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Lenovo's Big Chance

Lenovo reports third-quarter earnings on Nov. 9 (at 3:15 a.m. Eastern Time, from Hong Kong), and the Raleigh, N.C.-based PC maker has a chance to step out of the shadows.

(You can tune in to the webcast here, if you are in the U.S. and have insomnia.)

The first big shadow is IBM's. Lenovo announced almost two years ago that it would buy the former IBM PC company and its vaunted ThinkPad brand. As part of that deal, the company had a limited time following the acquisition to use the IBM logo on its products. We could hear more on Thursday about Lenovo's plans for the IBM logo -- namely, any plans to drop it. This year, Lenovo has paid big bucks to market the Lenovo brand at the Olympics, with Coca-Cola and with the National Basketball association.

Martin Kariithi, an analyst with Technology Business research, writes in a research note that "Lenovo is wisely decreasing its dependence on the IBM brand."

The second shadow for Lenovo is that cast by other PC makers ahead of it on the market share food chain. Notably, Dell and Gateway have both struggled to meet financial expectations and exhibit growth. Last week, Gateway announced its direct sales dropped 44 percent in its most recent quarter. Dell reports earnings next week, but in its most recent prior quarter it sales growth slumped to about 5 percent.

Kariithi says he "expects (Lenovo) to see a decline in gross margins due to increased competition and (average selling price) erosion."

Lenovo's earnings since last year have reflected the struggles of a company born in China trying to grow all over the world, in a tough, competitive environment.

At 3:15 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, the market will start to learn if Lenovo is starting to move into the spotlight on its own.

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