While the ink has barely dried on Lenovo’s contract to buy of IBM’s
PC business, executives are already
claiming victory for their customers and partners.
Deepak Advani, who has just been named chief marketing officer of the new company, told internetnews.com IBM’s personal computer
business is all but guaranteed a smooth transition because very little will change in the short term.
“We’ve done a lot of research before making this announcement to get a better sense of why people buy,” Advani said. “They love the products. They love the quality. They love the support. That isn’t changing. The team that did the design on the ThinkPad and Think Center desktop will continue to do just that. The manufacturing groups will continue to operate right where they are.”
Lenovo and IBM are taking a phased implementation, with products
continuing to use the IBM logo as the primary brand for the next five
years. That will transition to an IBM endorsement of a Lenovo-branded
product and eventually a Lenovo-specific product.
IBM is trying to spread the message to partners quickly as rivals
circle like sharks around the changes to the estimated $14 billion U.S. enterprise PC marketplace that Lenovo is entering.
Analysts have been chiming in with their opinions since the lid was lifted on the $1.25 billion cash and stock deal Tuesday night. Most are advising clients to review their desktop needs, as both HP
are sure to offer enticing trade-up deals to IBM’s existing customers concerned about a new
provider taking over.
Advani said the pact is a far cry from the HP-Compaq merger as IBM picked a partner that had a strong brand with better with access to distribution channels in Asia-Pacific and around the world.
“We are seeing great synergies because have very limited overlap in products, customers, or country served, which is one of the main reasons we chose them,” Advani told internetnews.com. “If you look at the total market, Lenovo has a strong presence in the consumer market. For IBM, more than half of our PC business comes from corporate accounts.
“What we plan on doing is a product portfolio for mid-market as well as
consumer mid market. We’ll be bringing some of out consumer products for
consumer over to China on a selective basis. The new company will have
34 percent market share in China, the second largest behind United
Another incentive is that IBM can now escape some of its binding
contracts with Microsoft
. Advani said IBM would continue to use Windows on x86
architectures for the initial part of the deal. He declined to speculate
on a future using IBM’s Power PC chips running under a Linux
distribution like China’s Red Flag.
“We haven’t gotten into that dialogue yet,” he said.
One advantage IBM has, according to Advani, is that the company is
wrapping its financing and maintenance around Lenovo’s hardware. Under
the terms of the deal, IBM Global Services will continue to provide
remote customer support, maintenance, and other PC related technical
support to Lenovo’s clients.
In addition, Lenovo will pay IBM a fee to provide warranty support
for Lenovo PCs. Lenovo will receive a sales fee to provide added
incentive to sell financing and PC related support services. And, Lenovo
will be the preferred supplier of PCs to IBM.
“This is more than a sale. It is an alliance,” Advani said. “If you
are an IBM ThinkPad or Think Center customer or partner, not a lot has
changed. In fact, things will get better because there will be more
opportunities going forward.”
Big Blue is also not being stingy when it comes to its dedicated
sales force of approximately 30,000 professionals. Advani said IBM will
receive a sales fee based on a percentage of Lenovo’s sales. The company
will then compensate the teams in exactly the same way it has in the