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Fujitsu Spins Off Its PC and Mobile Divisions (engadget.com) 100

An anonymous reader writes: Back in February, Sony unloaded the part of its business that built PCs. Now, a year later, competitor Fujitsu is doing the same. The company announced it would be spinning off its PC and mobile business, effective 1 February 2016. Your first reaction was probably, "Fujitsu had a PC and mobile business?" You're not alone, and this is likely why the split is happening. In their press release, they say, "With the ongoing commoditization of ubiquitous products, mainly of PCs and smart phones, it has become increasingly difficult to achieve differentiation, and competition with emerging global vendors has intensified." More simply: they couldn't make a competitive product. Hopefully, this is the start of a trend; the race to zero in the Windows laptop market is finally killing off some of the participants.
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Fujitsu Spins Off Its PC and Mobile Divisions

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  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Friday December 25, 2015 @07:39PM (#51184175) Homepage

    As Lenovo bludgeoned ThinkPads and HP's moves eviscerated entire product lines, Fujitsu's spin-off will also reflect a lower quality product over time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      As Lenovo bludgeoned ThinkPads and HP's moves eviscerated entire product lines, Fujitsu's spin-off will also reflect a lower quality product over time.

      You know, I've a lot of comments about Lenovo SchtinkPads having bad quality, but it doesn't match my experience at all. I have a W520. It is big, black, ugly and bulky, and no thief would consider trying to steal it, because it is not shiny and silver, like an Apple. But that is fine with me. I pimped it up to 32GB main memory, and two 512GB SSDs. If the thieves knew what all is in it, they would steal it just to cannibalize the components.

      The thing seems to be indestructible. I do a lot of travelin

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        We bought new the X301 and more recently the Thinkpad Yoga 12, and I have a Yoga 12 assigned to me from work. Both are very sturdy machines. The Helix series are proving to be pieces of junk as you look at 'em funny and they break, and the Yoga 11e series is too small to be terribly useful, but coworkers are agog over the X1 Carbon series.

        I fondly remember the Fujitsu Lifebook series. My wife was often issued one for work travel and it was stout, light weight, and had a long battery life for the era.
      • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday December 25, 2015 @11:04PM (#51184769)

        If the thieves knew what all is in it, they would steal it just to cannibalize the components.

        No, they wouldn't. Thieves don't care about components, and don't want to spend time trying to sell technical items on Ebay. They want something they can hock quickly, which means something that has a high resale value at consumer places, and that means Apples.

        This is merely the nature of niche-market stuff versus mass-market shiny consumer crap. There's lots of very expensive industrial equipment, for instance, which easily costs 6 or 7 figures, but isn't in much danger of being stolen because thieves wouldn't know what to do with it. Lots of engineering workplaces have oscilloscopes and other test equipment costing high-5 figures or more; how often does that stuff get stolen? Never; they're in much more danger of their $2k Apple laptops getting stolen.

        • Thieves don't care about components, and don't want to spend time trying to sell technical items on Ebay.

          Thankfully the criminal classes have not read Adam Smith*, and so a separate profession that specialises in that hasn't ever emerged.

          As for thieves breaking into offices just to taff the RAM, I must have totally imagined that.

          * to do: banker joke here

          • Maybe you're thinking of chop-shops and the like. Yes, they do exist for cars. And yes, computer components used to be the target of theft. I remember when $1000 486 CPUs in PCs used to be easily removed because they started using ZIF sockets, and a lot of name-brand PCs (Gateway, etc.) had easily-opened cases, so pretty quickly universities and other places where PCs were publicly accessible started having big problems with these chips mysteriously disappearing, because apparently no one ever thought th

        • I have to agree with you that the attractiveness of an item to a thief relates to the reliability of the market for what has been stolen. However, keep in mind that thieves will happily target 6 figure industrial equipment if they can easily pull 4 figures worth of copper out of it, because there's a reliable market for that copper.
      • I have a T430 as my personal laptop. My laptop bag opened and it dropped on a hard tile floor once (I watched it bounce a few times on the floor with horror). There was not even a crack or a chip, laptop still works fine.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Don't tell macs4all or canadianmacfan this but one of my gifts for my daughter was a new MBP. I know... I know... I did my best to bring them up right but I failed as a parent and she has an iPod, iPad, and several other Apple devices like a desktop, a couple of laptops, and I think she's even got a damned router made by them. Buggered if I know the name but the girl's a fan and yes, yes she has been exposed to Linux. (Her brother uses Debian - sometimes Arch.)

        Anyway, she's not the most gentle creature with

        • Rum and Coke. Yessssssssss. Happy Holidays, dear friends.
          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            Same! They passed out. I stopped at two but I kind of made 'em strong. It wasn't even good Rum. My daughter has bad taste. Well, cheap taste. It's just the Captain's - spiced of course. Meh, she's a good kid. She hasn't built me any grandchildren yet. That is unfortunate. I want to spoil them rotten. I am going to buy them drum kits, guitars, dirt bikes, guns, cars that go too fast, and a gimp suit. For their first birthdays. Not really, of course. Though my son might find some humor in it.

    • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Saturday December 26, 2015 @04:29AM (#51185389) Journal

      Can we PLEASE stop posting yet another "PC is dying" story when its absolute horseshit? Gather round childrens, and let an old greybeard explain a few things that many seem to not know, especially retards that work in the press...

      This is the most important fact that you need to know regarding PCs and sales mmkay? From 1993 to 2007 there was a bubble, no different than the dotbomb or the "houses will always go up" real estate bubble, this was NOT THE NORMAL STATE and was caused by two factors, 1.- Rapid advances in die shrinking technology, and 2.- A focus on single core computing. Now before 1993? You saw what we have now, slow and steady turnover with moderate and acceptable growth. Problem is, just as we saw too many bad companies (remember petfood online? Or CueCat?) that based their entire business model on "on the Internet" being enough to make them rich so too did you see many during the PC bubble base their whole business around infinite growth, like the bubble would never burst.

      "So what about PCs in 2015, oh wise old one? And what about mobile?" I hear you ask. Its very simple young childrens, once the PC went to multicore they performance bubble burst and they went from "barely good enough for a year or two" to "insanely overpowered and good for a decade" which frankly was the default state before 1993. Before then programs didn't need a new PC every other year just to run and now? Can you name something mainstream that won't run just fine on a first gen C2Q or Phenom I X4? Hell the majority of people who aren't gaming are quite happy with a 10 year old C2D or Athlon X2 and even the gamers get along just fine on the second gen C2Q and Phenom II X4s and X6s, and those are 7 year old chips. PCs have simply gone back to being appliances that you replace when they die just like they were before the bubble when I was supporting 8 year old IBMs and Commodores locally.

      Finally as for mobile? I'm gonna really piss off the fanboys but here goes mobile is in their own bubble which is about to burst so its not even gonna get half the run that PCs did in their bubble, why? Because ARM doesn't scale, it blows its power budget once you get beyond a certain speed, which is why we are now up to quads and octocores being the norm instead of climbing MHz like in the PC world. Also battery tech has been stagnant for more than a decade so adding more cores and more speed? Just gives you a device with a 15 minute battery life. I'm already starting to see this, talking to the brothers that own the phone shop down the road they are seeing more and more older phones being brought in for repair because people see no reason to upgrade as they are happy with their iPhone 4 or Galaxy II. They are also seeing a big uptick in the $100-$150 phones because nowadays that gets you a quad core with 8MP camera and a decently sized touchscreen and that is what Joe Average cares about so more and more are seeing now reason to buy $600+ phones. This goes double for tablets, which even Apple is having trouble getting folks to buy the latest iPad because people are happy with the previous model. This is also ignoring the rotting elephant in the room which is many tablets are ending up in sock drawers because the users find mobile software lacking compared to their laptops. I swear I must get dozens trying to sell me tablets really cheap each year because they just can't find a use for the things which isn't better served by their laptops, I had the same problem which is why I gave my 10 inch quad tablet to a nephew.

      So no worries childrens, PCs aren't going anywhere, its simply going back to normal where you have 2 or 3 really big companies selling the boxes and parts and everybody just replaces when they die. Even the mom & pop shops that have any sense won't be going anywhere, I'm staying swamped with HTPCs, Home networking, and home theater setups and I'm predicting with all the cord cutting and everything being online that is gonna be a really big growth market for PCs in the coming years.

      Now if you'll excuse me I have new games that are calling, Happy Holidays!

      • I agree w/ you about PCs, but not so much about tablets. I've seen iPads in places I wouldn't expect - restaurants for order taking, airport terminals (particularly the one at Minneapolis) and other such places. Not to mention that they are a lot easier to handle and have an easier interface. Something I don't exactly see the Surfaces replacing.

        Also, I don't think the tablet bubble is anywhere near close to bursting. If in the 90s, people kept buying PCs b'cos the software was quickly overwhelming th

        • Did I say that NONE of them would find a use? Nope just that consumers find them to be toys which is the truth. There will always be a niche for that form factor, hell no differently than the netbooks that you can still buy today (they just don't call 'em netbooks) but Joe and Jane Average simply find mobile software lacking compared to that laptop they already have.

          And we already have evidence the tablet bubble is bursting, you have sites like Tiger offering BOGO free sales trying to move the things and ev

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Finally with the long awaited death of the PC market it is time for Atari to rise form the ashes and make a new ST. Long live TOS! Love live GEM! ...too late? Atari is already dead back in the 90s? Doh! At least there's still linux!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I guess it depends on where you live if you've heard of Fujitsu computers and phones. I see both their computers and phones everywhere here in Japan. I remember they had some good corporate stuff in the US about a decade ago. Their tablet PCs sold fairly well before the iPad age. It's true that their consumer products are not too desirable judging by how many people I see with them, but I thought there were doing well in corporate.

    Maybe NEC will be next as it's also a company nobody in the west really k

    • They used to have a bit of a niche in ultraportables, back when particularly light weight was hard to come by in laptops; but that just isn't a terribly special feature anymore.
    • Not just Japan. When I used to work in Spansion - the Flash Memory joint venture of AMD and Fujitsu - the laptops we had from our employer were Fujitsu LifeBooks w/ Athlons inside them. They were a neat product from both our parent companies. Included in the lineup was a bright red 'Ferrari' model, which was awesome to look at. But if you went to, say, Microcenter, there was really little reason to prefer a Fujitsu to a Toshiba or a Dell. I doubt that a spun off company making generic parts will be any
    • I have a Fujitsu laptop. It's 8 years old, and I've had to put it aside temporarily because the switch that turns the backlight on when the lid opens has failed. I will "re-purpose" it as a desktop unit with an external monitor soon. It's been a great computer. Laptops are generally consumable products with a limited lifespan, but, except for normal wear and tear, this has been a great unit. It's a lot better than this Dell POS I'm using now (serious quality issues...).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully, this is the start of a trend; the race to zero in the Windows laptop market is finally killing off some of the participants.

    I can see why such a sociopathic comment was posted anonymously.

  • Hopefully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Friday December 25, 2015 @07:58PM (#51184233)

    >Hopefully, this is the start of a trend; the race to zero in the Windows laptop market is finally killing off some of the participants

    I agree, pcs are more and more commoditized and it is harder to make a profit, but why is this something to hope for?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Indeed, it seems like a loss. Fujitsu make some good PCs in Japan. Nothing spectacular, but reasonably priced and reliable.

      Hopefully the new company continues to produce good workhorse machines and give other manufacturers some competition in the mid range.

      • Indeed, it seems like a loss. Fujitsu make some good PCs in Japan. Nothing spectacular, but reasonably priced and reliable.

        They made by far the most powerful Wacom-equipped laptops which came at a reasonable price and didn't spontaneously explode. I thought that was pretty spectacular. Once the machines hit refurb you could get a whole laptop with an i7 in it for less money than a Wacom Cintiq

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      I agree, pcs are more and more commoditized and it is harder to make a profit, but why is this something to hope for?

      Maybe a fan of the Apple/MS Surface/Lumia model? That the OEMs aren't really adding any value and you could just cut the middle man. Because from what I understand that's mainly what they do these days, they take hardware from AMD/nVidia/Intel + various others for screen, touchpad etc., software mainly from Microsoft and outsource the assembly to Foxconn-style assemblers and the support to call centers somewhere. It would probably be pretty bad for Linux users, not sure it'd be all that bad for Windows user

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Linux users will be okay, I imagine. The Girl Child got her MBP and my son uses Debian mostly so he got one of these:
        http://www.titancomputers.com/... [titancomputers.com]

        I don't know exactly what he specced it out to be but it wasn't *too* bad. I think it came to a little under, or just over, 3k with shipping. I just let him pick it out and that way he gets what he wants. He has it with him (I had it shipped to him and he got it early). He's got Debian on it now and I'm probably going to order two more of them. One for me and

        • by nnull ( 1148259 )
          I don't think so. Android tablets with locked hardware is gaining ground and linux support for these devices is pretty abysmal to none. The one market where linux could shine is being shunned by the open source community on a grand scale. I would love to have linux on some of these devices, but there are none to be found.
          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            True but we like to make staunch claims that Android is Linux. "Linux after it has been taken into a lab and given a vivisection by Google." is the usual nomenclature. But it's Linux nonetheless. I'm counting it. I am, however, seeing more and more people root them. I've even seen a few with Ubuntu on 'em. You can even buy a Ubuntu phone, it might even work in your country now. There should be some decent tablets. I hear tell that it's possible to get Linux onto a Surface Pro.

            Nah, I think it'll be okay. I r

            • If you wanna count Android, why not also count all the guns that have Linux running in them to improve pinpointing targets? As is well known, gun sales peaked recently, so there are a lot more Linux installations out there - w/o people even asking!

              I wonder whether systemd alone could have everything a gun needs in its AI?

              • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                SystemD improves boot times meaning that your firearm will be ready faster!

                I also don't know how many firearms are using this. I do own a bunch but not one of them has any software on it. (One does have a small hand-held computer that goes with it.) Err... I think that's running QNX, actually.

        • One for me and one for the girlfriend. I poked at it earlier

          How romantic!

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            Heh. She passed out and I stayed up and watched Wonders of the Universe until I fell asleep and then, like an hour ago, she woke me up. She's ill and it is mildly amusing. My kids got her drunk last night. I even had two Rum and Cokes. Alright, I had two glasses of rum and a splash of coke and an ice cube. I should tell her that sex is a cure for hangovers. I just made her some food and coffee so she'll have to cope with that. I'm tired. And grumpy. Technically, my neighbor and his wife are here and she's u

      • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Saturday December 26, 2015 @04:11AM (#51185361)

        Maybe a fan of the Apple/MS Surface/Lumia model? That the OEMs aren't really adding any value and you could just cut the middle man. Because from what I understand that's mainly what they do these days, they take hardware from AMD/nVidia/Intel + various others for screen, touchpad etc., software mainly from Microsoft and outsource the assembly to Foxconn-style assemblers and the support to call centers somewhere. It would probably be pretty bad for Linux users, not sure it'd be all that bad for Windows users. The Surface line seems to be getting pretty good reviews and sell well...

        But the OEMs are what make PCs, well, PCs.

        They are the ones that created (for better or worse) the immense diversity in PCs.

        For an example, look at Apple. Everytime Apple releases a new Mac, people complain - too expensive, or a PC is cheaper, or they don't have X, or they don't sell a $250 laptop, etc. etc. etc.

        Well, that's what OEMs are for - Apple simply picks and chooses the markets they want to sell to. Other OEMs find their own markets. And these days, the results are clear computing wise - we've got more diversity in computing now than ever before - I mean, Windows can be had on a PC costing $100 (tablet or "desktop" compute stick). This is unheard of.

        Yes, for a time the market got stuck - and we were stuck with shitty $500 laptops with 1366x768 screens and nothing to fulfill the high end market. Except Apple who was making a killing selling $1000+ laptops that no OEM wanted to touch and offering high-res screens and GPUs and all t hat. Then Intel formed the Ultrabook market to entice OEMs to produce MacBook Air competitors. Which dragged OEMs into the premium market as well.

        OEMs added value by creating computers that fit their target demographic. Sure sometimes people optimize too well and you hit a local minima (like desktops and laptops being almost all budget and crap), but a push away and now you have OEMs producing higher margin higher end PCs and competing against Apple.

        Heck, remember the netbook craze that completely died away because of tablets? It's sorta making a comeback because you can get really cheap computing devices. And heck, my $100 Windows tablet runs the latest Windows and runs software written for a time when it couldn't be imagined that a computer for $100 was possible. Heck, most of the technologies that power the tablet weren't even thought of.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          Heck, remember the netbook craze that completely died away because of tablets?

          It went MS Windows only overnight remember - after that trade show where the head of ASUS was singing the praises of his netbooks in the morning and APOLOGISING for them in the afternoon after lunch with some MS folk. Big coincidence there because MS never threatens OEMs do they?
          The MS netbooks didn't sustain the craze and it fizzled out. Whether the linux ones could have kept up the sales is a matter of speculation, but up to t

        • But the OEMs are what make PCs, well, PCs.

          They are the ones that created (for better or worse) the immense diversity in PCs.

          For an example, look at Apple. Everytime Apple releases a new Mac, people complain - too expensive, or a PC is cheaper, or they don't have X, or they don't sell a $250 laptop, etc. etc. etc.

          Well, that's what OEMs are for - Apple simply picks and chooses the markets they want to sell to. Other OEMs find their own markets. And these days, the results are clear computing wise - we've got more diversity in computing now than ever before - I mean, Windows can be had on a PC costing $100 (tablet or "desktop" compute stick). This is unheard of.

          Yes, for a time the market got stuck - and we were stuck with shitty $500 laptops with 1366x768 screens and nothing to fulfill the high end market. Except Apple who was making a killing selling $1000+ laptops that no OEM wanted to touch and offering high-res screens and GPUs and all t hat. Then Intel formed the Ultrabook market to entice OEMs to produce MacBook Air competitors. Which dragged OEMs into the premium market as well.

          OEMs added value by creating computers that fit their target demographic. Sure sometimes people optimize too well and you hit a local minima (like desktops and laptops being almost all budget and crap), but a push away and now you have OEMs producing higher margin higher end PCs and competing against Apple.

          Heck, remember the netbook craze that completely died away because of tablets? It's sorta making a comeback because you can get really cheap computing devices. And heck, my $100 Windows tablet runs the latest Windows and runs software written for a time when it couldn't be imagined that a computer for $100 was possible. Heck, most of the technologies that power the tablet weren't even thought of.

          Diverse PCs are history. I remember in the 90s, when there were some hundreds of PC companies - not just our current lot, but companies like Gateway, Compaq, Micron, Midwest Micro, Zeos, Tagram and a whole lot more. Granted, they weren't very inexpensive as the lot today, but the computers they made were reliable. Apple was in a very different market - mostly targeted at publishing, education and kids.

          How things have changed!!! Today, Apple makes the best workstation out there in the market, as we

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Fujitsu had a PC and mobile business?"

    You'd only say that if you were an American who'd never traveled abroad.

  • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Friday December 25, 2015 @08:28PM (#51184289) Homepage Journal

    Endpoint (i.e. PC) security is abysmal and could be taken in several new directions if there was more research done on open hardware, adding security context to UIs and such. Heck, we don't even have PCs and mobiles that represent keys, certs and signatures as first-class objects.... An MS Excel spreadsheet on a Linux desktop is more likely to be properly represented and handled than is a PGP key (on any OS).

    Why not sell people on devices that have on/off switches on all mics and webcams? On wireless transceivers?

    There's lots of room for differentiation in this field.

  • So to be fair, the Thomas Watson prediction was only a few decades off?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I will give credit to IBM, they are able to sell off businesses, before they get extensively commoditized. Desktop PCs in early 90s. Laptops in early 00s. x86 servers. Chip foundaries ~2014. The HP buyout of Compaq seemed to me the time other companies should exit the wintel desktop PC, around 2000. It then became engineers in North America took chips, parts, and software, designed a PC around that, have the actual manufacturing done in China, tech support in the Phillippines. Dell seemed the last holdout,

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      Dell seemed the last holdout, in actually assembling PCs in America in the mid 2000s

      Only because ASUS stopped making stuff for Dell in Taiwan and went their own way in 2005, so Dell had to do it itself for a while.
      www.quora.com/What-is-the-story-of-asus-and-dell

  • Contract manufacturers make most commodity appliances like PCs. The added value of Sony or Fujitsu that is necessary to negotiate with the contract manufacturers becomes a distraction at a certain point, and the "brand" is better off focusing on its core assets.
    • Does Foxconnn make either PCs or laptops? When I worked in the industry, they made things like iPhones, iPads and maybe other peripheral devices. Desktops were largely made by the likes of Asus and Gigabyte, while laptops were done by the likes of Compal, Quanta and Arima.
      • Well, Wistron and Lenovo and Compal and Quanta, sure. More people know Foxconn, which makes more of the displays.
      • by intrico ( 100334 )

        Yes, they do make PC's and laptops. There's been quite a bit of press about the consolidation of computing/peripheral electronics manufacturing over the past several years, and Foxconn is often involved.

  • by n0creativity ( 1913968 ) on Friday December 25, 2015 @10:15PM (#51184639)
    At my last job, the guy who purchased our user level tech was pretty set on Fujitsu laptops. They were significantly more expensive than the alternatives, but every model I used in my 10 years there was feature rich, excellent in build quality, and incredibly reliable. The ultabooks, while not as thin or lightweight as others, still managed to pack 3 or 4 USB ports, a docking station port, a special port for the included external wired NIC, and a full size keyboard. I was pretty disappointed when they decided to switch to the Surface Pro and it's single freaking USB port. As a Sys Admin and fill in network admin (our primary network guy got his undies in a bunch a quit one day), I can't even begin to describe how obnoxious it is to only have 1 USB on your laptop. Need to run to the network closet and diagnose a switch issue? Better bring your surface docking station, power cord, and a small table to setup on... turns out Serial to USB adapters don't play well with a USB hub that's also running a mouse and USB NIC. I actually ended up setting up a RasPi in each switch closet and just left it unplugged until I needed to use it. Fujitsu made great business grade laptops. I can't speak to their mobile devices, but this is a significant loss. I was actually contemplating going with them for the next round of laptop refreshes at my new gig... guess that's not happening. BOOOO! HISSSS!
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      You also have nowadays bluetooth serial adapters.
    • by edis ( 266347 )

      I have still managed to fish out "Made in Germany" of theirs, when needed laptop for clients, while at extremely competitive prices and usually two Windows versions included for complete piece of mind. With many laptops there have been some kind of problem, but did not occurred on theirs, except power jack ruined by some child at somebody's home. Often, choosing laptop from new look at the market, I happened to end with Fujitsu (Siemens) again.

      At this state of things they will be missed for sure.

  • In Japan. BUT between them, and NEC they were my favorite

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