Last week, Toshiba quietly exited the laptop business, ending a 35-year run by transferring its remaining minority stake in its PC business to Sharp.
Two years ago, Toshiba sold an 80.1% stake of its PC business to Sharp for $36 million (RM150,930,000), and Sharp renamed the division Dynabook. Sharp exercised their rights to buy the remaining 19.1% of the shares back in June, and Toshiba announced on August 4 that the deal had been completed.
Why are they no longer making PC or laptops? Well, the laptop business is a hard business especially now with rivals like Apple, Dell and Lenovo are beating Toshiba at its own game with the release of Macbook series and XPS series. Basically, too many contenders, not enough money making. It makes sense.
By the time it sold its stake to Sharp, Toshiba ‘s PC market share had shrunk from its 2011 peak of 17.7 million PCs sold in 2017 to about 1.4 million, according to Reuters.
You would think Toshiba would do better because it was basically the pioneer for laptops. It was among the top manufacturers of PCs during the 1990s and early 2000s, thriving with its Satellite, Portégé and Qosmio lines. The company made their first appearance in the laptop world with the release of the first PC laptop which was the T1100 back in 1985.
It was widely considered the first mainstream laptop computer, and set a design template for portables that didn’t change much until Apple’s PowerBook line arrived in 1991. Even back then Toshiba executives were not sure about portable computers but eventually began selling the T110 for around $2,000 (RM8,385).
After 35 years in the business, Toshiba is still a major name in computing through categories like printing and storage, and it has fingers in categories like energy and retail. Their laptops will be missed but the company will still continue with other products.