Whither the Thinkpad?

Whither the Thinkpad?

Summary: If you read today's report by News.com's John Spooner on how Lenovo is moving forward with its plans (despite still be subject to government approval) to take the reigns of IBM"s PC outfit, it sure looks like Lenovo has in place better than 90 percent of the plans that need to be in place in order to manage the transition in a way that minimizes the chances of a customer exodus.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Lenovo
7
IBM Thinkpad LogoIf you read today's report by News.com's John Spooner on how Lenovo is moving forward with its plans (despite still be subject to government approval) to take the reigns of IBM"s PC outfit, it sure looks like Lenovo has in place better than 90 percent of the plans that need to be in place in order to manage the transition in a way that minimizes the chances of a customer exodus. But I can't help but wonder what it will mean for the Thinkpad if things don't go swimmingly.

For almost fifteens year now, Thinkpads have been my stalwart road warrior. Sure, they've had their share of problems (mostly with the displays) but every time I've ventured off the Thinkpad ranch, I found myself eventually coming back for to the sleek black notebook computers. In coming up with the Thinkpads (I had a Thinkpad 750 when they first came out), IBM defined an era of mobile computing. Thinkpads with their various innovations over the years -- from trackpoints to keyboards that defined the word "ergonomic" (including the collapsible butterfly keyboard released in the mid-90's) to their subnotebook designs -- have always been the ones to beat. On a recent trip to California, I couldn't help but notice how many people in the coffee shops, airports, on the planes, and in the offices I visited had Thinkpads. What a franchise, that's all I can say.

Now with Lenovo taking over, I can't help but wonder -- especially with all of the other vendors looking to create uncertainty over the deal -- whether this is the end of the road for the storied franchise. Lenovo is on the hook to keep the brand going for five years. But I wonder if the brand will make it that far. Will the trademark black notebooks with the colorful red, green, and blue logos (pictured above left) disappear into industry folklore like so many other legends of the business. Or will it endure to the point that Lenovo decides to keep it going beyond the five years it has agreed to. My sense is the former and to that I say.... "Thinkpad.. it's been nice knowin' ya and when your gone, you'll be missed, but not forgotten."

Topic: Lenovo

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

7 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • lets just hope the new company continues the quality

    of IBM thinkpads
    JasonL31
    • wishful thinking I'm afraid

      This is a company known for selling extreemly low price computers, unless they are looking to change this, thinkpads as we know them are history. You can't get the high quality without the high price.
      zijiang
  • Open your mind Open your eyes ..this world is changing

    As 7 years Thinkpad'user from model 770 to T42, I have the same concerns about the future of ThInkpod ..oh no Thinkpad. As a Chinese , I am pround to see that Lenovo is becoming a PC giant in the world. I am totally agree your guys concerns. But I just want to say that Americans are too proud of themselves. Other countries are catching up . I hope that US media can have some real International news and not just Disaster,Disease, Tsunami ...etc and make Americans feel that America is the only pradias in the world .
    dummy718
    • I'd have the exact same concerns

      if dell had aquired the thinkpad, and dell's higher on the quality/price spectrum than Lenovo.

      I also hope that someday US media will have real international news...real domsetic news would be nice too. You speak about the international news as if domestic issues arent treated with equal ammounts of sensationalism.
      zijiang
  • I already switched!

    I think that Laptop now has the properties of home electronic appliance. In that category, IBM is not strength. So I switch to Sony Viao. Definitely quality of my system is far better than IBM or other major brand products. I think that's why IBM was making loss and decided to dump the business. It's a smart move. Let's congratulate IBM.
    Wagadonga
    • Viao

      ohc:

      How about a report on your experience with the Vaio? Once I get the ulimate Mac-based podcasting rig figured out, I'm going to shift my attention to figuring out the best Windows-based one and since Firewire is a must, I'm curious if anybody has any specific info on the Vaio's Firewire support. I know it (or some of them, not sure) have a Firewire port. Is it 6 pin (powered) or 4 pin (not powered)? Any plug and play problems with it? There aren't too many intel-based Firewire notebooks out there.
      dberlind
  • sony better than IBM..try to get a part and see what happens..

    sorry dude, but sony being better quality than ibm, never in a million years. you get what you pay for, and evryone that has a thinkpad probably has a horror story about a compaq or toshiba when their computer "didn't work". i can still get drivers and replacement parts for my ibm 365xd which i got 10 years ago. if i can't find it i can call ibm and they won't give me a "please hold while i transfer you to nowhere and waste your time runaround" answer. i called ibm for a new keyboard and they said i could download a pdf file telling me how to replace it and save labor. THEY SAVED ME MONEY! Be honest, do u think i could do the same for a 10 year old compaq? yea, thats what i was thinking when i paid more for my thinkpad. And by the way, its still working to this day. i can't throw it out because it still works. wish i could say the same for my sony TV, WALKMAN, MD PLAYER, CASSETE DECK, VCR, CAMCORDER, CAMERA. they all died. i use my thinkpad more than all of them combined and it's still working. i got my moneys worth for the IBM. if u were me would you buy a sony PC?
    thinknow