Samsung this week announced that it is halting the sale of its laptop computers in Europe, citing a shift in "market needs and demands." But this change isn't about a lessening in demand for Windows per se, as Samsung is halting all laptop sales, including those of its Chromebooks. And Samsung will continue selling its laptops in all other markets.
"We quickly adapt to market needs and demands," a Samsung statement explains. "In Europe, we will be discontinuing sales of laptops including Chromebooks for now. This is specific to the region and is not necessarily reflective of conditions in other markets. We will continue to thoroughly evaluate market conditions and will make further adjustments to maintain our competitiveness in emerging PC categories."
It's hard to know how to take this news.
On the one hand, Samsung is only the latest in a string of PC makers that have scaled back operations. Sony announced that it would leave the PC market earlier this year and cut 5,000 jobs. And Toshiba recently revealed that it would halt sales to consumers, though a representative from that firm later told me the news doesn't impact the United States: "The US consumer business will remain intact and we will continue our focus both on the consumer and enterprise markets [in the United States]," I was told.
More anecdotally, I'd coincidentally been wondering about Samsung's PC business. In 2012 I purchased a 15-inch Samsung Ultrabook from the Microsoft Store, which was a bit expensive at $1300, but warranted the price, I thought, for its large screen and premium build quality. But when I began examining the firm's updated versions of this product, I saw that the price had jumped, and considerably, to about $1800. I simply couldn't justify the cost, and am still looking.
Looking at Samsung's personal computing product lineup, it's not hard to understand that the firm sees much bigger successes around the world with smart phones, in particular, and with tablets than it does with traditional form factor PCs. A focus on these devices, and on the Android mobile OS, is perhaps the obvious strategy, though Samsung is oddly hedging its mobile bets by also backing the outlier Tizen OS as well.