Sony is getting out of the PC business, selling their Vaio laptop business to a group called Japan Industrial Partners. In a statement, the company said they plan to concentrate on smartphones and tablets.
That’s not a surprise since according to a new study by NPD DisplaySearch, tablet shipments are expected to be over 300 million units in 24, meaning they’ll make up more than 60% of the personal computing market. Sales of laptops have dropped sharply as tablets increase in popularity. Around 150 million laptops shipped in 2013 as compared to nearly 250 million tablets.
Cost is a big factor. The average tablet price still hovers around the $300 range while the average laptop costs double that, almost $700.
Sony says that it will stop planning, designing and developing all PC products as part of the deal and that manufacturing and distribution of PCs will be discontinued after the launch of the spring 2014 line-up of products. The company says the Sony customers will continue to receive aftercare customer service.
Sony also announced that it will be shifting the focus of its television business towards high end models with plans to reinforce the company’s position in the 4K market.
A few hundred employees are expected to find work at with Japan Industrial Partners, but around 5,000 workers will lose their jobs. The new company will concentrate on marketing laptops within Japan, so it’s likely that the Vaio brand may not be available outside that market.