How Lenovo can own the Windows 10 launch and eclipse Apple

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Next week is Microsoft Build and the beginning of the big push to launch Windows 10. Over the last several years Lenovo has become one of the greatest powers in the PC space. They acquired the IBM PC company some time ago which originally founded Windows PCs (a class that was once called IBM PCs) and they are the only PC vendor other than Apple with a significant Smartphone market share albeit in Asia not the US. In fact as powerful as they are here, they are vastly more powerful in China which is a market so huge it makes the US market seem almost insignificant by comparison.

Lenovo also has Ashton Kutcher, the guy who played Steve Jobs in the movie, and he is their virtual Steve Jobs taking a personal interest in some of the more interesting products. Like the real Steve Jobs Kutcher started out as an engineer, as an actor he has similar stage presence and celebrity, and he has a passion for products.

Windows 10 which spans PCs and cellphones could be massively beneficial to Lenovo because they are the only company that could actually differentiate on this capability. And with Windows 10, they could arguably do a lot of things better than Apple.

Let me explain.

End To End Experience

How Apple really stands out is that they provide a very consistent customer experience across all of their products. Windows 10 potentially does this far better because it is the same OS across all of these platforms which means anything any of them have in common can be synced across all of them. Signatures, mail settings, application preferences, internet favorites, contact lists, documents, music, movies, personalities, colors etc. While some of this can be synced across a number of platforms and within apps, Windows 10 will be the only platform that can virtually sync everything if you want.

This not only means moving from Windows 10 PCs, to Windows 10 tablets, and phones will be far easier but buying new PCs, tablets and phones will be easier as well because all you need is one of these things to start and the migration potentially happens seamlessly. By the way this should include network settings, IDs and passwords as well and with the new Windows Authenticator App you have a vastly easier way to make sure that folks that aren’t authorized to log into your Laptop, tablet, or phone can’t log into them.

Google and Apple have different OSs, much like Microsoft used to have, and therefore can’t do this and I think it is a big thing but only if a Windows OEM has PCs, tablets, and phones.

Lenovo’s Big Advantage

And, of course, this is Lenovo’s big advantage they have all three components and could make this a showcase. However this isn’t their only advantage. They also have a uniquely close relationship to Intel and Intel’s phone program. Recall that Microsoft killed Windows RT (their ARM version of Windows) and is planning on putting their phone product on an Intel based phone. If, as I expect, Lenovo markets this phone they’ll have the combined and rather impressive marketing budgets of both Intel and Microsoft showcasing and building demand for their offering which would be an unprecedented advantage and one that no other OEM has, or can, get access to because they don’t do phones.

They are already heavily focused on security so they’d end up with a ThinkPad line of products focused on business and a Lenovo line of products focused on the consumer that could be mixed and matched for BYOD types of efforts and still have this seamless interoperability between the product types and access to MDF funds (the funds vendors like Intel and Microsoft give to OEM partners) that no one else could match.

Wrapping Up: Lenovo Can Kick Apple’s Butt

Can and will are two very different words but of OEM PC vendors only Lenovo has the product breadth Apple does including wearable devices. As a result only Lenovo can showcase the full value of all Windows different platforms and the ability to seamlessly move between them. Only Lenovo can get the full range of MDF funds from both Intel and Microsoft for the launch and only Lenovo can wrap all of this with a Steve Jobs like advocate and truly go toe to toe with Apple. Now if Lenovo also had a wireless MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) service like Google Fi tied to all of this we could likely just call this a Lenovo Windows 10 launch and end it there. I doubt that is going to happen but of all of the OEMs Lenovo is the only one that could own the Windows 10 launch and that should even give Apple pause.

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About Author

As President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, Rob provides regional and global companies with guidance in how to create credible dialogue with the market, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, anticipate technology changes, select vendors and products, and practice zero dollar marketing. For over 20 years Rob has worked for and with companies like Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony, USAA, Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, Credit Suisse First Boston, ROLM, and Siemens.

3 Comments

  1. Really? I have serious doubts about Lenovo “owning” anything again after the Superfish debacle. There are many who at this point wouldn’t touch a Lenovo device with a barge pole.

  2. Superfish looks like it will, indeed, be a huge blow to Lenovo. It’s too bad. They have so much potential. Imagine Lenovo putting out a cohesive product line that consistently displays beauty in design (Moto X, Yoga) along with truly useful interfacing features (touchless control from the Moto X, excellent keyboards from the Thinkpad line). Now combine that with an OS that provides seamless integration across device types. It’d be wonderful. Sadly, Lenovo just doesn’t seem to have all its corporate parts coordinated in such a way to make it happen. They will mostly likely continue to be a mix of excellence and frustration.