Toshiba cuts over 14,000 jobs worldwide

Over the past few months, we've been reporting on financial troubles at Toshiba. In December, the company announced its intent to lay off 7,800 workers in 2016 as part of a plan to stabilize its business. That news was bad enough on its own, but according to Nikkei Asian Review, Toshiba has announced that it now plans to cut over 14,000 jobs, or almost double the number it projected in its December announcement.

7,610 of the jobs on the chopping block come from Toshiba's "lifestyle" division, which handles consumer electronics and PCs. Most of the remaining cuts come from the company's semiconductor division. Nikkei Asian Review says 4,590 employees in that division lost their jobs. Another 3,449 employees accepted early retirement packages, the site reports. Before today's announcement, Toshiba employed about 198,741 people worldwide, according to the company's corporate website.

Hot on the heels of this news comes a rumor that merger talks among Toshiba, Vaio, and Fujitsu’s PC divisions have stalled, potentially signaling more problems for the struggling company. The merger was billed as a way to reduce costs for the three Japanese OEMs as the global PC market faltered, but Nikkei Asian Review says Fujitsu and Japan Industrial Partners (the majority stakeholder in Vaio) pulled out of the talks after deciding that continued negotiations wouldn't be fruitful.

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    • TheJack
    • 3 years ago

    Problem is ( one of them ) quality no longer pays. Planned obsolescence is what it is all about now. Go figure!

      • Kretschmer
      • 3 years ago

      I would never, ever associate “Vaio” with “PC quality”.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Part of the problem with these old-school name-brands (Toshiba, Sony, Sharp, Panasonic, – and even to some extent LG and Samsung) is that they can’t distinguish themselves from the cheaper brands through technical advantage anymore.

    In the case of consumer devices like TVs, laptops, peripherals etc, they’re all made in China the same way the cheaper chinese stuff is made anyway. In some cases they’re literally just rebadging something, say a generic Chinese laptop made by Compal or similar anyway.

    So, to try and justify their premium brand they do irritating things such as replacing industry-standard features with their own fancy buzzwords; eg HDMI-CEC is called AnyNet+ or AquosLink despite being plain-jane CEC. Interfaces and menus are all bespoke, skinned, customised, counter-intuitively rearranged and full of vendor-bloat when instead people just want stock Windows, stock Android, stock [i<]Whatever[/i<]. To me, (and based on sales slumps, many others too) it's all smoke and mirrors - something people aren't dumb enough to get fooled by anymore. The days of buying electronics and having them last for twenty years are gone - to be replaced with things like fast product cycles and built-in-obsolescence. When those are the driving factors, peformance/$ is right up there with ease of use and the old guard frequently fails here. Sometimes they fail [i<]hard[/i<] The tech makers should stick to their core business of producing what is unique to them. Any company can source parts from elsewhere and assemble them into some injection-moulded plastic, so Toshiba should stick to NAND and large-scale infrastructure where they're not being undercut by race-to-the-bottom chinese. Fujitsu have the option of doing the same. Sony may be the worst-off but they seem to have managed to hang onto the premium Smartphone market which has phenomenal profit margins. Am I just ranting or do others feel the winds changing the same way?

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      I think the simpler explanation is that all Japanese exporters are hurt by a disinflationary to deflationary economy that has resulted in a strong yen. This has been going on for about 20 years.

      That explanation seems much more plausible to me than all Japanese companies simultaneously becoming stupid.

      Having said that, I don’t necessarily disagree with critiques of bad decisions by individual companies. But all companies make bad decisions. Take some of the most successful American companies — Apple, Intel, Google, Microsoft — and we can generate a list of terrible decisions that they have made over the last 15 years. If the US had spent the last 20 years in the kind of disinflationary/deflationary trap that the Japanese have been in, then these top American companies would be looking pretty bad too.

        • Kretschmer
        • 3 years ago

        I don’t think that he’s discussing missteps as much as a lack of comparative advantage. In the age of analog build quality was king and features were often proprietary to each firm. How do you differentiate when your PC is one of dozens of brands with an Intel CPU, Crucial RAM, Samsung SSD, et cetera? These commodity parts reduce the ability of OEMs to differentiate, and Japanese brands require far higher margins to stay profitable. Differentiation done poorly (skin ALL THE THINGS, for example), actually reduces appeal. It’s a tough situation to be in, and these firms may either die or embrace technology that is driven by in-house R&D.

      • oldog
      • 3 years ago

      My first Japanese made Pany plasma TV that cost a small fortune still worked when I donated it to the local thrift shop 10 years after purchase.

      I replaced it with another Pany plasma that died after 3 years, followed by a Vizio that just had the motherboard and power supply changed 4 months after purchase.

      No question in my mind, the quality of new consumer electronics is shockingly poor.

        • kn00tcn
        • 3 years ago

        i cant follow that logic, you didnt specify if the individual models were supposed to be high end or low end, what pricing, if the second or vizio were ‘japanese made’, if we’re to assume you havent moved & the room temperature is the same with no shelf obstructions, not to mention that it’s ONLY three individual units to make the entire statistics

        i have some crappy insignia (not my choice) that’s running for a few years, but i cant say it or the brand or anything is reliable

        the only thing i can boast is a JVC vcr & tv that each lasted ~14 & 20+ years, or ironically a maxtor from 1994 that can still work now (after being in use for 10 years & even the casing was opened a few years ago)

        (side note: i feel like i remember reading that pioneer was a good plasma brand)

          • oldog
          • 3 years ago

          The original plasma was Japanese made. The last two TVs were not.

          I have a wonderful Japanese Zojirushi water boiler that has been in continuous service for years. The Zoji I bought my son for college was also by Zoji but Chinese made. The quality of that machine was poor at best.

          Yes these are isolated examples but I am old enough to have purchased a Japanese made baseball glove in the 1960’s that was better than anything the Americans were making at the time. I still remember being impressed that “made in Japan” was such high quality.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Just came back from a beach resort vacation. Our room there had a Toshiba LCD TV and I was like, “Toshiba, Toshiba… Well, that’s a break from the usual Samsung and LG TVs. They must’ve cut a nice deal on a bunch of these.”

    I then remembered having a Toshiba radio cassette player back in the 80’s.

    • south side sammy
    • 3 years ago

    last of the reliable HD’s.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      HDDs have never been reliable in the first place. They are just victims of becoming commoditized goods being sold at razor-thin margins.

      • chµck
      • 3 years ago

      HGST has the lowest failure rate, no?

        • Kougar
        • 3 years ago

        Before WD bought them, sure. Now Hitachi drives use the exact same hardware as the WD ones, even the cover plate designs are identical.

          • TwoEars
          • 3 years ago

          Don’t know about the consumer drives but the enterprise drives are still the same as before. I’m using HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 myself, very nice drives.

            • Kougar
            • 3 years ago

            Same drives.

            [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA5EM1R02947&cm_re=Ultrastar_7K4000-_-22-145-876-_-Product[/url<] [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA6ZP3ZP8819&cm_re=western_digital_red-_-22-235-065-_-Product[/url<]

          • MOSFET
          • 3 years ago

          HGST -> WD

          Hitachi -> Toshiba

    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    imho, its not just their problem. its a problem of all japanese companies. their products are being undercut by competing cheap cr@p brands made in china that’s being marketed/advertised globally, something that previously couldnt be done easily without the internets. even though they’ve jumped on the same ship and are trying to sell based on their namebrand, japanese QC is not the same as it used to be. /end rant

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      Thing is it’s been a while since I, personally, have associated Toshiba with better-than-Chinese-junk PCs. There have been several Toshiba laptops in my family and they’ve all died before their useful life expired.

      Edit: more often than not its been total motherboard failures but one instance was the Toshiba-branded hard drive. And that machine got a WD that lasted until the motherboard died and it quit POSTing.

        • torquer
        • 3 years ago

        Agreed. Toshiba laptops back in the 90s were a standard of reliability and quality bested only by Thinkpads. Now they are worse than Acer. Hard to charge a brand premium when you’re selling turds.

        Also, when was the last time you thought to yourself “oooh this must be good, its Japanese made” outside capacitors on motherboards? I’m not saying Japanese stuff is inherently bad, just that back in the 80s and early 90s it had a lot more mindshare. Then a few Korean companies came along and whooped them in a bunch of markets.

          • ronch
          • 3 years ago

          When it comes to cars Japanese names still hold the standard. Of course not all of them are bulletproof but many names like Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda still top the charts. And that’s saying a lot given how much their cars sell for. I still wouldn’t trust Korean cars like Hyundai and Kia. These Korean brands have come a loooooonnngggg way but a friend of mine who fixes cars still advises against them. Hyundied and Killed In Action, he says. And where I live, they’re no cheaper than the Japanese brands.

            • Solean
            • 3 years ago

            I agree. Kinda.

            In Europe, after German cars, the Japanese ones are regarded as the best.

            • DreadCthulhu
            • 3 years ago

            Well, here in America, German cars (well, sans Volkswagen) carry quite a bit of brand prestige, but aren’t exactly known for their reliability. Oddly though, I think their lack of reliability & expensive repairs actually helps with their brand prestige – poor people who want something flashy and/or comfy can afford to run a 10-15 year old Cadillac or Lexus but would have a hard time trying to keep a similarly aged BMW/Audi/Mercedes going.

            Having less poor people driving the older ones (and the poor people who do drive older German cars are usually the competent, fix-it themselves types) then enhances the value of a new German car as a status symbol.

            • torquer
            • 3 years ago

            You’re not wrong, though Toyota has been slipping a bit. I was more referencing consumer electronics. Again not saying they have a bad reputation, but they aren’t necessarily thought of as the gold standard the way they were 20-30 years ago. I say this of course as the proud owner of a Sony TV :p

            • ronch
            • 3 years ago

            True. Samsung just knows a lot more about baking in some ‘wow factor’ into their products. Maybe most of Sony’s Japanese designers are older people? Or does Samsung simply spend more money on design and styling? Or have the Japanese simply been stuck at making stuff the same way over and over again, trapped and unable to break free from this paradigm?

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      The yen has been a drag for a very long time.

        • chµck
        • 3 years ago

        inflation should be helping japanese exports

          • blastdoor
          • 3 years ago

          Despite the government efforts, there is no inflation to speak of

          [url<]http://www.tradingeconomics.com/japan/inflation-cpi/forecast[/url<]

      • Solean
      • 3 years ago

      My guess is that the japanese stuff these days, most consumer stuff, is made in China.

        • ronch
        • 3 years ago

        True. The REAL Made in Japan stuff are still built really solid. The Japanese really do still have an eye for quality and detail.

        • chµck
        • 3 years ago

        Manufacturing is actually slowly shifting to vietnam. But like ronch said, I would prefer made in japan.

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