My Sony Vaio laptop was one of the best laptops I have ever owned.  It’s high-end, rugged, dependable and well built.  As described to me by a Sony rep, their expensive, high-end laptops are built so well, users only replace them every five or six years.  Sony finds it hard to compete against low end, cheaper products that break after one or two years, are hundreds of dollars cheaper, and are replaced on a more regular (1)

Sony (NYSE:SNE) has announced a deal to sell its Vaio PC business to Japan Industrial Partners, a company that specializes in manufacturing sector investment and turnaround. Revelations that Sony is closing the kimono on its PC business leaves more than a few bloggers shocked. Earlier in the week, rumors of a Vaio buyout by Lenovo proved false, driving down Lenovo shares by 16% before Sony issued a statement denying such gossip.

More interesting than the sale itself is the way it’s going to happen. Instead of just picking up where Sony left off, a new company formed by Japan Industrial Partners will drastically scale back operations after the deal goes through next month. At first, the company will only offer PCs in Japan as it retools the old business. It’s unclear when sales will expand to other regions, if at all.

Sony’s PC business isn’t some tiny operation. The company sold 7.5 million units last year, and its products are available all around the world. That won’t be the case for much longer. Sony still plans to launch its spring product lineup and support existing customers, but after that the company will stop manufacturing new PCs, discontinue sales and cut off new product design and development.