IBM To Sell Lenovo PCs By End Of The Year

The $1.75bn takeover that shocked the IT world is slowly coming together, but how will customers react?

It has all been a little quiet on the IBM/Lenovo front since the Chinese computer maker bought out IBM’s PC business in a $1.25bn deal (Linkout: last year) that gave the IT industry a proverbial headbutt.

Since US regulators approved the deal last week (there were initial security fears over the agreement since IBM supplies a number of US government and security agencies – conspiracy theories anyone?) details have started to emerge.

The biggest announcement is that Lenovo will sell its consumer products through IBM’s corporate sales network before the end of the year. In addition, the all-important sales support, and demand generation services will still be provided through Big Blue’s existing enterprise sales force of over 30,000. We would guess this means Lenovo machines will come with IBM branding, but this detail has yet to be formally announced.

Steve Ward, currently the IBM Senior VP and GM of the companies Personal Systems Group, will serve as the new CEO of Lenovo and he was quick to speak out in an effort to reassure customers about the Chinese computer giant which still remains largely unknown to a western audience.

”“The new Lenovo will be an innovative, international PC company, delivering the best PCs in the industry,””

he said, adding ”“With the review by the U.S. government complete, IBM and Lenovo are moving quickly to integrate the two companies and expect to finalize the transaction in the second quarter, as planned, while continuing to provide customers with world-class PC products and services.””

In addition to Ward, Mark Enzweiler, VP for IBM’s worldwide business partner sales, will continue his role to ease the transition for the new conglomerate. To placate the US government over security fears, Lenovo will buy IBM’s offices in Raleigh, North Carolina and move its inherited IBM staff there as well as giving up access to Big Blue’s list of government clients.

Of course, the big challenge now will be to reassure IBM’s existing customers (as well as all potential ones) that its PCs will maintain the same quality. Naturally, we’ll have to get our grubby mitts on some of its kit to see how it does, but it would be understandable if there is a certain amount of stigma early on.

It is notable that Dell, in particular, has had a huge sales push since the Lenovo deal was first touted and while a recent survey was highlighted by IBM suggesting that more than 90 per cent of its customers were “favourably disposed” towards the transaction generally, there are several real world elements to figure in. One, is it easier to tell a porky when you are an IBM customer being quizzed about these things while waiting to see how the land lies. Two, who ran the pole – was it inhouse?

From TR’s point of view, we hope it all goes swimmingly because IBM has made cracking PCs in the past and no one wants to see the number of quality machines in the market decrease. Besides, there should be some awesome deals during the settling in period!


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