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Apple drops to No. 5 in laptop sales--are cheaper MacBooks the answer?

According to market "intelligence firm" IDC, Apple has dropped from the No. 4 purveyor of laptops last year to No. 5 this spring.

According to research firm IDC, Apple has dropped from the No. 4 purveyor of laptops in the U.S. last year to No. 5 this spring. The firm estimates that Apple has shipped 12.5 percent fewer laptops than the same time last year, even as it maintained its 7.6 percent market share.

Leapfrogging Apple to take the No. 4 spot is Toshiba, now estimated to be shipping 7.7 percent of all laptops in the U.S., thanks to system such as the Mini NB205 Netbook. If you're keeping score, IDG estimates that Dell remains No. 1, with 26.3 percent of the market, closely followed by HP, with Acer showing strong year-over-year growth to hit 12.6 percent of the American market. It looks as if all those $299 Aspire One Netbooks are starting to pay off.

Naturally, this has tongues wagging over whether Apple will release a less-expensive product, such as a Netbook-style laptop, in order to regain some market share (not that it ever takes much to get the chattering classes predicting cheaper MacBooks).

We've seen plenty of rumorsabout Apple mini-notebooks and tablets, but will a few quarters of recession-addled shoppers really force Apple to go back on their long-stated desire to stay out of the bottom rungs of the market? What do you think? Sound off below!


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