New brand to broaden portfolio

Lenovo is to launch a new brand of desktops and notebooks in an attempt to establish itself in the SMB and consumer markets. While firm plans are not yet in place, the new products should be available to resellers early next year.

The new brand will be aimed at consumer and SMB buyers as a way of protecting the enterprise branding of the ThinkCentre and ThinkPad monikers it picked up through its acquisition of IBM's PC division at the end of last year.

It is one of the most significant announcements made by the new entity since the $US1.25 billion buyout was announced back in December. IBM pulled out of the consumer computer market back in 2001 to concentrate on commercial sales.

Vice-president of worldwide channel strategy and sales, Mark Enzweiler, said Lenovo would be significantly expanding its range of products to tackle different segments of the market.

"Lenovo has traditionally sold computers across a broad spectrum from individuals all the way up to enterprise," he said. "But most of its sales have been to large medium enterprise and below. There has been some overlap between Lenovo and IBM in the past but now we want to make the portfolio much broader. That's great news for resellers because they will get to play in more sales. It will also give them an opportunity to build up the services side because small businesses don't have IT shops. Many partners around the world have seen their business model shift toward services in the past few years."

It is not clear at this stage how far downmarket Lenovo will be willing to play but Enzweiler said it would not be drawn into a price war at the bottom. Competition in the local notebook market has become fierce recently with several new vendors entering the fray. The entry-level market has been particularly competitive since Acer broke the $1000 barrier back in June.

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