Lenovo Group Ltd, the Chinese company that bought IBM’s flagging PC business for $1.25bn in 2004, yesterday launched its first Lenovo-branded machines outside of China.
The world’s third-largest PC maker hopes the move will help it reach its goal of boosting sales at twice the market rate in order to unseat market leaders, Dell Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co.
The Lenovo 3000 line of PCs includes several desktop and notebook models, housed in a silver-colored case — rather than IBM’s traditional black — aimed at the small- to medium-sized market. Until now, Lenovo-branded machines were sold just in China, while it continued to market the IBM Think brand elsewhere.
The new machines feature built-in tools aimed to help SMEs lower their IT expenses. The features include a one-button virus recovery system, simplified network connectivity and automatic system updates.
Notably, Lenovo is selling two versions of its branded SME desktops: the J100 powered by Intel Corp processors; and the J105 powered by processors from Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
Bart Arnold, AMD worldwide commercial product marketing manager, said AMD machines account for slightly more than 50% of Lenovo desktop sold in China. Now we’re going global in the SME market and I think that both parties see this as a very successful relationship, Arnold said.
For the past two years in China, Lenovo has sold a broader range of AMD-powered desktops, including consumer, SME and enterprise machines, featuring both Athlon and Sempron AMD chips, Arnold said. Outside the country, however, only the J105 SME desktop will be available.
It was the next logical step in the progression with Lenovo to address the SME market, he said. It’s the sector they really wanted to go after.
But Arnold said AMD hopes Lenovo will expand its AMD range overseas at some future point. He declined to comment on whether Lenovo would include AMD versions of any of its notebooks, either in China or elsewhere. He noted that AMD would certainly be in favor of selling its notebook processors to the PC maker.
AMD declined to comment on whether AMD’s highly publicized lawsuit against Intel was a factor in Lenovo’s decision to sell machines from both companies. AMD, of course, is suing Intel for allegedly coercing OEMs to exclusively use Intel product.
Of the Lenovo deal, AMD said it was helping Lenovo meet customer needs. We operate under the premise that our customer’s success is our success, said an AMD legal spokesperson. The same cannot be said of our competitor.
The Lenovo J100 desktop will be sold with either an Intel Pentium 4 or Celeron D processor.
The 3000 line of notebooks are all Intel powered. The C100 model has integrated 802.11 a/b/g wireless LAN, with optional Bluetooth functionality. The C Series includes an Intel 915GM Chipset with either a Pentium M or Celeron M processor. Some models will have Intel’s Centrino technology, Lenovo said.
The Lenovo-branded machines are roughly 10% to 15% cheaper than existing IBM-branded Think PCs.
The Lenovo J105 and J100 laptops start at $349 and $499, respectively. The lowest price tag for a version of the C100 desktop is $599.