Lenovo continues to expand its market reach beyond making laptop PCs.
Last September the Chinese IT hardware maker ventured into the software world for the first time by acquiring U.S.-based Stoneware, which makes a cloud network hosting environment for enterprises—most of which are in the education and government sectors.
On Jan. 3, the world's No. 1-selling PC maker and storage giant EMC launched LenovoEMC, a joint venture they announced in August 2012. The initiative will repurpose EMC's Iomega division, which has served as EMC's consumer and SMB storage supplier for two years.
The move also initiates a wider strategic partnership between the two corporations that will involve development of new industry standard servers and networked storage solutions. Using the core assets of EMCIomega, the new venture will bring co-branded network-attached storage systems to distributed enterprise, remote branches, and small and medium-size businesses.
EMC Swaps Out Dell for Lenovo
Basically, what EMC has done is replace its longtime partner, Dell, with Lenovo to make servers that will work natively with its storage arrays. EMC and Dell's competitive falling out began in 2007 when Michael Dell returned as CEO to his company and declared that Dell would make its own storage arrays and not simply be a sales partner for EMC anymore.
Dell then demonstrated that strategy by acquiring two progressive storage makers: Equallogic (2007) and Compellent (2010). EMC and Dell still sell into existing joint-customer deals, but it's safe to say that the two companies aren't selling side-by-side anymore.
In the last 12 months, Lenovo has passed Hewlett-Packard to become the No. 1-selling laptop PC maker in the world and is using those profits to branch out into new business ventures.
By owning a cloud-service software provider such as Stoneware, Lenovo is able to embed that company's featured WebDesktop into all of its laptop and tablet PCs to provide valued-added or option-for-purchase services such as storage, file sharing, work collaboration and other software through its own cloud. Lenovo calls this initiative PC Plus.
This software also will be used on the new servers and storage systems that EMC and Lenovo will co-develop for midrange and smaller enterprises—which are projected to be the fastest-growing IT markets in the current decade.
Iomega Will Morph IP into Joint Venture
The Iomega networked storage portfolio includes desktop, tower and rackmount array products ranging in capacity from diskless versions (0TB) up to 48TB. Iomega NAS packages include the EMC LifeLine operating system, which features ease-of-use capabilities tailored to small-business users, remote enterprise offices, departmental data centers and others.
These capabilities provide storage expansion to Lenovo's ThinkServer and ThinkStation server and workstation offerings.
In addition to the joint venture, the global strategic partnership between Lenovo and EMC also encompasses an x86 server technology development program, in addition to an OEM and reseller relationship for EMC's storage business.
Both EMC and Lenovo are shareholders of LenovoEMC, with Lenovo holding the majority interest.