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Blackberry Businesses Canada China News

Lenovo Could Take Over RIM 114

judgecorp writes "China's Lenovo could take over RIM, according to Lenovo chief financial officer Wong Mai Ming, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. The Canadian authorities might object, and so might BlackBerry users, after what ultimately happened to the ThinkPad brand under Lenovo's guidance. Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said, 'It’s something that we would look carefully at. We always look at foreign investment in Canada as a cause for reflection. We have to look at intelligence concerns.'"
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Lenovo Could Take Over RIM

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  • What happened? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gtirloni ( 1531285 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @11:56AM (#42691289)
    after what ultimately happened to the ThinkPad brand under Lenovo's guidance

    You mean, they would object if RIM devices kept working as before?
    • by JackL ( 39506 )

      I was wondering that as well.

      • The question in my mind is why lenovo would want to acquire RIM at all. It's like adopting the mangiest, sickliest animal at the shelter.

        • Uh, China + secure (other) government email = large subsidy from China govt.

        • Re:What happened? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @01:13PM (#42692379)

          The question in my mind is why lenovo would want to acquire RIM at all

          "Traditional" computing platform sales continue to flatline (Notebooks / Desktops). Lenovo's attempts at a tablet have, to date, flopped. RIM is currently undervalued and still sells millions of handsets. It's a quick jumpstart into the mobile business for Lenovo.

          • By "flatline", do you mean that no one buys these items anymore?

            Or, by "flatline", do you mean that the market is no longer growing?

            See, "flatline" is a medical term, to me, implying someone is dead, dead, dead. Obviously, laptop and desktops aren't "dead, dead, dead" because millions of us use them. Newegg and other retailers still offer and sell them.

            Using the term to describe markets that no longer enjoy astronomical growth is misleading at best, and probably dishonest.

            • Flatline is used commonly in business speak to refer to a market that no longer sees growth. It isn't misleading, you're just using a different context.

              However, the connotation you've brought from the medical field is purposely intended. Under the current Commandments of United States Capitalism, failure to grow over last year is a precursor to a long drawn out death spiral that will cost investors a lot. Whether this should be the way of things or not, is beyond the scope of whether or not this term i

              • I think the death spiral is due to the fact that fewer and fewer people buy these items each year, items which were sold on razor-thin margins anyway.

          • Maybe flat but not flatlining. That's RIM. Some facts.

            Lenovo’s market share is growing in the beige box market.

            The market for beige boxes is flat - i.e. with little to low growth. Partly due to market saturation in the developing market, partly because the emerging market is jumping straight to tables & smartphones.

            The market for beige boxes is a commodity market. Sure, there is some difference – particularly in the lap top side, but not much. Mainly it about competing by being more efficien

        • The question in my mind is why lenovo would want to acquire RIM at all. It's like adopting the mangiest, sickliest animal at the shelter.


    • Re:What happened? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Enry ( 630 ) <enry@wayga.QUOTEnet minus punct> on Friday January 25, 2013 @12:01PM (#42691353) Journal

      Yeah, I'm a bit curious about this too. I've had two Thinkpads since the purchase and both have been as good of quality as when it was IBM.

      • I find it odd (and sad) that Lenovo seems to offer the best and most personable support out of any PC manufacturer I've dealt with. Assuming their support has not changed in the last few years.
        • I've been putting Lenovo's on all the desks where I work, and I've found the hardware quality to be middling-to-decent, and the support to be pretty good.
      • I bought a T60 shortly after the takeover and it's excellent.

        Unfortunately I also bought a X series (the lower cost subnotebooks) two years ago and it was awful. I don't mean in a "Poorly spec'd" kind of way, I mean appalling quality, right down to constant freezes if connected to the wireless because of the way the wireless driver operated. And the other options at the time, in the Thinkpad range, were dreadful, with virtually every larger device having a crappy WXGA screen regardless of computer size a

        • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

          There were a lot of lemon thinkpads in IBM's history. The iSeries was spectacularly crappy. The 570 was flimsy, the 760 line would burn your legs if you used it as a laptop. The crap coming out of Lenovo these days isn't much worse than the worst of IBM's history, so I'm still reserving judgement.

          Thinkpads were never a sure thing. You had to know that the line was good before you bought.

          Before Lenovo though, the thinkpad X and T models were a rare run of excellence. After Lenovo, they were merely o

          • The ThinkPad T30 also had the "burn your legs if you put it on your lap" issue. The Pentium 4 M processor in that thing ran really hot, and sucked down a fully charged battery in under 90 minutes under load.

      • The only thing I can think of is they broke the ThinkPad long term support model. With the advent of the 6x series you could no longer expect the port replicator/dock or accessories you purchased with your R60/T60 to work with the subsequent R6x/T6x models. For a consumer this is not a big deal but for corporations that buy hundreds to thousands of units a year this is huge. It's akin to Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, or Canonical removing key features of their LTS policies. We got burned because our hardware
      • That's because they were fully outsourced by IBM to Lenovo. The only thing that changed was the label. The Canadian Finance Minister needs to think before he speaks, or at least have staff people who can think for him.

    • by rwven ( 663186 )

      Yeah... I was under the impression that Lenovo was doing very well. I personally feel that they made some of the best quality devices...even if they happen to be a little more on the "utilitarian" and "ugly" side of things.

      • by Tarlus ( 1000874 )

        Yeah, I have a collection of ThinkPad laptops that date back to the early 90's and their overall look has not changed very much, but they're damn solid machines. Even the oldest one can still run its OS. If it ain't broke, don't break it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by loufoque ( 1400831 )

      While Thinkpads have essentially stayed the same (some would disagree, but I still find them to be of good quality), the services associated with the purchase, such as support and warranty, have become way worse than they used to be.
      This was to be expected though.

      • With what remains of the laptop computer market, we probably won't see decent customer service again. Prices and costs are cut to the bone because it's an industry that is in its final years. There's no incentive to premium-price becuase that market is so small. Cheap componentry and minimal support are the new normal in this industry. If you want more, the answer regrettably is probably Apple.

      • Re:What happened? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @12:14PM (#42691563)

        I work at an ASP for Lenovo, and if you're talking about their 'Think' branded stuff... the part fulfillment is still handled by IBM. The same ASPs are providing support. There are the same if not more warranty options as before. Perhaps you are talking about call centers? I've talked to them and they don't seem any worse or better than any other big brand OEM call center. Not sure how anything is 'way worse' - sounds like your perspective.

        I expected things to get worse, and was somewhat surprised when they didn't.

        • and they don't seem any worse or better than any other big brand OEM call center.

          This is not the yardstick of customer support. IBM Thinkpad support used to be miles ahead of everyone else.

          In general, the customer support in the PC industry is stupendously bad. Now Lenovo's support is also horrible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scifiai ( 2740685 )
      As I type this on a Lenovo ThinkPad T520i, I think to myself that the ThinkPad is the best laptop on the market.
    • It's not like RIM is doing a sterling job with the Blackberry brand anyway. Their new OS has been coming along for how long now?

    • +1...I loved having an IBM logo on my computer as much as anyone, but my Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is still an excellent machine.
    • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

      Unlike IBM and thinkpad, where the company wasn't in any risk of bankruptcy, it was just not part of the new strategic plan, RIM is a whole other ballgame. They could well be completely bankrupt and liquidated in a couple of years and if someone is dumb enough to pay billions for it we (as in canada) should probably happily take their money. A change in direction might save the company, and failing that billions of dollars is better than not billions of dollars.

    • You must not have heard the latest news... Lenovo is nixing the trackpoint buttons in favor of a bigger touchpad (seriously!): []

      I'm typing this from a (freakin awesome!) Thinkpad right now, but if these changes are implemented into the main T/X/W series lines, I'm gonna be typing from a MacBook Pro pretty soon...

    • This, my dear kids, is called FUD.

  • I always felt Rim was an unfortunate name now it looks like they may have to bend over :D
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So what is alleged here that happened to the ThinkPad brand under Lenovo?

    It seems to me ThinkPads continue to be solid laptops under Lenovo, as they were under IBM.

  • While there's been some backsliding on customer service -- IBM set an unequalled standard in this area -- the ThinkPads are still at the top of the class in the PC space. Since moving to Linux I've run only ThinkPads, which are solid and (except for their new ultrabook) easily user-upgradable. Even the help, when I've needed it, has been fine. The customer service issue I had was a very late delivery with poor communications from Lenovo while I was waiting for my most recent model (T430s).

  • by CuriousGeorge113 ( 47122 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @12:07PM (#42691463) Homepage

    After examining how the United States treats Huawei networking gear, I'm sure this would kill all the US (and State/Local) government contracts with RIM.

    US Government contracts are one of the few highlights of RIM's business right now.

    • by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @12:17PM (#42691623)
      I had a discussion at work with a mapping vendor. They were involved with discussions on mobile device support. From what he had seen, the survival of RIM to this point and beyond was related to the way they play ball with the government in regards to encryption compared to other companies. Apparently, Apple flat out said no.
      • I know RIM will give the government its encryption keys at the drop of a hat, but I figure Apple'd do the same too. Unless Apple was actually refusing to not give it to the U.S. government at the drop of a hat.

        • by chrish ( 4714 )

          If you have your own BES, RIM absolutely does not have your encryption keys, and therefore cannot hand them over to anyone. In that situation RIM can't read your email, period.

          Spoiler: I work for RIM.

    • Huawei is an opaque company. We are not sure who owns. We know there is a relationship with the Chinese military but we are not sure exactly what it is.

      Lenovo, on the other hand, operators much more like a standard international company that just happens to be located in China. It has offices, engineers and factors in the US. I would assume a good chunk of RIMs offices would remain in Canada.

      In short, it would be easier to establish that security was being done right with Lenovo then Huawei. I have concerns

  • You don't say "we may buy", "we could buy", "we could do...". You do it and your announce it later. Haven't learn anything from Léo Apotheker?
  • The Blackberry devices have been a favorite among lawyers and government workers for a long time because they were inherently more secure than similar portable email/telephony devices. Considering the Chinese government's position on encrypted devices and communications I seriously doubt the Blackberry as we know it would continue to exist. And even if it did...would you trust it?

  • by wirefarm ( 18470 ) <`jim' `at' `'> on Friday January 25, 2013 @12:15PM (#42691573) Homepage

    Does China have some sort of late-1990s nostalgia thing going on that I haven't heard of?

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Companies with a lot of solid technology that aren't particularly trendy taking a big slump in the market and thus can be had for a fairly cheap? Sure. The value at Wall Street is pretty well measuring customer appeal, but China isn't interested in buying customers they're interested in buying technology which makes their valuation quite different.

  • by v1 ( 525388 )

    "... We have to look at intelligence concerns.'"

    I think what concerns the educated public the most is RIM's lack of intelligence

    Just because an industry is based on your home turf is no excuse to allow embarrassing performance to continue to drag itself out. If Lenovo thinks they can "fix" RIM, I say let them try. They can't really do much worse at this point. Any business that's not totally dominate by a PHB should have by now at least started diversifying critical resources away from reliance on RIM.

    • "... We have to look at intelligence concerns.'"

      I think what concerns the educated public the most is RIM's lack of intelligence

      Awww, you beat me to it!

      Any business that's not totally dominate by a PHB should have by now at least started diversifying critical resources away from reliance on RIM.

      Sadly true. And even more sadly...BB is the only device authorized for 'business' use for many companies in Canada. Is it because of too many PHB's, or too much IT inertia? I'm not sure. All I hear when I ask is that 'BB is the only secure platform', and they simply don't trust anyone else. That may have been true 10, or even 5 years ago, but now?

      Anyhow, *picks up the popcorn*, let's sit back and enjoy the show! :)

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Friday January 25, 2013 @12:18PM (#42691647) Homepage Journal
    I don't feel that Lenovo really changed anything too badly with the thinkpad line. Granted, I wouldn't buy a thinkpad edge, but the T series that I purchased works great. I've had it for over 2 years and the only problem I had was with a faulty shift key on my keyboard, which they resolved by sending out a new one for me to replace myself (much better IMHO than certain other vendors who would have asked me to send it to them).

    I don't really see the difference between IBM thinkpad and Lenovo thinkpad as being significant.
    • Typing this on my T520 right now. The reason there isn't any difference in the ThinkPad branded equipment is because Lenovo bought them, but didn't change anything. Factories stayed the same. Distribution, Management, Fulfillment, and R&D never changed - just Chinese cashing the checks and paying the bills now. Now, the 'Idea' branded stuff is different - and I think that the Edge is technically their consumer-grade junk. I wouldn't touch any of that.
  • T430 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @12:40PM (#42691975)

    So what happened to Thinkpads after Lenovo purchased it?

    I have a Lenovo Thinkpad T430. I find it to be a very good laptop.

    I have only 1 problem with it.
    There are tons of programs it comes preinstalled with
    - Evernote
    - Intel AppUp(SM) center
    - Intel WiDi
    - Intel Control Center
    - Intel Management Engine Components
    - Intel OpenCL SDK
    - ThinkVantage Communication Utlity

    and lot more stuff. But I think lot of extra software shipped even when this was from IBM.

    If someone could publish a list of stuff which could be uninstalled, it would be great.

    • If someone could publish a list of stuff which could be uninstalled, it would be great.

      I'm guessing:

      - Evernote
      - Intel AppUp(SM) center
      - Intel WiDi
      - Intel Control Center
      - Intel Management Engine Components
      - Intel OpenCL SDK
      - ThinkVantage Communication Utlity

      We just rolled out 190 of the L series and started with a clean image; the only thing Lenovo support were keen to see put back was the battery saver tool.

      More love for Lenevo here, never had such a positive response to a laptop roll out!

    • I just cleaned up a new Gateway laptop. The amount of pre-installed stuff I wasn't interested in is comparable to what was on a ThinkPad I setup last week. From the Gateway, I removed:

      Adobe Air
      Bing Bar
      E-Bay Worldwide
      Foozkids Platform
      Gateway Games
      Gateway MyBackup
      Gateway Registration
      Gateway Recovery Management
      Gateway ScreenSaver
      Gateway Updater
      Identity Card
      Microsoft Silverlight
      Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition
      Nero DiscSpeed 10
      Nero SmartStart 10
      Nero Update
      Norton I

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't think RIM needs to be rescued and as you can see, RIM have no comment on this "news". It is probably another attempt orchestrated by Apple, Google, and the gang to sink RIM. Obviously, if RIM is to become a Chinese company then the US should consider staying away RIM devices and services due to potential national security issues. Just FUD, is what it is.

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Friday January 25, 2013 @01:52PM (#42692893)
    Since when does “We are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others,” automatically translate into "We are taking over RIM"? Seeing how countries are treating ZTE and Huawei [] in the network space Lenovo would be crazy to buy RIM [] (Everyone knows RIM has a global network infrastructure right?). It does however make a lot of sense to partner with them to offer devices outside of RIM's current core.
  • It seems to me that if Lenovo goes through with this, they're going to get burned. I don't think many businesses would trust China not to peek into the data going through those Black Berrys and the devices will be dropped like hot potatoes. If Lenovo's strategy is about getting their hands on patents, then that may be an acceptable consequence to them.
  • Yeah, right. Stephen Harper would happily sell his own mother to the Chinese... as he did with a big chunk of the tar-sands, over American objections.
  • Hmmmm.....intelligence concerns......
    The party that sells out citizens info to foreign powers at every turn,
    or worse loses everyones data on a portable hard disk, or just looks the other way
    while personal information is bled and leaked from government databases by
    public employees (ex, bored, or otherwise).

    I think I'll just move to China. It's safer.

  • I can hear thousands of corporate and government accounts bailing when China and by definition the Chinese government and army get their hand on all the secure data and transmissions that RIM has. BB's are in fact the only handset allowed in many US Federal agencies because of the security. Not anymore.

  • General Motors, Diageo, Walmart, ConAgra, ExxonMobil, Monsanto, and the government of Queensland could all possibly buy RIM, too. So what? They all seem unlikely, as does Lenovo.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken