Toshiba: Japan's troubled megacorp facing buyout drama

By Etienne BALMER

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I had one of the first Toshiba laptops -- seems so primitive compared to the MacBook Air on which I'm typing this -- but back in the 1980s things like RAM, storage capacity and battery life were only a fraction of what they are today. The company was famous for developing a Japanese-language word processor, back in the days when data entry had to be done by dedicated units instead of PCs running TwinStar or other software. Over the years, I've had other Toshiba appliances, like a refrigerator, electric fan, etc. As in the case of its rival Japanese brands (Mitsubishi, National-Panasonic, Hitachi, NEC, Funai, Sanyo, Sharp, etc.) in the Showa era, they were generally reliable and got the job done. Clearly it does not bode well for Japan's economy to have an enterprise of this scale be broken up and sold off.

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My first laptop was a toshiba and it spent most of its life in their service center, it was utter rubbish and that along with their terrible customer service turned me off toshiba products for LIFE . I have never ever touched another one of their devices ever, fridge tv, iron nothing ever !!

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Seems they’re kind of f-Ed. This is what happens when bad management has a weak Board of Directors and the company president treats the Balance Sheet as if it’s Monopoly money.

I haven’t been following it closely so I was not aware of the magnitude of the problem, but it seems destined to fail in the absence of a takeover which I cannot imagine the government allowing (the current private equity bidder, that is).

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Toshiba lost me when they sold a very special high tech milling machine to the Soviets which incorporated US licensed technology that was never supposed to be sold to the Soviets. That milling machine let the Soviets mill much smoother propellers for their submarines, allowing them to run more quietly than was possible with the cruder Soviet designed equipment. It was a huge loss that greatly reduced the US, Japanese and other allied navy's advantage in quieting and made finding and tracking Soviet subs much more difficult. A pox on the house of Toshiba!

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