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Sony may retreat from PC business: report

Mobility

There may about to be one less competitor in a PC market that has been squeezed by commoditization and the emergence of new form factors, according to a recent report.

According to a report in Nikkei Asian Review, Sony is in talks to sell its PC business to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners for between US$391 million and US$489 million. A new business would be created to sell PCs with the Vaio brand in which Sony would only take a small stake.  The report indicates the business would focus on the Japanese business market, and withdraw from most overseas markets.

Sony wouldn’t be the first technology vendor to exit the PC space. IBM sold its PC business to Chinese vendor Lenovo in 2005, and Hewlett-Packard Co. mulled divesting its Personal Systems Group in 2011 before backtracking, and reaffirming its commitment to the market. The space appears ripe for consolidation.

Vendors still in the PC market have been diversifying their businesses, with commoditization making it difficult to impossible to squeeze out a profit on laptops and desktops. HP has made key acqusitions around software, services and the cloud, Dell has transitioned into a provider of solutions from the date centre all the way to the endpoint, and Lenovo has reorganized under four business units to shift from its PC-centric focus.

IDC Canada’s PC shipment figures for Q3 of 2013 showed a shrinking market for PCs. HP led with 22.4 per cent of the Canadian market, followed by Apple, Dell, Lenovo and Acer. Sony didn’t register in the top 5, with less than 11 per cent of the market.