A bunch of ODMs, tired of low margins (“Quanta Computer with 3.2%, Compal Electronics 3.31%, Wistron 3.9% and Inventec 3.8%“) and competition have decided to follow Wintel to ultrabooks. Of course, they get higher margins on higher-priced kit but the reason for that is that M$’s licence fee and the price of “Wintel Inside” is a lower fraction of the cost on a higher priced device. They could get a much larger margin by selling lower-priced goods that consumers want if they skipped Wintel. Instead they are going to abandon netbooks and notebooks not realizing that Wintel is the problem, not the prices of computers.
Consider a notebook they make for $400. If they chuck $50 of Intel and $50 of that other OS, they can make just as useful a computer for $300. If their margin was 4% of $400, $16, they could sell the notebook for $350, making $50 of margin, 15%. No, they cannot do the maths.
The makers of small cheap computers are going to eat these guys’ lunches in 2012. Linux on ARM will grow all the way into notebooks and soon there will be lighter, more powerful and cheaper notebooks beating ultrabooks and these guys will not be able to sell an ultrabook except in a few places on the planet where people have money to burn. Will one more year of following Wintel finally make these ODMs see the light?