Japanese Multinational Toshiba Shutting Its Laptop Business After 35 years

Japanese tech giant Toshiba will no longer make laptops after more than three decades in the business, the company has announced. On August 4, Toshiba transferred its last outstanding share in Dynabook Inc., its laptop computing arm, to Sharp, another Japanese electronics corporation.

Following financial instability, Sharp bought 80% of Dynabook in 2018 for $36 million. With this final transfer of the last 19.9% of Dynabook shares, “Dynabook has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sharp,” according to a Toshiba statement.

In the race for personal computing, Toshiba has always been a solid contender. Launching its first 8-pound laptop in 1985, Toshiba was one of the biggest PC manufacturers in the early 2000s. However, continual innovations in the competition put Toshiba’s laptop creation in danger, with financial instability and low sales pushing the company closer and closer to the red. After a loss of $318 million in 2015, Toshiba shifted to a business hardware focus, leaving the consumer market behind.

The purchase was apart of Sharp’s rights in the 2018 deal that saw Toshiba’s PC business renamed Dynabook Inc.

When 2017 numbers reported hardware sales of less than 1.9 million units, Toshiba sold its personal computing arm to Sharp. With the company gaining an 80.1 percent stake in Toshiba’s laptop manufacturer, Sharp was also given the chance to purchase Toshiba’s remaining shares, which it exercised in June 2020.

The company made the first PC laptop in 1985: The T1100 boasted internal rechargeable batteries, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, and 256K of memory. ComputerWorld’s 20-year retrospective of the T1100 notes that Toshiba executives were unsure about the portable computer, but eventually came around, and began selling the T1100 for around $2,000.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Toshiba was among the top PC manufacturers, but as more players crowded into the market and with fewer unique features to offer, Toshiba’s laptops waned in popularity.

Toshiba Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. Its diversified products and services include power, industrial and social infrastructure systems, elevators and escalators, electronic components, semiconductors, hard disk drives, printers, batteries, lighting, logistics, as well as IT solutions such as quantum cryptography.

It had been one of the biggest manufacturers of personal computers, consumer electronics, home appliances, and medical equipment. As a semiconductor company and the inventor of flash memory, Toshiba had been one of the top 10 in the chip industry until the late 2010s.

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