Toshiba has been producing laptops since 1985, far by the standards of the industry, and is considered to be the first to release a mainstream computer in the usual clamshell book format. In the 1990s, the Japanese company built the good workhorses of the Satellite family and launched the small, thin and light Portégé models.
These products put Toshiba at the forefront of the laptop market in the late 1990s and held it for much of the 2000s. Although the PC market was dwindling through mergers and acquisitions during that decade, Toshiba was often in the top 5 PC makers and never made a desktop computer.
As the 2000s progressed, Toshiba devices became less and less attractive compared to various models like the Lenovo ThinkPad or Apple MacBook, as well as laptops from Dell and HP. Toshiba has never tried to impress consumers with something unusual and innovative, which also did not contribute to growth.
As the PC market shrank and Lenovo, Dell, and HP began to dominate sales in the 2010s, Toshiba became increasingly rare on store shelves. In 2018, the company came to a standstill and sold its PC manufacturing division to Sharp for a song – for only $ 36 million. However, Toshiba still retained 19.9% of shares with an option to buy them out by Sharp.
Sharp quickly renamed the business Dynabook – the brand used by Toshiba in Japan – and began rolling out new models and reviving the brand. Things went pretty well and led to Sharp exercising its right to acquire the remaining 19.9% of Dynabook on June 30, 2020, which was announced a few days later.
This marked the end of Toshiba’s history as a PC supplier, although its legacy lives on under Sharp’s wing.
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