Yes, when was the last time Amazon or Microsoft went into hardware. Of course, the current difficulties of PC manufacturers affords an opportunity to those who are trying to get into hardware to make their move. The price on these businesses is down and that could create a good moment to strike.
The era of PC being everything or PC dominance is ending. Entertainment applications outgrowing work applications. I used to use Vaio for entertainment. Now it would be tablet or smartphone, which also handles emails. Although it may be debated whether a work-capable tablet still counts as a PC.
Sony made great workstation laptops a decade ago (some series had dual core 2.8 GhZ Intel CPU's, Nvidia GPU, 16" screen, wi-fi). Looking at the current Vaio's on the market, it seems that Sony have followed the rest of the market and gone in for the netbook market with screens smaller than 14". Yet, there is still demand for those refurbished high-end laptops. In any other marketplace, Sony always seems to have a high-end product.
I can't see designing my next project on a Smartphone or Tablet. In my daily workload I use Excel, MS Word, Power Point, MS Project, AutoCAD, Sonnet, Microwave Office and CST, and a few more. I don't think a Tablet will cut it.
Also, at home I use a similar assortment of programs. And even there a Tablet won't cut it.
Anyone who thinks PC's are going away is only looking at the teen and Young Adult market where the only thing that matters is staying in touch with their friends.
@zewde yeraswork: I don't know if we can write off PCs just yet...this deal hasn't been reached and even if it is, someone is clearly interested enough in Vaio to try it out.
We can't write the PC off. There is still a substantial market for PCs. What there isn't is growth. The market is for replacements and upgrades, not new sales.
As was pointed out, PCs are commodities and margins are razor thin. You have to sell enormous amounts to make any money, so economies of scale to get lower costs are desireable.
Sony is no longer a brand leader, doesn't possess the economies of scale, and is probably losing money on the line. Sony is like any other high-tech manufacturer: enormous amounts of capital investment are required to stay viable, and to get capital, they must invest where they can get the greatest returns. That isn't the PC market.
It will be interesting to see who does acquire the Viao business. I'm not sure I see Lenovo either, but Fujitsu and Toshiba are still in the business.
I don't know if we can write off PCs just yet...this deal hasn't been reached and even if it is, someone is clearly interested enough in Vaio to try it out. Sony has investments elsewhere, they have a broad product line and they can leverage their offerings to create more advanced solutions. Vaio is an important part of their business, but it's not all that they have and it appears that they would be keeping a share of the business as it currently stands if they were to sell it to this investment fund.