If you were shopping for a laptop in the 90s, I hazard to guess that Toshiba was high up on your wishlist, but this once leading brand on the market has now officially exited the market.
The writing has been on the wall, to be fair. Back in 2018, Toshiba offloaded 80.1% of its PC business to fellow electronics giant Sharp for US$36 million in a deal that included a clause allowing Sharp to purchase Toshiba’s remaining stake… a clause they have now invoked for an undisclosed sum. This brings Toshiba’s 35 year foray into the laptop business to a close.
“Toshiba Corporation hereby announces that it has transferred the 19.9% of the outstanding shares in Dynabook Inc. that it held to Sharp Corporation. As a result of the transfer, Dynabook has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sharp” Toshiba announced in a statement.
Toshiba released its first laptop, the T1100, all the way back in 1985, although it took Toshiba almost a decade to gain a leading footprint in the market. Toshiba was among the top PC vendors in the 90s even with a rather limited sojourn in the desktop market.
It was not to be a perennial success story, however, as the company’s marketshare took a turn in the late 2000s when competitors brought out more powerful machines and paid more attention to attractive design… everyone’s looking at you, Apple.
Toshiba’s competitors began to dominate the field in the 2010s, with Lenovo (formerly IBM), HP, Dell and Apple making great strides and Toshiba was left behind, eventually leading Toshiba to sell its laptop business to Sharp who quickly rebranded – shock – the business as Dynabook. Although far from being a household name, Sharp clearly believes it can turn a profit from the business as it has now acquired the entire business.
It will be interesting to see what’s next in store for Dynabook with Dell and Lenovo both pushing certified Linux products to the laptop market. Dynabook is far from being a front-runner in New Zealand, but their products are available from retailers like Fujitsu, Datacom and PB Tech if you look hard enough.