IBM puts new efforts behind PC division

Laptop push

IBM has responded to doubts over its commitment to its PC business and used the Comdex trade show to put new focus on the division.

It plans a major advertising and marketing campaign behind its PCs, particularly its laptops, and will integrate the PC group more tightly with other operations, enabling it to work closely with the software, financing and R&D units. This will strengthen the products, especially for enterprise users, compared to PCs from vendors without such surrounding resources.

IBM also released a series of software applications to make its PCs easier to use, including the hard drive recovery system Rapid Restore and Access Connections, a function for sniffing out the best Wi-Fi connection in a room.

It is a long way from IBM’s PC heyday in the 1980s. The division lost almost $1bn in 1998, leading to calls from analysts ever since that it quit the market.

In the third quarter of this year, IBM had 5.3 per cent of the global market by unit shipments, well behind Dell on 15.3 per cent and Hewlett Packard on 15.1 per cent. However, IBM does not sell to the consumer market and in the business space only, its share is closer to that of its rivals. IBM ships more laptops than desktops – although a smaller market overall, these command higher margins.

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