Lenovo CEO: Forget 'post-PC'. We're in the 'PC plus' era

Summary:Lenovo's chief executive has said that the industry is not strictly speaking in the "post-PC" world just yet, and that those who are have failed to innovate in the PC space.

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Lenovo executives at CES 2013. Credit: CNET

Lenovo's chief executive has defended the role of the PC at a time where the market looks unstable and fragile, and dubbed the present as the "PC plus" age, rather than the "post-PC" era.

Yuanqing Yang told the Reuters news agency that while demand for PCs has waned in the past few quarters in the run up to the release of Windows 8 -- a natural three-four year cycle -- the PC market has failed to pick back up again. Why? We can probably blame the rise of the "post-PC" device, such as smartphones, tablets, and even 'phablets' (or phones-cum-tablets) -- yes, there's a name for everything nowadays.

With ultraportable devices and powerful tablets that could rival most low-to-mid range PC hardware, PC makers have failed to make PCs interesting again. 

"We don't live in a post-PC world," said Yang in the Reuters interview. "We are entering the PC plus era." Arguing his point, he said that the post-PC world is only for companies that do not innovate in the PC market.

After all, Lenovo has been able to steal the crown from the powerhouses of the PC market -- notably HP and Dell -- while keeping solid growth, an increase quarter-on-quarter in PC shipments, and good, strong reliable machines.

The PC market isn't dead, he argues, it's just that these companies aren't making PCs any better.

Gartner said in October that Lenovo had become the top PC maker in the world , topping HP who had previously held the record for some quarters. On the flip side, rival research firm IDC said HP was still on top -- at least for the time being . New figures in the coming days should show exactly what the state of the PC shipments market is, but considering Lenovo's upwards trend compared to Dell and HP's downward turn, it's looking very likely that Lenovo will confirm its spot at the top of the PC making pile.

One of the keys to Lenovo's success is the wide range and diverse workforce, according to the interview. Its nine person strong executive team represent six countries, and the firm "want[s] to be a global-local company," Yang said. 

Lenovo recently branched its way into Brazil, a crucial developing BRIC country, in order to avoid import taxes and to set up shop on the ground. Lenovo is one of the first companies to embrace Brazil -- second only to China, arguably, where it has its headquarters and an already strong user base -- to expand and raise profits. 

While the company has no doubt a strong presence in the PC market, the PC maker is also branching out to the U.S. in other areas, but is in no rush. To keep ahead of the curve, Lenovo took smartphones and tablets in tandem with its PC building operations, but the firm has chosen carefully where to launch its range of post-PC products. 

However, the U.S. smartphone market is saturated with iPhones and Android devices -- less so on the Windows Phone and Lumia front, but certainly getting better  -- and Lenovo knows that this will be a tough nut to crack. Until the firm has stronger brand recognition in the U.S. outside its dominant PC manufacturing space, Lenovo is holding back until the time is right.

Topics: Lenovo, PCs, Smartphones

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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