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

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.

TOPICS: Lenovo, Smartphones, PCs
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, Smartphones, PCs

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  • I like the attitude

    And Mr. Yang is correct that if you make better equipment, then people are more likely to buy it.
    John L. Ries
    • Agreed

      This guys is smart. I don't know how he got to be the CEO of a major electronics company!

      Users are reaching the limit of what is worthwhile in terms of upgrading. I have a Dual Core laptop that is about 5 years old. It would be cool to have a new one but it is really hard to justify paying $800-1000 on a new laptop when the one I have does everything that I need to do perfectly well. Sure there are people that use CAD software or play lots of processor heavy games or have to compile code and for them the faster, the better but for most people, if they can check their email and buy stuff from Amazon, they are good to go.

      That said, to reinforce what Yang said, I am seriously considering a Yoga because it is cool and would be enough of an improvement over my current laptop to justify the cost to me.
      • Yoga 13

        I recommend the Yoga 13 i7 8gb ram version.
        It can be bought from Lenovo's website and for $170 more you can get a 3 year accidental warranty!

        I received mine a couple of weeks ago and I am really enjoying it so far. It is fun to use and very productive. It flies through Adobe's software and NetBeans and VisualStudio.
  • Mr. Yang is exactly right and right on Money

    Ram U
    • Great new hardware always comes to PC first

      Since there's no blocking factors such as battery life, size, heat and so on that you'd run into in mobile devices so it's simply laughable to consider PCs as done.
      • Re: Great new hardware always comes to PC first

        Did you hear about Qualcomm showing off its new hardware for encoding and decoding UHD video? That will be built into new ARM chips, which will no doubt appear in new Android devices in due course.

        Where is the Intel equivalent?
        • Where is Intel's equivalent?

          Busy trying to buy AMD's tegra from Nvidia
  • Lenovo CEO: Forget 'post-PC'. We're in the 'PC plus' era

    Pretty smart guy and calling it for what it is. There never was a post-PC era except on ZDNet. PCs plus smart phones seem to be the thing now. Tablets not so much.
    • Tablet is a companion device.

      Tablet is a PC or Smartphone companion device. Tablets are more useful if we could transfer the work and finish it on tablet, except for some complex jobs like development or coding, then they are pretty useful. and things are going there. But Tablet to replace a PC is not there yet. if your needs are just email and surf web then it is ok, otherwise you need a PC even if you own a tablet.
      Ram U

    "I have a Wintel PC rotting in the corner that will NEVER be replaced, plus the mobile device(s) that I use every day and rely on because of build quality, dependability, convenience, form factor, and overall computing flexibility."

    Let me give ZDNet readers a choice.

    You can have the non-mobile Wintel PC that requires antivirus, frequently crashes, needs to be updated constantly, updates cause unpredictable behavior, gets slow as molasses over time.

    You can have the Wintel laptop that has all of the aforementioned attributes, is only slightly more mobile, equipped with the requisite 2-plus hours of battery life.

    You can have an iPad with 10-hours of battery life, supreme build quality and thousands of apps, and only use that dinosaur under your desk or in you portfolio case when you WANT to and not because you HAVE to!

    The choice is easy for me and millions of others as well.

    The world is not going back to Wintel... unless they open a history book in computer science class.
    • No thanks

      Your post reads like a sales pitch, but I will have to pass. I will stick with my laptop where I (emphasis on *I*) can multitask, game, and do real work. Tablets might be for some people, but I personally find them lacking.
    • I don't know what you do with your computers

      to cause them to crash frequently. Also, constantly is 1-2 times a month?

      I also don't know what you're doing to get only 2 hrs out of a battery. My brother-in-law got a cheap (less than 300$) laptop and gets almost 4 hrs watching video on it.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Go to your place of business

      Remove every PC that the employees use.

      Give those employees the Apple or Android tablet/phone of their or your choosing.

      Tell me how your work day goes. Let me know how printing goes. Attaching multiple documents to emails go. Logging into a user account goes. Mobile versions of every website in the world without commonly used browser extensions.

      That is one heck of a tradeoff for build quality and battery life.

      Oh wait, I'm sure it works just great for home use as long as that use is limited to light web surfing, movies, email and angry birds.

      I just do not understand the mentality the users should defend the notion that mobile devices should do less, when they should be demanding that they do more.

      Tablets cost as much as laptop/desktops, so why should they be crippled with the limitations of mobile operating systems? For a couple hours worth of battery life?

      Changing the form factor of a computing device should not result in the compromises associated with mobile operating systems, but there always seem to be someone who thinks that it is the ultimate design.
      • Android is closing this gap

        The new Android tablets are very powerful, much more like PCs. That's why grammas don't have them.
        A Gray
        • Android tablets are still not "PCs" in the traditional sense,

          where a PC is a fully capable computer that has large storage, and large main memory, ports for connectivity of all types of devices, bigger screens so you can actually view the content you're working on without needing to squint or get microscopes or magnifying lenses, ability to increase storage (main and hard-drive/SSD), true multi-tasking to run many applications concurrently without having to shut any of them down or to put any of them in pause/sleep state, drivers to connect to hundreds of devices, multi-screen capabilities, and much, much more.

          Tablets are getting a bit more powerful with each new upgrade, and the OSes in them are also getting more powerful, which in a sense is saying that, the manufacturers of those things, are actually realizing that, people do want to get PC-like capabilities in tablet-sizes, and once they get the PC-capabilities, they will just have become, PCs is smaller sizes. Thus, the whole post-PC nonsense, is just that, nonsense. The Android and the iOS people know now, will have to grow up to get the capabilities of a Windows 8, while not being Windows 8. If they don't grow up, Windows 8 will slowly start to eat into the markets of iOS and Android devices; not immediately, but in due time, as people start/continue demanding that, their tablets do more.
    • 10 hrs????

      My boys each have an iPad 3 from school and are lucky to get 6-7 hrs on a charge.
      I never understand the crashing complaints. Except for Win98 I personally have never had an issue with crashing. Hell I still use Vista on my work laptop with no issues.
      For those of us that are concerned with security and actually owning the things we spend money on tablets will never be a viable replacement for a desk or lap top.
    • Wow, orandy, you sound just like a guy who gets paid to post this stuff.

      Hmmm, sounds like I'm onto something. Are you sweating? Now why would you be sweating over a remark like that?

      "Wintel PC that requires antivirus, frequently crashes, needs to be updated constantly, updates cause unpredictable behavior, gets slow as molasses over time"

      Now Isn't that odd, that you "MS haters" are the only ones that has these problem? You wouldn't be making that up, right? I mean, who would throw away their integrity for some cheap electronics by making up stories to post here because someone said something positive about Windows, or a PC? Not something a normal person would do, right? I mean, your self worth isn't tied to your iPhone, is it?

      So there has to be a logical reason why you would continue to chime in on something you claim has no effect on you. Just put 2 and 2 together...

      You can have an Surface with 10-hours of battery life, supreme build quality and thousands of apps, and only use that dinosaur under your desk or in you portfolio case when you have to and even if you just want to.

      The choice is easy for me and millions of others as well, which is why more PC's are sold in a single day then tablets, iPads included.

      OK, you can start throwing that temper tantrum now,
      William Farrel
    • And replace every two years...

      My iPad 2 still runs like a charm, but it will be bricked this summer by lacking updates. iPad 1 is already gone. iPad mini has the same hardware as the iPad 2 but get all the features because its new.

      Android and Windows don't typically have that issue.
      A Gray
    • old wintel dinosaur more useful than a brand new iPad?

      clearly - you are proof that even old - "rotting" Windows still beats brand new fruit? HAVE TO beats WANTS TO everyday of the week old chum.
    • If in fact your Wintel

      Is doing all that you say (it must be yours because it doesn't fit any of my or my customers wintel PC's) Then you need to take it to a good PC tech, one better than you!
      But in my backyard I have a 44 Gallon drum for you, it should be big enough for your needs.