CRN Exclusive: Lenovo Channel Chief Kinlaw On New Data Center Tier Structure And The PC Battle With Dell, HP Inc.

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A Horse In The Race

Sammy Kinlaw wants Lenovo's channel partners to closely assess which vendors they're working with and why. The Lenovo channel chief says the Beijing, China-based company has its eye on big-time growth in the North American PC market, and he's making some adjustments to his program in order to spark growth in the data center.

"Are you hitching your wagon to a horse that's going to climb and grow? In PCs, I want to be 20 percent [market share] in North America, and I need to do that in short order, meaning two-plus years," Kinlaw said in an interview with CRN.

Lenovo reported global sales declines in the data center, but its PC performance in North America helped it to modest worldwide growth in that business line. While Lenovo has gained traction in the North American PC market, it has struggled to put together an effective data center strategy since its acquisition about two years ago of IBM's x86 server business.

Now, Kinlaw is organizing Lenovo's Data Center Group partners into tiers for the first time with an eye toward more clearly incentivizing partners to push Lenovo data center solutions in the face of heavy competition from Dell EMC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

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