Lenovo Is The “Moneyball” Of Consumer Electronics

We have an ongoing joke at Consumerist that Chinese consumer electronics company Lenovo is a massive anti-capitalist prank, not wanting to actually sell gadgets to consumers. Customer service issues aside, this week Bloomberg Businessweek speculates that Lenovo is more savvy than any of us might have thought, assembling a dream team out of cast-off brands and companies that no one else wants.

In the book and movie of “Moneyball,” a baseball team builds a powerful franchise by using statistical analysis to select less-expensive players who are underrated by traditional measures of a player’s value in baseball. That’s what Lenovo seems to be doing with electronics, acquiring on IBM’s venerable ThinkPad brand almost a decade ago, its server business more recently, and buying Motorola now that Google no longer wants to own a handset maker.

Lenovo’s two newest acquisitions haven’t been approved by the U.S. government yet, but look at what the company was able to do with the ThinkPad line. A technology analyst explained to Bloomberg Businessweek how taking over IBM’s unwanted product line worked out spectacularly well for the company. “The IBM PC business was seen by IBM as a troubled asset, and Lenovo turned it around and made it the most profitable PC business in the world.”

Unlike competing electronics brands, Lenovo has its own factories. They now dominate PCs, and obviously want to do more with mobile and servers. (They’re already the #4 phone manufacturer in the world, even if their LePhone/IdeaPhone hasn’t caught on yet here in the United States.)

Lenovo, the Treasure Hunter of Tech [Bloomberg Businessweek]