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Vendors target IBM ThinkPad market share

What a carve up!

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Notebook makers are hoping to carve up IBM's mobile market share following the sale of Big Blue's PC division to Chinese vendor Lenovo last month.

HP, for example, is reported to be running an ad campaign in Taiwanese newspapers that promotes its machines as US-developed systems, an approach that clearly plays on the fact that soon IBM ThinkPads won't be made by IBM at all.

The irony is that HP's machines, while designed in the US, are almost entirely made in Taiwan, as are pretty much all of the world's big-brand and no-name notebook computers.

Dell, meanwhile, is said to be preparing to extend its 12.1in notebook line the better to attempt to win business away from IBM's ultra-light X series, DigiTimes reports. A recent letter to Taiwanese businesses claimed "IBM has gone", according to the Chinese-language Economic Daily News.

The site notes a similar thrust from Acer to target potential IBM customers who might be concerned that the Lenovo deal means they won't get a 'true' IBM notebook.

All these companies, and others, are expecting notebook sales to ramp up over the coming months thanks to Intel's launch tomorrow of 'Sonoma', the second generation of Centrino. Slowing sales through the latter part of 2004 have seen channel inventories scaled back, in part paving the way for the new platform.

Taiwanese vendor sources cited by local news services indicate not only the use of Sonoma to push sales at the high end, but to revive lower-end demand, too, by sacrificing some of the platform's more advanced features - such as PCI Express and DDR 2 SDRAM - to keep the price down.

And expect an even greater emphasis on widescreen displays, they say, as vendors increasingly push notebooks at consumers. ®

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