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PC blade maker ClearCube has picked up a major partner with Lenovo - aka Big Red - agreeing to sell the company's products.

ClearCube leads the rather tiny market for PC-less PCs. It basically removes the need for a desktop by filling server racks full of blade systems. It then runs cabling for mice, monitors and keyboards back into the office. This frees the end user from having a noisy clunker by their feet and lets administrators fiddle with the systems in the server room instead of dealing with individual desktops. The idea isn't too far from thin-client computing that companies such as Sun Microsystems and Oracle have flogged for ages in their so far fruitless quest to humble Microsoft.

Lenovo - the Chinese hardware maker based in North Carolina that recently acquired IBM's PC division - will market and resell ClearCube-branded systems. This deal includes both the blade hardware and management software.

"The addition of PC blades from ClearCube into our Think product portfolio expands our solutions from the end-user' desk to the data center," said Bob Galush, a vice president at Lenovo. "This announcement demonstrates our ongoing dedication to supply our business customers with the strongest, most innovative PC solutions on the market."

It also demonstrates Lenovo's willingness to go after customers Dell has shunned.

Thin clients and PC blades require a serious sales organization. It's pretty easy for customers to buy the same PCs they've been buying for years and look to Dell, HP and others to compete on cost and technology. The new guys must explain why this approach is wrong, why PCs should be ripped out and why some start-up should be your trusted technology supplier instead of, say, Dell.

Having Lenovo/IBM behind it could make this an easier sell for ClearCube. But, heck, a great brand and trusted support hasn't done much for Sun. ®

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