What's wrong with the Nokia netbook?

Nokia (NOK) released the specifications for its new netbook. That is no news. The largest handset company in the world has been talking about the initiative for some time. The recent news from the company on September 2, was that the machine will have an unusually long battery life of 12 hours. It will also run Microsoft's (MSFT) new Windows 7 operating system.

The press has been quick to criticize Nokia for the netbook's price at $819. Most netbooks cost under $400 and some run under $300.

None of these is the real hurdle Nokia faces. It was late to the smartphone market and allowed a number of firms like Apple (AAPL) to pick off may high-end customers. Now it is late, very late, to the netbook business. Acer, Asus, Dell (DELL), and HP (HPQ) already have perfectly acceptable machines and some of these have been in the market for over a year.

Despite Nokia's size and its 39 percent of global handset sales, the firm has been flat-footed and tardy getting into the hottest sectors of the consumer electronics business. And, in tech, the last man in rarely wins.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.


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