11 September 2020
Toshiba, a Japanese conglomerate has said goodbye to the personal computer business forever by quietly selling its remaining 19.9 percent stake in its Dynabook laptop brand to Sharp. Toshiba via a brief press release on August 4 announced the transfer of remaining shares of Dynabook held by it to Sharp.
Toshiba sold 80.1% of the laptop business unit to Sharp in 2018 for $36 million and retained the 19.9% of the share. Dynabook is a Japanese personal computer manufacturer that was owned by Toshiba from 1958 to 2018. But in 2018 it became 80.1% owned by Sharp Corporation. Now, the complete transfer of the laptop business to Sharp makes Dynabook a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sharp.
Toshiba notes in its announcement that on June 30, 2020, Sharp exercised a call option for the remaining outstanding shares of Dynabook and Toshiba didn’t take much time in executing the procedure of transfer.
Toshiba stayed in the personal computer business for more than 35 years, more than three decades. Its first laptop computer was T1100 launched in 1985. It was its first IBM compatible laptop computer.
It boasted a 640x200 pixels LCD screen, 3.5-inch floppy drive, internal rechargeable batteries, 256K memory.
A special report by ComputerWorld in 2005 notes that Toshiba’s executives were first reluctant to bring this computer to the market but eventually they successfully delivered it to the retail shelves.
According to the Register, Toshiba led the laptop market through the 1990s and much of the 2000s. Toshiba was often ranked among the top five first PC vendors. The tech site points out that rivals like Apple, Dell, Lenovo, and HP beat Toshiba with their better offerings and this brought a tremendous decline in the growth of its laptop business.
The factors that pull the graph of Toshiba’s laptop business down are not known but experts believe them to be many, including media-centric laptops whose main feature became useless once Blu-ray and streaming took over.
Toshiba has sold a big part of itself to Sharp but it still offers many other categories like printing and storage, for which it will be remembered henceforth.