There are two operating systems on your ThinkPad. There is the one you always use and update (and update).
Then there is another one that, although not generally known as an operating system, sits on a hidden partition and allows you to reboot and open files and generally acts as a life preserver should you get clobbered by the latest bug, virus or general piece of malware floating about the digital ether.
I didnt know that Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) has been included on the IBM Think systems for the past year until Steve Ward told me about it during the IBM PartnerWorld show in Las Vegas last week.
Steve is the IBM executive due to become the president of Lenovo when the IBM PC division is hived off the IBM mother ship, melded with Chinas Lenovo and sent to do battle with Dell and every other PC challenger on the planet. Ward, along with Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing, met with me to talk about that challenge and what the new combined company will look like.
"What you can expect from Lenovo is a company that is absolutely the most efficient in manufacturing and supply, coupled with strong innovation," said Ward.
Ill admit to being impressed with Wards and Yuanqings plans. I had many of the same questions as did corporate customers long familiar with the Think (especially the ThinkPad) line.
While IBM is a familiar brand, Lenovo is an unknown in the United States. ThinkPads are known as reliable but expensive and seemed a product IBM was never able to build into a sustainably profitable business. The history of PCs is littered with companies that dismissed Dell as a manufacturing genius that was lacking in innovation and vision.
So what is the plan? In the United States, "the first thing we will do is go deeper into the corporate market and deeper into the small- and midsize-business market," said Ward. But plans for market penetration are not sales. And plans for market penetration are not channel management. What has changed this time around?