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Toshiba’s share in the PC market had reduced from its peak of 17.7 Mn PCs sold to about 1.4 Mn in 2017.

Japanese tech giant Toshiba, once well known for its variety and range of laptops has taken an exit from the laptop business. It quietly exited the laptop business once and for all last week, ending a 35-year run by transferring its remaining minority stake (19.9%) in its PC business to Sharp.

Toshiba entered the market of laptops in 1985. It introduced its ‘Satellite’ range of laptops to take on IBM’s ‘ThinkPad’ series. The company was outsourcing its laptop production until 2015, though it started manufacturing newer models at its facility in China.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Japanese tech giant Toshiba was among the top PC manufacturers but as more players like Lenovo, HP and Dell entered the market, Toshiba failed to make its spot in the list of top players in the laptop industry. With fewer unique features to offer, Toshiba’s laptops waned in popularity.

Two years ago, Toshiba sold an 80.1 % stake of its PC business to Sharp for $36 Mn, and Sharp renamed the division as Dynabook. Sharp on June 30 exercised a call option for the remaining outstanding shares held by Toshiba that ultimately resulted in the new update. It exercised its right to buy the remaining 19.1 percent of shares back in June, and Toshiba released a statement earlier this month that the deal was completed.

“As a result of this transfer, Dynabook has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sharp” said Toshiba.

The exit of Toshiba sometime struggling against the competition doesn’t mean that the new owner of its laptop business wouldn’t actively participate in the market. In fact, Sharp showcased some of its new laptop models at CES 2020.

A report by Nikkei Asia Review last month also quoted Sharp Chairman and CEO Tai Jeng-wu highlighting their profitability of its Dynabook business shortly after the 2018 deal. Tai also suggested that the subsidiary might go public within a year.


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