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VAIO, Toshiba and Fujitsu set to merge into a PC giant


A new challenger?

VAIO, Toshiba and Fujitsu are getting ready to join forces like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, to make the PC equivalent of a Megazord.

According to Bloomberg News, VAIO is close to closing a deal that would see it combine with the PC arms of Toshiba and Fujitsu. The resulting company would be a real challenger to Lenovo NEC, Japan's biggest PC maker.

This looks like more than just hearsay. Hidemi Moue, CEO of Japan Industrial Partners – which owns VAIO – says the deal should be announced by the end of March.

It would see VAIO owning the biggest stake in the new company, but would also save all three firms money on research and development and scale production.

Similar mergers have taken place with Japanese display makers and semiconductor firms. Like those industries, the PC market is facing a squeeze, as people prefer to work and browse using smartphones and tablets.

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"The PC market is shrinking, which means there are merits in working together to make the most of research, production volumes and marketing channels," Moue said. "We can do it with minimal cannibalisation."

VAIO is the spinoff from Sony's former brand, and now makes quite nice-looking laptops and smartphones for the Japanese market. Toshiba had a tough year last year, cutting almost 8,000 jobs following an accounting scandal. It said it wouldn't stop making PCs, but would consider alliances with other companies as a way forward. Which bolsters this report somewhat.

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