In a press release, Toshiba confirmed that the remaining stake in the company’s laptop division was also sold to Sharp, meaning that Toshiba has left the laptop market for good. In the future, the famous Dynabooks will be marketed under the Sharp brand.
Japanese notebooks have long been a constant in the notebook market alongside the ThinkPads from Lenovo and IBM. Now that Toshiba has also sold its last stake in the Dynabook brand, an era is coming to an end for the group and former co-founder of the market.
Toshiba has almost completely left the notebook market. The company published a short notice on its Japanese website, according to which the remaining shares in the Dynabook joint venture operated with electronics company Sharp have been transferred to the partner.
The Toshiba and Dynabook brands were once almost synonymous with business notebooks. Times have changed, however, the market share of laptops from Japan is no longer worth mentioning, especially in the West. Sharp already acquired more than 80.1 percent of the laptop division from Toshiba in June 2018, as the company confirmed in a press release that the remaining 19.9 percent has now been transferred to a subsidiary of Foxconn.
The financial details of this new contract are not yet known, but Sharp had to pay “only” $ 36 million (roughly € 30.6 million) for 80.1 percent two years ago. It would have been a bargain for a few years ago. In 2011, Toshiba still sold an impressive 17.7 million PCs, up from just 1.4 million in 2017.
Sharp (Foxconn) is now going on alone with Dynabook laptops
Dynabook is now 100 percent owned by Sharp with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn. Foxconn is the main manufacturer of the original Japanese brand. Most recently, Toshiba only owned 19.9% of Dynabook. With his departure, Toshiba joins a growing list of Japanese manufacturers that have left the laptop market. At the moment, the most notable exit is Sony, where a few years ago the VAIO brand of notebooks was sold to private investors.
Once upon a time, Toshiba was one of the pioneers of laptop computers. Toshiba introducing the Toshiba T1100 in 1985, virtually the first portable computer for the mass market. For years, Toshiba remained the only supplier of such a product until Apple introduced the PowerBook series in 1991. Toshiba made significant strides with the Satellite, Portege, and Qosmio models in the 1990s and 2000s.
For several years, however, sales of Toshiba notebooks have been declining, in part because the company was technically unable to match its previous successes. With the rise of manufacturers such as Apple and Dell, which set new standards for ultraportables. Toshiba has largely failed to keep up and has been relegated to a niche supplier.
Because the laptop business is rarely very profitable, development and marketing are now only beneficial to large suppliers. Toshiba has long struggled to survive thanks to particularly affordable models, but on the other hand, it could hardly survive in the long run with its expensive devices for business customers. The Dynabook brand will remain under the leadership of Sharp and therefore should stay with us for a while.