Toshiba to cut back its consumer division

Falling sales mean it plans to focus on its enterprise business

Toshiba has slashed its PC team by more than half as PC sales continue to decline.

Toshiba said on Thursday that it would be stepping up the restructuring of its business as sales of consumer-focused computers. It added that it will withdraw from some consumer markets, but it declined to say which ones.

It will also shut more than half of its sales-focused offices around the world.

Toshiba currently makes several laptop models under the Portege, Kira and Satellite brands.

“The main reason is to secure consistent profit,” a Toshiba spokeswoman told PC World when it asked about the reasons behind the move.

“Toshiba does not plan to withdraw from the PC business as there are cases in which technologies developed for PC have been transferred to different business areas," she added.

However, the move doesn’t mean the Toshiba brand will be disappearing from the computer market altogether. In the future, it is likely to focus more on its profitable enterprise-focused business.

The spokeswoman said that Toshiba is now hoping to grow that part of its business to 50 per cent of all computer sales.

However, IT support expert Tom Morton questioned whether the company will be able to achieve that.

“In my experience, many small business owners buy Toshiba’s laptops – in particular its Satellite laptops,” said Morton. “However, within the IT community, Toshiba’s laptops have a bad reputation in terms of quality. Speaking from experience, many small business owners are lucky if their Satellite laptop lasts more than 12 months.”

He also raised concerns about whether or not the company could increase its share of the business market. Morton said that increasingly, IT resellers like 127 Solutions are being asked to recommend laptops for under £500 – such tablets tend to fall into Toshiba’s consumer range.

“The problem is, very few IT resellers will recommend them. They’ve got a bad reputation – I’d have to question how successful it will be.”

Toshiba, predictably, took issue with some of Morton's comments and got in touch with T3.com to offer its own rebuttal:

“Toshiba laptops offer dependability and high standards of reliability, which is supported by our low failure rate over the last six months, which lies below the industry standard benchmark. In fact we offer a Reliability Guarantee for a range of our business laptops, which reflects our confidence in the reliability of these products - if a qualifying laptop does break down within one year of purchase, we will repair it for free and give you your money back.”

Touche.