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Michael Dell dings Netbooks

Dell's founder says his company realizes the limits of the Netbook and doesn't recommend it as a "replacement machine for an experienced user."

Dell Mini
The Dell Mini apparently isn't Michael Dell's favorite product. CBS interactive

Netbooks aren't for everyone, Dell CEO Michael Dell said Tuesday night at a dinner in Silicon Valley hosted by the Churchill Club.

Give a 10-inch Netbook to someone who's been using a 15-inch notebook, and the user will say, "'Hey, this is fantastic....It's so light,'" Dell said, according to The Register. "But about 36 hours later, they're saying 'The screen's gonna have to go. Give me my 15-inch screen back.'" (Editors' note: Dell also spoke at Oracle OpenWorld on Tuesday, about how his company is delivering a more efficient enterprise with its services. See the ZDNet video on right.)

(Credit: ZDNet)

The fact that Dell would take Netbooks to task in such a way should be a surprise, considering his company sells a line of 10-inch Netbooks. But Tuesday night in Santa Clara, Calif., Dell apparently didn't care. He wanted to make it clear that his company realizes the limits of Netbooks and that it offers options.

"We see a fair amount of customers not really being that satisfied with the smaller screen and the lower performance, unless it's like a secondary machine or it's (a) very first machine and the expectations are low," Dell said, according to The Register. "But as a replacement machine for an experienced user, it's not what we'd recommend. It's not a good experience, and we don't see users very happy with those."

Although Dell obviously has issues with Netbooks, it seems that many consumers don't. A recent study from DisplaySearch found that as notebook sales fell 14 percent in the second quarter year over year, Netbook sales rose a whopping 264 percent. The research company expects the trend to continue.

With that in mind, was Dell's founder doing the right thing by taking shots at Netbooks? His company does sell them, after all. And if Netbook sales are booming, shouldn't this simply be area where Dell can capitalize.

What do you think?