Toshiba formally and finally exits laptop business

Last Dynabook shares shuffled off to new owner Sharp

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Toshiba has finally and formally exited the laptop business

Toshiba has made laptops since 1985 and claims to have been the first to make a mass-market computer in the now-familiar clamshell form factor. By the 1990s the company was producing solid workhorses in the Satellite range and started to make meaningful stretches of mobile work possible with the small, thin and light Portégé range.

Those products saw Toshiba lead the world for laptop market share through the late 1990s and retain that position for much of the 2000s. Even as the PC market consolidated in that decade, Toshiba was often ranked among the top five of all PC vendors despite only ever dabbling in desktops.

As the 2000s rolled along Toshiba devices became bland in comparison to the always-impressive ThinkPad and the MacBook Air, while Dell and HP also improved. Toshiba also never really tried to capture consumers’ imaginations, which didn't help growth.

As the PC market contracted and Lenovo, Dell and HP came to dominate PC sales in the 2010s, Toshiba just became a less likely brand to put on a laptop shopping list.

By 2018 the company saw the writing on the wall and sold its PC business unit to Sharp for a pittance – just $36m changed hands - but retained a 19.9 percent share of the company with an option in Sharp’s favour to buy that stock.

Sharp quickly renamed the business to “Dynabook”, a product name Toshiba had used in Japan, and set about releasing new models and reviving the brand. And it’s done rather well, as shown in our recent review of the new Portégé X30L-G.

Which brings us to June 30th, 2020, when Sharp exercised its option to acquire the 19.9 percent of Dynabook shares it did not already own. On Tuesday, Toshiba transferred those shares and announced the transaction on Thursday.

And thus ends Toshiba’s time as a PC vendor. ®

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