Partners: IBM x86 Sale Approval Could Set Off Security Questions For Lenovo

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Solution provider partners said Friday that regulatory approval of the $2.3 billion sale of IBM’s x86 business to Lenovo is just the start of looming security questions that Lenovo will face as it attempts to gain a foothold in the data center.

“When you look at markets like aerospace and defense where IBM has traditionally had a strong foothold, it is going to be a big challenge for Lenovo,” said Bob Venero, the CEO of Future Tech, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider and No. 211 on the SP500. “I think you are going to see an exodus out of the gate in those markets because of the fear of potential data leakage and data security risk.”

The more sensitive the data, the bigger the challenge for Lenovo, Venero told CRN.

[Related: IBM Counters FUD Over x86 Sale: Talks China Fears And Lost Market Share]

IBM said late Friday it had received approval for the sale of its x86 server business to Chinese computer giant Lenovo from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

“The clearance by CFIUS of this transaction is good news for both IBM and Lenovo, and for our customers and employees,” IBM said in a statement.  “The parties now look forward to closing the transaction.”

The real battle will now be fought in the sales trenches with solution providers teaming with Lenovo to convince customers that data security is not an issue, solution providers told CRN.

“In the data center where customers have a lot of confidential internal data, there is a lot of questions that have to be answered by Lenovo,” Venero said. “They have to get customers comfortable with the potential of having a data center that is with a predominately Chinese-owned company. They have to deal with that.”

Chris Pyle, president and CEO of Boca Raton, Fla.-based solution provider Champion Solutions Group, agreed that security questions will be an issue for Lenovo and its partners.

"Sure it will raise more questions with some of our customers," Pyle said. "From a partner perspective that's not such a bad thing. Whenever we get a chance to talk to our customers, that's a good thing. At the end of the day, we'll just listen to our customers."

Pyle said regulatory approval of the deal is a plus for IBM, Lenovo and the partners of both companies.

NEXT:Lenovo Faces IBM x86 Server Sale Integration Challenges

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