The personal computer industry is poised to sell tens of millions of small, energy-efficient, internet-centric devices–yet some of the biggest companies in the business consider this bad news, reports the New York Times. In a tale of sales success breeding resentment, computer companies are wary of the new breed of computers because their low price could threaten PC makers’ already thin profit margins. The new computers, often called netbooks, have scant on-board memory. They use energy-sipping computer chips. They are intended largely for surfing web sites and checking eMail. The price is small too, with some selling for as little as $300. And several makers are taking the low-powered PCs one step further. In the coming months, they are expected to introduce "net-tops," low-cost versions of desktop computers intended for internet access. A Silicon Valley start-up called CherryPal, for instance, says it will challenge the idea that big on-board power is required to allow basic computing functions in the internet age. On July 21 it plans to introduce a $300 desktop PC that is the size of a paperback and uses two watts of power compared with the 100 watts of some desktops. It wants to take advantage of the trend toward "cloud computing," in which data are managed and stored in distant servers, not on the actual machine. Industry analysts say that the emergence of this new class of low-cost, cloud-centric machines could threaten titans such Microsoft and Intel, or even HP and Dell, because the giants have built their companies on the notion that consumers want more power and functions built into their next computer…

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