Samsung shuts down European laptop, Chromebook sales amid PC industry turmoil

Credit: ROBERT CARDIN

The PC market's war of attrition has just claimed another casualty. Samsung is shutting down its laptop operations in Europe—including Chromebooks—according to a report from PC Advisor.

The culling occurs mere months after Sony sold off its Vaio line, and days after HP and Dell were each rumored to hold merger talks with EMC in an attempt to diversify after years of PC market downturn.

"We quickly adapt to market needs and demands," a Samsung spokesperson told PC Advisor. "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."

"Not necessarily?" I've reached out to a PR representative for comment on the U.S. situation and will update this article when I hear back.

PC sales have been slumping ever since the iPad's introduction, battered on all sides by the rise of mobile, the general economic downturn, a slowdown in the pace of performance improvements, and the PC's steady transformation into an appliance. Analysts expect sales to smooth out soon, but never return to the surging growth of the pre-tablet days.

Another one bites the dust

Samsung's own story seems largely similar to Sony's. The company's laptop lineup mostly consists of high-end models like the ATIV Book 9: sleek, premium machines, with Apple-like prices—just like Vaio PCs. That's a rough place to occupy in a world where the masses are buying cheaper laptops, and Macs gobble up roughly 90 percent of sales of all $1,000-plus notebooks.

Making matters worse, European laptop sales in particular have struggled mightily over the past few years. Samsung seems wise to ditch a money-losing PC venture to focus on extending its Android dominance.

PCs aren't going away, no matter what some pundits might shout, but individual PC makers might be. (Heck, HP already tried before changing its mind.) Expect to see even more upheaval and fallen giants before everything settles down.

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