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IBM sells ThinkPad assembly to Solectron

Agreement includes fulfilment, product launches and more...

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IBM has hived off its portable PCB division and a swathe of intellectual property rights and global agreements to Solectron. The move is a sure sign that IBM is determined to do its own sourcing, and could spell trouble for Taiwanese manufacturers making machines for Big Blue. At the end of December, we reported that both IBM and Compaq were revising their Taiwanese OEM strategies. (Story: Compaq, IBM dump on Taiwanese PC manufacturers) Under the terms of the agreement, Big Blue will sell its electronic card assembly and test operations in Austin, Texas. According to a statement, the companies have also signed agreements governing intellectual property rights and global supply for printed circuit boards assembly for motherboards used in IBM's mobile products manufactured worldwide. These agreements will last three years, said IBM, and will include PCB assembly and testing, physical design, prototyping, new product launches, assembly, volume production, end of life support and life cycle management. On the channel side, Solectron will manage IBM inventories. No financial details of the deal were disclosed. There's more to this than meets the eye, we'll be bound… ®

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