple’s absence is poor economic conditions.
“We believe this to be the effects of a more price-conscious consumer and global slowdown,” he wrote.
The ThinkEquity analyst calls a predicted 15 percent to 19 percent jump in Apple notebook sales for the fiscal fourth quarter “a high watermark.”
As a result, Rakesh lowered the target on Apple to $170 from $200 per share and fiscal fourth quarter estimates to $7.8 billion from $7.9 billion.
Apple’s first fiscal quarter of 2009 will likely be $10.8 billion, down from the $11.5 billion previous estimated, according to the analyst.
Earlier this week JMP Securities analyst Samuel Wilson seemed to echo Rakesh, predicting netbooks “could create a real challenge for high-priced Apple products.”