Lenovo's Incoming CEO Pledges Channel Continuity


VB: What would you tell current IBM partners who are worried about uncertainty in the channel?
Ward: I would say the partners should not see disruptions at all. What they should see instead is broader product portfolios over time. I will tell you that I've been spending a tremendous amount of time with customers and with key partners like Intel and Microsoft. [There has been an] overwhelming positive response. One customer after another has been signing deals since we made this announcement. I'm very excited about our prospects.

VB: What about concerns that Hewlett-Packard and Dell may now be positioned to make market-share gains at your expense?
Ward: I would say that we've got a tremendous focus on using very competitive pricing of products with innovation. You've seen what growth IBM has had over the last 12 to 18 months. We've been far ahead of our competition. We'll absolutely continue that. And you'll see us over time have a much, much broader product portfolio.

VB: ThinkPad is regarded as a high-quality brand. Is there any chance that Lenovo, which has a reputation as a low-end vendor, might drag it down?
Ward: The CEO of Lenovo worldwide is me, and I'm totally committed to ThinkPad. I managed that brand when we started it up; I'm managing it now. I know what our customers are asking for. I expect you to see a very, very exciting ThinkPad lineup.

VB: Who will run the Lenovo PC operation?
Ward: It'll actually be the IBM PCD team; it'll be the same team that partners have been dealing with all along. We will start with the basic premise of the business partner charter that IBM has. We'll start with a commitment to our partner's business -- a commitment to pass on leads, to pass on opportunities. IBM will continue to have a commitment to business partners to put their solutions into solutions for Lenovo.

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