by CIO Staff

Lenovo Eyes SMB Market With Best Buy

Apr 11, 20062 mins
Data Center

Lenovo Group made a grab for greater market share Tuesday by teaming with retailer Best Buy to offer sales of its PCs as well as technology advice and product testing to small and medium-size business (SMB) owners.

Best Buy will host the service at its 135 “Best Buy for Business” locations nationwide. The Richfield, Minn., company will train its staff to sell and maintain Lenovo products like ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops and 3000-series PCs.

The service would be a specialized version of Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” service, a 24-hour computer-support network that can dispatch technicians to customers’ homes and offices. That service operates from 700 of the company’s 930 North American locations to repair hard drives, contain virus outbreaks and offer one-on-one training.

Tuesday’s move follows the February launch of Lenovo’s 3000 series notebook and desktop computers, the first self-branded products since the Raleigh, N.C., company bought the PC division of IBM in 2005.

Lenovo aimed for the fast-growing SMB market with those PCs by pricing them low enough to compete with more-established companies like Dell and Hewlett-Packard. The product family features a US$349 desktop PC and a $599 laptop.

The Best Buy partnership is a smart way to woo small business buyers, although it probably looks less attractive to medium-size businesses, said Charles Smulders, an analyst at Gartner in San Jose, Calif.

“This would be good for standard business applications, but a specialized business, with any kind of verticalness involved, would need a specialized retailer or a VAR,” he said.

The new channel is a good way for Lenovo to sell its low-cost 3000 series to very small businesses, he said.

“It’s certainly worth going after. There are tens of millions of small businesses in the U.S. And there is a high turnover, with new businesses entering and exiting that sector all the time, so this is pretty fertile ground.”

-Ben Ames, IDG News Service

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