Lenovo goes thin on laptop and high on margins

Muskoka, Ont. – Lenovo Canada has made a serious play for the mind share of the SMB market with channel offer of 20 per cent margins on its new product line.

According to Jay McBain, director, Americas small and medium business for Lenovo, when a reseller sells $500 worth of Lenovo SMB-targeted product they’ll get a cheque cut for 20 per cent of those sales. For those who sell $5,000, a cheque for $400 will be sent to them. And, for those who sell $10,000, it will be a $600 cheque.

There will also be no strings attached to these rebates, McBain said. Resellers don’t have to sign up, nor do they have to apply to Lenovo in writing to get this money and there are no other terms or conditions on this offer. Lenovo will get the information from the distributors.

This week, Lenovo announced three new PC models specifically targeted at the SMB market highlighted by the release of a new IdeaPad U350 that balances the thin and light-style notebooks.

“The thin book will outsell the Netbook,” McBain said, citing a statement made by Intel where they reported 75 per cent of US PC market was interested in the ultra-low voltage family.

The IdeaPad U350 is encased in a sleek silver shell, weighs 3.5 pounds and measures one inch thick. The notebook inside has the latest entertainment and computing features, such as a 16:9 aspect ratio high definition 13.3 inch LED panel and an HDMI connector.

It also has an Ambient Light Sensor, which automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness according to the lighting environment. This helps preserve battery life. The built-in Dolby Sound Room complements the video features. Special to the IdeaPad is VeriFace facial recognition technology that can enable a user to make their face their password.

Other features include a camera for video messaging or Skype through the laptop’s WiFi connectivity.

In the past, Lenovo, because of its IBM legacy, was considered a large enterprise player, but McBain is working to change its image. The company has spent the last six months tripling its product portfolio to become more relevant in the SMB.

“That legend of IBM kept dragging us down in the price sell, and now we’ve shifted it,” he said. With this change in philosophy, Lenovo streamlined its channel programs from 25 down to six. Those six programs have also seen a reduction in the amount of documentation.

“We have SMB-dedicated machines in every price sell and in many ways we are the opening price point,” McBain added.

Another goal of Lenovo is to dramatically increase its channel network in Canada. Currently, they have more than 200 active partners, and McBain wants to increase that by 1,000 in the next 12 months.

They do have 2,000 signed-up, but McBain says really 200 to 300 are active and transacting.

One area Lenovo wants to be a leader in is in managed services. “We’re not a threat to any partner in this area,” McBain said. “We can partner with Kaseya, LPI and N-Able and we can wrap around our product with an MSP offering without competing with the channel unlike Dell, which bought Silverback,” he said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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