Toshiba, creator of the first PC-based laptop, exits the laptop business
Toshiba and its Dynabook brand was once synonymous with business laptops but times have changed since those heady days back in the 90s and 00s. The company has announced that it has now sold off its remaining stake in its laptop business to Sharp, which will continue selling Dynabook-branded laptops. Sharp had purchased an 80.1 percent stake in the company back in June 2018 and the transfer of the final 19.9 percent took place on August 4.
The transfer of the Dynabook brand and assets to Sharp actually marks its return to the laptop market after an absence of around eight years. In a sign of how tough the laptop market is these days, the sale of the Dynabook division to Sharp cost a mere US$36 million. However, with Sharp now owned by Foxconn, it is in a strong position to achieve good economies of scale and obviously believes it can leverage this position to regrow Dynabook laptop sales.
Tech history buffs will recall that Toshiba was the first company to release a PC-based laptop. Its T1100 is an iconic computer launched in 1985 and featured a rechargeable battery, a 3.5-inch floppy drive and was compatible with IBM PCs, the dominant brand of that era. It’s basic shape and design elements continued to be a feature of laptops for many years afterwards. As such, for fans of laptops, the exit of Toshiba from the laptop business that it effectively created is a poignant moment.