Hitachi to exit consumer PC business

Hitachi is pulling out of the competitive consumer desktop PC market in Japan, it said Tuesday.

The move, while symbolic, shouldn't have a major effect on the company or its business in Japan, because PCs account for only a fraction of its revenues.

The company had a 5.8% market share in the last quarter of 2006, putting it just behind Sony as the country's No. 7 PC vendor, according to IDC, although that number includes business-use PCs.

Production of the business-use models is largely handled by HP, and operations will continue. Hitachi will also continue to make some business PCs in-house, including thin-client models that don't have hard-disk drives, although its production of consumer-use PCs has stopped.

Hitachi sells consumer-use PCs under the Prius brand in Japan and offers three main models. The Prius W desktop has a 20-inch display and packs a digital TV tuner and video recording ability so it can double as both a PC and audio-visual system. The Prius S is a more conventional desktop with a 17-inch screen and the Prius K is a laptop.

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