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Lenovo & Customer Perception

Hemos posted about 8 years ago | from the one-man's-opinion dept.

472

music_lover writes "According to this article, Lenovo is losing current ThinkPad series customers to HP, Toshiba and other notebook vendors because of customer perception. Apparently, customers don't feel comfortable purchasing from a Chinese PC manufacturer now that the ThinkPad brand isn't supported by IBM anymore. Could this really be perception? Quote: "Despite the overall poor performance, Lenovo has still not gained the mindshare or the respect that the ThinkPads command. In fact, it has, to some extent, alienated ThinkPad's fans and taken a sales hit. In my immediate vicinity, those who owned ThinkPads have now traded up to an HP or a Toshiba. None of them went back to their ThinkPads. After asking for a clarification, I was told, "Who wants to buy things from a Chinese company?" That said, our corporate parent has continued to buy/use Thinkpads; the ones that I've seen do just fine, and they've added new machines and a parternership with AMD.

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472 comments

Lenovo: Not a happy customer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141334)

Lenovo's "compromises" have been getting a lot of undeserved attention recently. I want to share this with you because we must punish those who lie or connive at half-truths. This call to action begins with you. You must be the first to help people break free of its cycle of oppression. You must be the one to offer true constructive criticism -- listening to the whole issue, recognizing the problems, recognizing what is being done right, and getting involved to help remedy the problem. And you must inform your fellow man that in order to convince us that it's the best thing to come along since the invention of sliced bread, Lenovo often turns to the old propagandist trick of comparing results brought about by entirely dissimilar causes. Lenovo is hardly the first proponent of uncompanionable negativism and it is unlikely to be the last. It will almost certainly tiptoe around that glaringly evident fact, because if it didn't, you might come to realize that it constantly insists that its debauches are the result of a high-minded urge to do sociological research. But it contradicts itself when it says that it can achieve its goals by friendly and moral conduct. Lenovo is guilty of a shocking display of dishonesty and sophistry. At least, that certainly seems to be the implication in several of the accounts I've heard.

If you can go more than a minute without hearing Lenovo talk about cameralism, you're either deaf, dumb, or in a serious case of denial. Lenovo is consistently inconsistent. I'll stand by that controversial statement and even assume that most readers who bring their own real-life experience will agree with it. At a bare minimum, whatever your age, you now have only one choice. That choice is between a democratic, peace-loving regime that, you hope, may halt the adulation heaped upon brown-nosing Lenovo clones and, as the alternative, the intolerant and purblind dirigisme currently being forced upon us by Lenovo. Choose carefully, because Lenovo is interpersonally exploitative. That is, it takes advantage of others to achieve its own coprophagous ends. Why does it do that? After days of agonized pondering and reflection, I finally came to the conclusion that it seems that no one else is telling you that it rarely tells its subalterns that it plans to quash other people's opinions. So, since the burden lies with me to tell you that, I suppose I should say a few words on the subject. To begin with, if I didn't think Lenovo would till the conceited side of the separatism garden, I wouldn't say that one of these days, its theatrics will accelerate the natural tendency of civilization to devolve from order to chaos, liberty to tyranny, and virtue to vice. The best example of this, culled from many, would have to be the time it tried to poke and pry into every facet of our lives.

Lenovo claims that it is a bearer and agent of the Creator's purpose. Predictably, it cites no hard data for that claim. This is because no such data exist. You know what? It would help if Lenovo realized that education and wisdom aren't necessarily the same thing. From this anecdotal evidence, I would argue that if we look beyond its delusions of grandeur, we see that Lenovo possesses no significant intellectual skills whatsoever and has no interest in erudition. Heck, it can't even spell or define "erudition", much less achieve it. In the end, we have to ask, "Where is Lenovo's integrity?" We should be able to look into our own souls for the answer. If we do, I suspect we'll find that I don't know which are worse, right-wing tyrants or left-wing tyrants. But I do know that Lenovo needs to stop living in denial. It needs to wake up and realize that when I hear it say that its précis can give us deeper insights into the nature of reality, I have to wonder about it. Is it utterly malignant? Is it simply being offensive? Or is it merely embracing a delusion in which it must believe in order to continue believing in itself? The answer is quite simple. I already listed several possibilities, but because Lenovo lacks the ability to remember beyond the last two seconds of its existence, I will restate what I said before, for its sake: It is entirely versipellous. When Lenovo's among plebeians, it warms the cockles of their hearts by remonstrating against fetishism. But when it's safely surrounded by its confreres, Lenovo instructs them to brainwash the masses into submission. That type of cunning two-sidedness tells us that no matter what else we do, our first move must be to educate everyone about how I have a misty, inchoate suspicion that Lenovo will force us to do things or take stands against our will in the immediate years ahead. That's the first step: education. Education alone is not enough, of course. We must also tell you a little bit about it and its jealous communications. Do you really think Lenovo will ever learn from its mistakes? And now, to end with a clever bit of doggerel: United we stand. Divided we fall. Lenovo's spiteful statements will destroy us all.

PARTERNERSHIP? what the hell guys? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141356)

How the heck did that make it through the editing stage?

misconception (5, Insightful)

dotpavan (829804) | about 8 years ago | (#15141336)

It's a misconception, because even HP/Toshiba/Dell/etc laptops are assembled (or parts mfg.) in China.

Re:misconception (5, Insightful)

dnwq (910646) | about 8 years ago | (#15141383)

I think there's a perception (wrong or not) that companies based in Western nations are more accountable than companies based in China. Presumably, if something screws up, it is thought that it is harder to pursue a Chinese company than one in, say, the United States.

This may not be strictly true, but somehow I doubt that corporate accountability in China is better than that in the States...

Re:misconception (5, Interesting)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 8 years ago | (#15141438)

I guess the misconception is that the engineers are also overseas and therefore the quality of the goods are going to go down. [sarcasm]You see, the Chinese are only good at following instructions given to them by the Americans.[/sarcasm] But look at the Thinkpad/Lenovo T60: they are still very well-built machines, when compared to even the Powerbooks.

It's terrible to think that a great brand is going to go out of existence because of unwarranted xenophobia. Imagine if we're stuck with Dell!

My fav features (4, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | about 8 years ago | (#15141439)

I bought a thinkpad a few months after the aquisiton. I basically bought it for two reasons. 1) A simple solid laptop that isn't as expensive as a toughbook. 2) Ease of assembly/disassembly, availability of parts, hardware documentation, etc etc. And so far its passed with flying colors.

My last laptop (averatec) was the biggest piece of shit ever. It had a notorious power issue and Averatec refused to fix it (or even admit its a common problem). There was no documentation for taking it apart or its layout, and even when I got it apart and found the part to be replaced, Averatec won't sell you parts. I set out to find the perfect simple laptop...

It feels very solid. You can handle it pretty well and it doesn't feel like it's going to break. Not toughbook strength, but still very good. IBM still hosts giant manuals on their site for taking them apart. This was extremely important to me. It seemed like an admission that it's actually ok to take apart your laptop and service it yourself. It's very extensive. I love how there are only 5 screw sizes on the whole laptop and they are all marked. It's such a simple gesture, yet it helps SO MUCH. With my Averatec, I was left with a pile of screws that got mixed up and was impossible to get back together.

As I said, I've got a Levano and not an IBM version. I would say the quality is still there. If you are a corporate buyer, keep buying them until they give you a reason not to. I've had enough problems with Dell's and HP's to know jumping ship to them on a whim isn't going to make things any better.

"Who wants to buy things from a Chinese company?" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141337)


about 200 million Americans shopping in Wallmart ?
everybody has their price, just some can be bought for less

Re:"Who wants to buy things from a Chinese company (2, Insightful)

lRem (914073) | about 8 years ago | (#15141437)

Well yes. But the basic reason for buying anything that's Chinese is that it's cheaper. When it comes to Thinkpads, they're both Chinese _and_ expensive. That's why they have hard time on European/American markets.

Because I say so (4, Insightful)

Rydia (556444) | about 8 years ago | (#15141339)

"I think that Lenovo is losing market share. I think it's because people don't trust them. Hold on and I think of some reasons why I think I think that."

Come on, guys.

Re:Because I say so (2, Insightful)

mgblst (80109) | about 8 years ago | (#15141478)

It is because they added in the windows key - nobody really wants a windows key, and here we are seeing the backlash against lenovo. (good a reason as any)

Personally, i would only but an IBM laptop, no other machine approaches the quality (maybe apple). I hope they aren't going down the tubes, or I will need to get a T43 - the best of the pre-lenovo crop.

Re:Because I say so (2, Insightful)

phasm42 (588479) | about 8 years ago | (#15141522)

I don't think the problem is so much that Lenovo is Chinese, but rather that Lenovo is not IBM. IBM has a reputation for building solid machines. If HPaq or eMachines had bought the Thinkpad line, I think you'd see a similar decline.

Quality still as good? (4, Interesting)

t482 (193197) | about 8 years ago | (#15141340)

Friend of mine just got a new T series laptop and the keys fell off. After 10 Thinkpads he thinks the quality isn't quite as good and that they are cutting corners to make more money.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

Re:Quality still as good? (4, Informative)

dreemernj (859414) | about 8 years ago | (#15141355)

Yes, but not me personally. We have a few laptops at our office that are for general use and have been using thinkpads since they came with P166s. As a matter of fact those P166s are still here and running and have had no problems (aside from defective user errors) since we got them. But, then we got a couple of Lenovo Thinkpad X41s and aside from the poor performance for the money the things were built like eMachines. And not even todays eMachines, eMachines circa 1998. Now we have HPs.

Re:Quality still as good? - Or as bad? (2, Informative)

Herschel Cohen (568) | about 8 years ago | (#15141376)

I own a IBM T-30 that under really light use developed two cracks in the case. The crappy Gateway I leased and hauled around everywhere for over two years only developed one case crack. Moreover, the latter had hard use.

The only positive comment is that the IBM unit is still technically useful running Linux, whereas the Gateway with the then new Windows 95 ceased to have any utility to me a full six months prior to the lease expiration - and I was doing Windows type custom coding for clients at that time.

Irony (4, Insightful)

GrAfFiT (802657) | about 8 years ago | (#15141342)

The irony is that all these companies contract out (I could also include Apple here) to the same few manufacturers, all either in China or Taiwan..

Re:Irony (4, Insightful)

mjpaci (33725) | about 8 years ago | (#15141369)

I don't think it's the fact that they're made in China. Apple's laptops are assembled somewhere over there (don't recall if it's Taiwan or the main land) and they're good quality. It's the QA and the attention to detail that the mother company (Lenovo/Apple/HP/Toshiba) demands of the contract manufacturer. Maybe Lenovo isn't as strict as IBM was? Maybe they're using a different manufacturer. Who knows. We use IBM desktops and ThinkPads here and have since ~2003. I have not heard anything bad about the new Lenovo machines - but then again I haven't really been paying too much attention. I will ask today and post more if it's bad...

--Mike

Re:Irony (5, Interesting)

fafaforza (248976) | about 8 years ago | (#15141370)

Sure, ThinkPads for years have been manufactured in the same places that other laptops are. But with Lenovo's purchase, the design and decision making would likely move from US engineers and designers and to Lenovo's.

Would that make a difference? I tend to think so. IBM didn't rely on the ThinkPads for most of its revenue. As a result, there was a slow cycle of development where proven things were kept in the laptop and it hadn't changed in many major ways for years. Still black, still the same awesome keyboard, still the trackpoint.

Now with Lenovo, you have a hardware company that is keen on outperforming its rivals and being the biggest PC supplier. I haven't been considering a new laptop purchase, but from what I've seen on Lenovo's website, they are already adding gimmicky things like white marks on the top to indicate where various ports are, making bulky wide screen models, etc. How long til the built-in multi card readers, and blue neon lights all around the case? The risk is that with a reliance on the ThinkPad brand, and a market share to grow, the T line will start undergoing very short developmental cycles with lenovo throwing in any new ideea they think up and seeing how it works out, breaking what makes ThinkPads ThinkPads. At that point, you might as well get an HP.

Re:Irony (1)

BruceCage (882117) | about 8 years ago | (#15141420)

but from what I've seen on Lenovo's website, they are already adding gimmicky things like white marks on the top to indicate where various ports are
Let's not forget about the fancy [engadget.com] smancy [notebookreview.com] Windows key [ibm.com] they put on it.

Re:Irony (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 8 years ago | (#15141445)

The problem isn't who made the hardware, or where the hardware was made. The problem is who is selling, and more importantly, supporting it.

IBM had a reputation for excelent service. Even if they told everybody their laptops were made by some Chinese company and could be bought without the label for half price, businesses would still have bought the IBM product because they want the support that comes with an IBM product. Perhaps Lenovo didn't realize that when they made their purchase? Either way, if they want to retain those customers they need to build a support organization, and they need to make sure everybody knows they've built it.

Wait a minute... (2, Insightful)

nule.org (591224) | about 8 years ago | (#15141343)

I was under the impression that if you didn't want to buy a laptop "made in China" that you pretty much couldn't buy a laptop? Am I wrong?

Nope ... my HP NC6000 is made in France ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141408)

Though the quality of HP notebooks made in Chine is IMHO higher.

My friend got nc6220 with 15" 1400x1050 screen made in China and he loves it - the only problem is to get a good deal on it ...

smells like racism to me (2)

bazmail (764941) | about 8 years ago | (#15141345)

"Who wants to buy things from a Chinese company?"

about 20% of goods on sale in the US originate from china. what gives. Is it because Lenovo come rightout and admit to being chinese? This smacks of racism. Am I wrong?

Re:smells like racism to me (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141360)

Yes, you are wrong.
You asked!

Quote says it all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141346)

"In my immediate vicinity, those who owned ThinkPads have now traded up to an HP or a Toshiba. "

'Traded up' to me sounds like a perceived statement rather than a hard fact. Maybe using switched, migrated or moved might've been closer to the truth?

It'd also be interesting to see whether these people have migrated solely because Lenovo now produce the Thinkpad range, or because they needed a new laptop. Personally, I can't think of anyone I know that's had a problem with Lenovo just because they're Chinese, and I would probably only blacklist them on a basis of first hand experience of problems with their support, rather than just bailing on them for no reason.

Lenovo = Legend Systems = Packard Bell (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141350)

Basically the Thinkpad is rebranded Packard Bell

Re:Lenovo = Legend Systems = Packard Bell (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 8 years ago | (#15141428)

I've looked it up and I don't see anything linking Legend Group (not "Legend Systems) and Packard Bell, or Lenovo and Packard Bell. Packard Bell is nominally independent, though NEC and Groupe Bull own large stakes.

Re:Lenovo = Legend Systems = Packard Bell (5, Informative)

Aphrika (756248) | about 8 years ago | (#15141450)

"Basically the Thinkpad is rebranded Packard Bell"

Ah sorry, that's not true.

Packard bell are owned by NEC, and Lenovo used to be known as Legend. They are not the same company, nor linked. However, they may use the same ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) for some of their kit - IIRC the 3000 series Lenovo is made by Compal who also makes a lot of the HP kit.

However, the Thinkpad range has always been manufactured by Quanta. They also make laptops for Sony and Dell and are well respected in the industry, along with other top-tier ODMs like Celestica, Flextronics and Wistron.

Performance (3, Interesting)

therage96 (912259) | about 8 years ago | (#15141351)

For me, its not the fact that they are a Chinese manufacturer, but rather the performance of their computers is just not there.

Its the same as it was when Thinkpad was still an IBM product, they were tight little systems with perhaps a few cool features (butterfly keyboard anyone?), but when it came to the actual performance of the machine, competitors always beat them and at a cheaper price too.

Now if this is still true or not, I'm not sure, but that is my "impression" of the Thinkpad brand still leftover from the old IBM days.

Re:Performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141486)

...when Thinkpad was still an IBM product, they were tight little systems with perhaps a few cool features (butterfly keyboard anyone?), but when it came to the actual performance of the machine, competitors always beat them and at a cheaper price too.

Hmmm, maybe, but when my clients ask me about a laptop, I still recommend a used Thinkpad over a new "anything else". The damned things never die! I still have a Thinkpad that is 12 years old that runs perfectly. Nobody ever discards a Thinkpad because it is broken, just because it went obsolete. I hope Lenovo keeps that part of the tradition.

Re:Performance (3, Interesting)

OS24Ever (245667) | about 8 years ago | (#15141489)

Who cares if it's a little slower. I much prefer the fact that a 280lb geek could step on one closed 600E on the floor at 2AM and not break the screen, or a hatchback is opened and your bag was open and your T21 bounces out onto the pavement and you open it up and it works fine, or a X40 gets a full bottle of Jones Berry Cola poured into it and other than a black cherry-licious smell it keeps working (ok so I replaced the keyboard a few weeks later)

Now a 32 oz glass of tea into a T21 didn't fair nearly as well, but that's a lot of liquid. I was impressed I yanked the power cord in like 0.2 seconds but it kept running on that little thing called a battery.

Hard drive was fine though.

Slight Disclaimer: I work for em, and no matter what happens to them they get repaired, but so far I've not managed to do much to them that requires it, and I'm not gentle with my systems. I shudder to think if I treated the Dell, HPs or Toshibas (little while since I've used on of the Toshibas though). I see bits-o-plastic everywhere.

Perception (4, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | about 8 years ago | (#15141353)

As a country, we prove ourselves irrationally xenophobic again and again. From the Dubai Ports World deal to people not buying laptops because they're "Chinese." What people don't know is that not much has changed since Lenovo bought the right to produce Thinkpads. They still use the same suppliers, and the manufacture is still basically the same. Thinkpads still kick ass, and I challenge anyone to find a laptop that isn't made primarily overseas.

Re:Perception (1, Interesting)

tweek (18111) | about 8 years ago | (#15141388)

I disagree.

I made the same argument to my boss after the Lenovo deal (we're a big IBM shop) and here was his (and our board's) rationale:

There is a difference between buying a laptop from a company where the profits of the entire laptop sale itself go to the company vs. the profits of the entire laptop sale go to the Chinese government.

And you know what, it makes sense to me.

Face it, the profit from the components is nowhere NEAR what it is for the total machine. IBM and all the other vendors took the cheap cost of the components and slapped them together, added a logo and marked them up. Now that markup is going straight into the pocket of Lenovo, a wholly owned Chinese company.

I'm all for free market and the power of global trade but in this case, the market forces seem to be speaking and saying "We can't get away from the parts being bought from communist China but we can choose to not buy a Chinese laptop."

Is it xenophobic? Not really. Hypocritical? Yeppers.

Re:Perception (3, Informative)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | about 8 years ago | (#15141490)

> There is a difference between buying a laptop from a
> company where the profits of the entire laptop sale
> itself go to the company vs. the profits of the
> entire laptop sale go to the Chinese government.

Err, what are you on about? Lenovo is not owned by the Chinese government, nor does its profits go to the Chinese government (least nothing over and beyond what IBM would of had to pay when they owned them).

Your bosses seem a bit thick.

Re:Perception (4, Insightful)

shmergin (679427) | about 8 years ago | (#15141514)

Im not usually a grammar/spelling nazi, but i can't let this one slide. You made a typo, should have read: "Is it xenophobic? Yes. Hypocritical? Yeppers." We (i say 'we' as the world, and not the default American 'we' that is spoken about so often in these parts) are all happy to buy our cheap laptops from Western companies who are exploiting eastern companies who are exploiting cheap eastern labour. When said companies build up enough wealth to take on the weatern companies then all of a sudden we become wary of buying from them, lest they become too rich or powerful. Lenovo paid a large sum of money to take over the thinkpad name and are building basically the same product. Not buying a product for the sole reason that you dont want the profits to go to another country (and make that country richer/more powerful) is xenophobia at work (fear or hatred of foreigners; in this case, fear).

Re:Perception (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 years ago | (#15141402)

I would disagree. I would instead say that we are a culture who blindly purchases brand names with very little actual research into performance. Sytle is everything. IBM has style. Lenovo doesn't. Nobody want's a middling performance, ugly laptop/ Lets' face it - IBM thinkpads have never been speed demons, and they are the butt-ugliest, clunky-looking laptops out there. But IBM - I B M - now that's a name that means confidence and performance. And premium prices mean premium goods.

Lenovo. Well, this "new" (to American ears) Chinese company may have bought the ThinkPad name, but there no IBM. Nosireebob. We need something that stands for quality. A company that would never cut corners. A solid performer that believes in quality over raw profits. Those boys at Hewlett Packard have been around forever and I know that name. It must stand for a good product. So now that IBM, the venerable old company, is not producing laptops, we'll go with HP. Rock solid, I tell you. (Yes everything about HP is tongue in cheek...Thanks, Carly).

This has very little to do with xenophobia, and much to do with brand recognition.

I think you sum up my point well, "... I challenge anyone to find a laptop that isn't made primarily overseas." And yet, we buy them by the landfill-load. It's not about where they're made, it's about what name is on the cover. It's no different than the way be buy cars, clothes, appliances, and consumer electronics. Nobody would buy Lenovo bought Nike people woudn't buy Lenovo athletic shoes - even if they made them in the same Chinese factory.

Re:Perception (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 8 years ago | (#15141481)

I would disagree. I would instead say that we are a culture who blindly purchases brand names with very little actual research into performance. Sytle is everything. IBM has style. Lenovo doesn't.
I don't know about that. ThinkPads were pretty dull looking. My current work Thinkpad (P2 1.6) looks like a friggin Yugo, and the new ones I've seen don't look as sleek/stylish as some of the Dells, Apples, or Alienwares. However, I've always classified them in their own category: Quality Windows-Based.

What I always liked about Thinkpads is their rugged construction and stability. My Thinkpads have always been the most stable laptops I've used personally and professionally and they've been able to take one hell of a beating from International commuting without taking any damage. Sure, my PowerBook is also pretty decent about that but my job requires a Windows laptop so Apple is out when it comes to work (though the MacBook is interesting).

I haven't looked into Lenovo yet as I'm not in the market for a new Laptop. However, when it's time for a new one I'll definately give them a look to see if they've kept at least some of the design features I liked from the old IBM Thinkpads. I'll also wait to read reviews about the stability to see if that's suffered any.

I try not to cast judgements on products before at least testing them out in person.

Re:Perception (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | about 8 years ago | (#15141495)

So now that IBM, the venerable old company, is not producing laptops, we'll go with HP. Rock solid, I tell you.

There's something to that. There's many companies out there that run Dell Desktops, Dell Servers, Dell Laptops ... until you get to the executive suite, where it's IBM ThinkPad all the way. Which of course is a complete pain in the ass from an IT perspective.

The Levano models come out, they're supposedly the same. But they aren't quite. The buttons are cheaper and fuglier. The lids are shiney rather than black rubber. The keyboard layout is a little different. The docking stations aren't compatible anymore. Anyone looking for an excuse to get rid of the ThinkPads has just found several.

Re:Perception (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 8 years ago | (#15141412)

No, this isn't racism or xenophobia. The last generation of IBM Thinkpads were/are crap, the T series (especially the T21 and its Deathstar drive). Lenovo basically bought a soiled brand and IBM was happy to give it to them.

Same Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141354)

Not sure if it's the same in the US, but here in Europe the StinkPads are supported by the same out souring company that did the job for IBM. A friend of mine who works for them informed me that no customer details are allowed to floow upstream to China, all contact Lenovo must go though line mangers/area suppervisors. If it is due to support issues only then this appears to be a customer misconception.

No change of perception (3, Informative)

CUGWMUI (639218) | about 8 years ago | (#15141357)

Lenovo may have taken over the Thinkpad business from IBM, but the quality of the laptops continues to be the same. Lenovo (and IBM too), ensured that their large corporate customers continue to stick by the brand, and thats where the large sales volumes and bulk contracts come from. If there is a drop in sales to individual customers, its probably because the other laptops aren't "bland, boring machines" like Thinkpads, from a visual perspective as well as from a features perspective.

I know my company is still sticking to Thinkpads.. for the time being atleast.

Paranoia (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 8 years ago | (#15141398)

I recently got a new laptop and this is actually the exact reason I stayed away from Thinkpads. Lenovo had some very attractive new Core Duo machines, but I couldn't bring myself to trust a Chinese-owned company. It's one thing for the components to be manufactured there because at least an American company oversees the process -- or so I tell myself -- and that company is presumably accountable to American laws and such. But in the case of Lenovo... who are they accountable to? What happens if the Chinese government asks them to install monitoring devices in all their systems, either hardware or software? I don't actually know the answer to this, but the mere doubt caused me to choose another company. Did I make a mistake?

In other words... is it really safe to place American business interests and information in the control of the Chinese government?

Lenovo vs. HP (4, Informative)

Dethboy (136650) | about 8 years ago | (#15141366)

I'd buy another Thinkpad. I got a Z60 in December - so far the only problem I've had was a missing power cord for the docking station. I called and was promptly drop shipped a new cable.

In contrast - I've had two HP's that I've had to ship back - one took 2 weeks to return, was still broken when I got it back - shipped it again - waited another two weeks, got it back again still broken, then a day later I got a 'new' refurbished laptop in the mail - no explanation.

Jim

It is misconception. (3, Insightful)

William Robinson (875390) | about 8 years ago | (#15141367)

Who wants to buy things from a Chinese company

Hope it is misconception. Why would anybody discard a product just because it is from some other country unless there are quality issues.

my $0.02.

PS: No I haven't RTFA. The site is slashdotted.

Re:It is misconception. (1)

knewter (62953) | about 8 years ago | (#15141469)

Are you kidding me? There are plenty of reasons to buy domestic, regardless of build quality. To do so directly benefits the domestic economy greater than to buy from China (obv. this argument doesn't apply to chinamen). If you're entirely selfish AND you think that America will maintain its dominance in the marketplace without your help, then sure it makes no sense to buy domestic instead of Chinese. If you have the least bit of patriotism then the benefit buying domestic affords your country will at least become a factor in your decisions. At that point you won't be so one-minded in your buying decisions.

For clarification: I don't say you should buy a crappy American product in place of a high quality Chinese product. But there are plenty of comparably or better built laptops in the domestic market. And even if the supply chain hasn't changed drastically, and the laptops were always being built in China, it still makes sense to care about the nationality of the parent company if this is your concern - IBM was making the most profit of all the companies in the chain, and they were domestic. Now a foreign company is. It's not xenophobia; it's making beneficial, patriotic decisions with your capital.

Re:It is misconception. (2, Insightful)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | about 8 years ago | (#15141498)

>I don't say you should buy a crappy American product in
>place of a high quality Chinese product. But there are
>plenty of comparably or better built laptops in the
>domestic market.

Name one machine that has all its parts constructed and assembled in the USA, or if you have problems with that name one machine that has no parts in it that originated from China.

Re:It is misconception. (1)

nagora (177841) | about 8 years ago | (#15141506)

Why would anybody discard a product just because it is from some other country unless there are quality issues.

What about slavery issues?

TWW

No difference n my opinion.... (2, Insightful)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 8 years ago | (#15141373)

Thinkpads before and after the Lenovo purchase are every bit as good as the one when they were called IBM ThinkPads. In fact, they have bene made by Lenovo for many years now. Only way they may be loosing market share is fear of loosing support.

No, it's because Thinkpads suck (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 8 years ago | (#15141375)

Time to burn some more karma...

Thinkpads have always sucked. They are ugly, heavy, and generally have less features than similarly priced notebooks from other makers. So why were they so good? I.B.M. You had the reputation of IBM behind each one. It didn't matter that these things looked like they were slapped together from parts scrounged off of cheap umbrellas and suitcase handles, IBM - the business company - was making them, and that made these ugly pieces of crap not only the de-facto business laptop, but also items to be lusted over. You could fulfill all your dirtiest accounting fantasies just by typing on that loud clicky-clack keyboard and rubbing the stiff nipple. That heft in your briefcase? That's not 'cheapest supplier', nope, it's HEAVY DUTY parts.

Anyway, now that IBM isn't behind these things anymore, they lose all that luster. And customers lose all their lust. They look and realize what Apple realized almost a decade ago - PCs don't have to be ugly. So people start looking around and see what they've been missing. Color! Brightness! Good keyboards! STYLE.

It's all Windows underneath the hood, and in all likelihood it's the same hardware as well. There's no reason to be stuck with Thinkpads anymore.

Re:No, it's because Thinkpads suck (1)

eraser.cpp (711313) | about 8 years ago | (#15141413)

My Thinkpad weighs less than 4 pounds so I don't know where the "heavy" part is coming in. I've always know IBM laptops to be lighter than their competitors. The less features is probably because they don't whore almost meaningless specs to get sales. They just don't use cheap parts, plain and simple. While other companies will cut corners and give you a laptop that's heavy, runs hot, and has a powerbrick large enough to kill a man, IBM truly gives you a good product. I do like Powerbooks, but they wear much more easily than a ThinkPad. I also disagree that the ThinkPad is ugly, its look has grown on me quite a bit.

Re:No, it's because Thinkpads suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141417)

Huh? Nobody buys a thinkpad for the best buy ooh factor. I love thinkpads because they're build like bricks. They're close to indestructible and they have the best laptop keyboard I've seen. I don't need useless "features"

There are currently two lines of laptops which are toddler-resistant. Thinkpads and toughbooks. Thinkpads are more expensive for the performance. That's okay. I'm not buying laptops that will run Duke Nuke em forever. I'm buying a work machine that will survive 4 continents. I'm going to wait and see if Lenovo still makes bulletproof laptops. If so, I'll stick with Thinkpads. If they start making HP/Dell pieces of shit, then I'll switch to toughbooks.

Re:No, it's because Thinkpads suck (4, Insightful)

planetmn (724378) | about 8 years ago | (#15141447)

They are ugly, heavy, and generally have less features than similarly priced notebooks from other makers. So why were they so good? I.B.M. You had the reputation of IBM behind each one.

That, or they are built like a tank, something that a business would appreciate. I have a circa 1999/2000 I-Series thinkpad. Bottom of the line pretty much. The friend who purchased it new abused the hell out of it (since selling it to me and buying powerbooks, he has broken the powerbook multiple times). Six years later, everything works but the PCMCIA card reader (he dropped it onto its' side with a wireless card installed) and the hinges for the screen take some finessing (it travelled cross country, more then once, thrown into the bed of a truck). The thing is a tank, and if you are travelling, it will outlast anything out there. Sure they are more expensive, but there is a reason.

Color! Brightness! Good keyboards! STYLE.

Maybe it's just me, but I like the plain, black look of the thinkpad, I find it rather sleek. But hey, style is subjective. I also like the look of the powerbook. And in terms of keyboard, I have not used a keyboard on a laptop I prefer to the thinkpad (this includes HPs, Dells, Apples and Toshibas).

It's all Windows underneath the hood, and in all likelihood it's the same hardware as well.

While that may be true, the fact that the "hood" is heavier duty, makes a huge difference.

-dave

You think Thinkpads suck? O-kaaaay! (3, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 8 years ago | (#15141448)

Sorry, but if you think the Mac laptop offerings (especially the keyboards) are "good", you've evidently lost all feeling below the neck. Their laptop offerings are some of the flimsiest pieces of crap imaginable.

Take the MacBookPro. Pick it up in one hand along an edge. If you can't see the entire damn case flexing, I'll eat my UPS.

I'm not really sure what your experience with Thinkpads was.

My experience was almost universally positive. And the things, while not the greatest gaming systems (Internationa BUSINESS Machines anyone?), were always rock-stable and durable.

Of courst, that COULD just be me. But I pretty much have a circle of friends, co-workers, and colleagues who swear up and down by Thinkpads too. More or less for the identical reasoning.

As for color. I'm not marching in the local GLPP. I'm WORKING on the thing. I don't need neon greeen, or lousy aluminum cases that ding and scratch if I so much as look at the thing. The Thinkpads have a certain stark, no-nonsense style to them, and they definitely make a positive statement about the person using them.

But hey, to each his own. If you want a laptop that looks like it fell out of a box of Fruit Loops, cool.

Re:No, it's because Thinkpads suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141503)

I've disassembled many brands of laptops and would rather work on a thinkpad than most any other brand, especially those listed as alterntives that people are moving to.

Re:No, it's because Thinkpads suck (1)

daffmeister (602502) | about 8 years ago | (#15141513)

I'll jump on this band-wagon.

I've got an X20 that's six years old and has been used daily for work. It's still 100% perfect (apart from battery replacement). In particular, the keyboard is still absolutely perfect.

Frankly, I'm amazed. I've seen a lot of notebooks and never seen one last like this.

Bigoted overtones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141380)

In my immediate vicinity, those who owned ThinkPads ... I was told, "Who wants to buy things from a Chinese company?"

Does the poster work/live around an organisation of while supremacists or what?? Perhaps the statement should have been clarified a bit ...

The Yuan link... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141382)

Or else this is initially artificial but ultimately self-fulfilling news that has started appearing in the media because Lenovo is considered to be a very useful political lever to get China's leadership to float its currency, and thus would help reduce the US trade deficit.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141384)

"Despite the overall poor performance, Lenovo has still not gained the mindshare or the respect that the ThinkPads command."

What does that mean, if you have overall poor performance it would be expected that you gain mindshare and respect?

40% of the laptops we get are bad (2, Interesting)

pbulteel73 (559845) | about 8 years ago | (#15141385)

I can understand if everyone else is having the same problems we are. 40% of the laptops we get have issues that mainly come from bad motherboards. With that many systems not working and the fact that it takes so long for the new system or the part to replace it, you start to thinking of looking elsewhere. Lonovo: Get your act straight or you're going to lose almost all your customers!

Don't Know Lenovo (1)

eraser.cpp (711313) | about 8 years ago | (#15141391)

When I bought my Thinkpad I did so because of their reputation and was not disappointed. IBM's support is great. A friend's hard drive recently failed and he didn't need to go through the usual process of sending his stuff back to IBM for them to verify the problem, they just overnighted him a new one. Despite that he had called that evening, early morning the next day the new hard drive was at his door. I asked some Lenovo reps at CES if they were planning any major changes to the ThinkPad and they said no, but for something as expensive as a laptop I'm going to wait and see what other customers have to say. That said if I were in the market for a laptop right now I'd heavily consider Lenovo because Dell, HP, Sony, Toshiba, et al have all already proven themselves to be inferior products. I might even buy a powerbook.

Re:Don't Know Lenovo (4, Informative)

Jim Hall (2985) | about 8 years ago | (#15141491)

I'm going to wait and see what other customers have to say. That said if I were in the market for a laptop right now I'd heavily consider Lenovo because Dell, HP, Sony, Toshiba, et al have all already proven themselves to be inferior products.

IBM and Lenovo are still tight business partners. For example, at the end of March, I met with my IBM sales rep to review projects coming up over the next 12 months. As an aside, half-jokingly, I mentioned in that timeframe I'd also buy a new laptop ... and if he knew of any new ThinkPads coming out, let me know. Heh heh.

The next day I got a call from a Lenovo rep, who had spoken with my IBM rep. She said she heard I was interested in Lenovo Thinkpads, and would I like to test-drive a new model that recently came out? Hell, yes.

I've been running a Thinkpad T60 laptop since the start of April. Of course, I'm running Linux on it. [umn.edu] It's a great laptop. Titanium body, magnesium-allow cover, integrated wireless, ... It's even Intel Core Duo! At the end of the month, it's going to be hard to go back to my Thinkpad R40 (ABS plastic body & cover, single-core CPU, etc.)

Still, if you're waiting to see what other customers have to say, I'd suggest getting a model that uses the Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 video (which is natively supported by x.org). So far, ipw3945-0.0.74-4.rhfc5.at seems to provide stable wireless networking, so I guess the Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG integrated wireless is okay.

Surprised? (2, Insightful)

pcguru19 (33878) | about 8 years ago | (#15141392)

Everything on the market was already being made or 99% designed before Lenovo bought the brand. The true test of quality and innovation will be with the next flip of laptops. The R&D and design work is still being done in the USA by the old thinkpad team, but time will tell if they have the same budget and the same directives on what they're to build. It doesn't matter how great your design team is if you're told you've got to make a laptop for no more than $999 MSRP.

Don't want a new Thinkpad (1)

electronerdz (838825) | about 8 years ago | (#15141393)

I don't want one of the "new" Thinkpads, because they now have a Windows key. My image of a Thinkpad has been ruined now. Microsoft has branded them.

One word: Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141394)

At my company we have used IBM computers for 8 years that I know of, in three-year rotations. While the newer Lenovo computers/monitors look the same (Thinkcentre, Thinkvision and Thinkpad) the quality has gone downhill. They don't honor warranties like IBM did, constantly fighting us. And, one instance of quality lapses is the sheer number of LCD Thinkvision screens that came with 4 or 5 broken pixels, compared to past years. Due mostly to the not honoring of warranties, we will probably be going with Dells for this rotation.

Not well thought out. (1)

NetJunkie (56134) | about 8 years ago | (#15141407)

Lenovo has a lot of people here in the US. They support a lot of jobs. There are a lot of Thinkpad manufacturing and support jobs right here in North Carolina. Lenovo is about to move their HQ here.

We've been a Thinkpad buyer for many years and haven't seen any change or decline in quality or service. We just got in a few of the T60 and X60 notebooks that are brand new. The Core Duo T60 sure runs cooler than my MacBook Pro. We have enough new Dell and HP notebooks come through here to know that we're still purchasing the right equipment.

Lenovo is good stuff (2, Informative)

toogreen (632329) | about 8 years ago | (#15141410)

Hey I've been living in China for more than 3 years now, and I know a bit about computer brands and stuff. It's a total misconception because Lenovo is BY FAR the best Chinese brand for computers and laptop here. It's considered by many of pretty good quality. My girlfriend has a Lenovo branded laptop, and It's good enough! Better than many HP/Toshiba I've seen before...

It's not like nothing good can come out of China...

Re:Lenovo is good stuff (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about 8 years ago | (#15141499)

Lenovo is BY FAR the best Chinese brand for computers and laptop here.

The thing is -- companies aren't always brands, as is well known to, say, General Motors. Any organization that can make superb equipment can also make junk, and there's money to be made selling junk.

My late brother was, unlike me, a super-salesman. It wasn't that he was the sort who could sell anything to anyone. In fact that would ran counter to his philosophy of sales, which is that if you want to sell to somebody, have the right thing to sell to them. Consequently, he always had three lines. He had a high end line, for those who always had to have the best quality, even though most of the benenefit of the investment would be reaped by their heirs. He had a midrange line, for the pragmatic customer. And he had a line which was, frankly, crap, for the customer who wanted to squeeze the cash out of his business and leave town in a hurry.

Those three cases cover the vast majority of motivated customers. Where salesmean ran into trouble, in his view, was wasting energy and time by not understanding this simple principle of selling: there is a natural customer base for any level of quality. You can't sell crap to the carriage trade, they know it's crap. Nor can you sell crap to the bottom feeders by pretending it's good stuff -- it just puts them off. But you can easily sell crap to the bottom feeders as crap. It's very crappiness is in sense a kind a feature they will even pay a premium for. A man who feels like he is getting something as a steal is not going to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, unless you go out of your way to make him suspicious.

So -- the fact that Lenovo can make great hardware is neither here nor there. The fact that they have acquired a brand known for it's quality is far more significant.

eh? (1)

Starcub (527362) | about 8 years ago | (#15141415)

"Despite the overall poor performance, Lenovo has still not gained the mindshare or the respect that the ThinkPads command."

Perhaps if they inflated thier prices even more than IBM did, they would command greater market share and more respect than IBM did, well from ummm... from somebody anyway, I guess, maybe?

The Lenovo Tapes (1)

tangent3 (449222) | about 8 years ago | (#15141422)

How could you not feel comfortable with Lenovo after checking out the secret Lenovo Tapes [lenovo-tapes.com] that show the kind of testing and developement going on in the Lenovo labs?

Misperception : Lenovo is the best Laptop I had (1)

PierreG (968911) | about 8 years ago | (#15141425)

I had been using many Laptops including some Dell, Toshiba and Compact over the past 8 years and my Lenovo is by far the best laptop I ever had. Casing a solid, wifi communication communication works like a charm. They even gave us a free model upgrade since they were a little late on delivery (ordered before christmas break). My other coworker with Lenovo think the same. From my point of view, misperception is the problem.

Better Tech Support!!! (1)

Kookus (653170) | about 8 years ago | (#15141426)

If all countries outsource their tech support, does that mean that if we call lenovo's tech support we might actually get someone we can understand? Anyways... I won't buy their laptop's because they haven't proven themselves. I also won't buy toshiba, dell, or any other laptop other then maybe a gateway as a last resort. Personally, I'd rather laptop parts become standardized and manufactured so that I can easily get parts and put them together myself.

Probably nothing to do with China, or even Lenovo. (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | about 8 years ago | (#15141429)

Companies aren't usually racist, or xenophobic. Most big business embrace foreign production as a method to save costs. What's going on here is that the high price of a ThinkPad used to be justified because it was backed by the excelent support organization at IBM. Busunesses didn't care that Lenovo was making the laptops for IBM anyway before the sale because they were buying the service and support primarily and the hardware second. Unless Lenovo builds up a network of local on-call service personell and a rapid FRU distribution chain like IBM has, and unless they market that service organization to death, they're slowly going to lose every business and educational ThinkPad customer IBM had.

The real problem with Lenovo (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141430)

The real problem isn't that Lenovo is making the computers, they have manufactured Thinkpads for IBM for years now. The problem is that Lenovo is pushing the Thinkpads into retail and are therefore competing with low-end Gateways, Averatecs, and who knows what else. This puts enormous pressure to bring prices down, which means resultant pressure to get the manufacturing costs of the laptops down as well. Users of the x60 series Thinkpads (formerly x40, x32, etc) are complaining that the buttons feel cheap and that the units are not as solid as previous models.

The good thing about Thinkpads is that IBM refused to cheapen the laptops just to get market share. IBM users knew that they were getting a solid notebook with good service and a 3-year warranty. IBM could therefore charge a premium for that. Now that Lenovo is trying to get their products into Best Buy, there is no incentive to build a rock solid machine because nobody is going to buy it because it is too expensive. So the incentive is to build cheap crap that is good enough to get out the door without excessive warranty claims from cheaping out too far.

It's a shame that Lenovo is ruining the Thinkpad brand. I have a Thinkpad and love it but I will have to think twice when it comes time to buy another one.

It has nothing to do with the China issue (3, Interesting)

duffbeer703 (177751) | about 8 years ago | (#15141431)

Companies bought Thinkpads because they were IBM customers, and their IBM rep sold them some IBM "solution" that covered everything from software & services to client devices. You see this alot in big banks and government agencies. They would sell Thinkpads and PCs at a heavy "discount", and recoup the "discount" in rollout costs or by not discounting some enterprise server or software.

Now that Lenovo is a different entity, your Websphere, Tivoli or mainframe salesman cannot pad his commissions by moving a few hundred Thinkpads at a heavily discounted price. Hence the drop in Thinkpad sales.

Simple really (1)

hey! (33014) | about 8 years ago | (#15141432)

Anything that's mobile is not longer just a tool. Because you carry it, people associate you with it; it makes a statement about you. In other words, it's a fashion accessory.

Sure the manufacturing, technical support, and eincrasingly the engineering can all be offshored as well, or perhaps even better for the price. But they could never offshore that ineffable yet undeniable ThinkPad style: that lushious black keyboard with crisp white lettering, accented with that audacious soupçon of blue... Well, blue-gray technically speaking, but we don't want to look tarty.

And there's that signature ThinkPad shape, that is so staunchly and solidly rectangular, but somehow manages to be square as well.

Thinkpad, you will be missed.

Blogspam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141435)

"I think that Lenovo is losing market share. I think it's because...

You think?! Well, it must be true then. This article is nothing but a blogspam with no supporting evidence.

A new low for Slashdot... today.

Wo ai zhongguo ren! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141442)

Wo ai zhongguo ren.
Wo ai zhongguo ren.
Wo ai zhongguo ren.
Ni hao ma; ni hao ma; ni hao ma; zaijien!

Hint: Lenovo should offer Linux laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141449)

Offering naked or Linux notebooks would make Lenovo a leader.
How many of us are sick of the Windows tax?

Hint: It will cost you more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141459)

It's an interesting study in business and economics to see how buying a naked PC will actually cost you more than buying the fully-loaded PC and wiping the drive yourself.

On a new Lenovo X60 (1)

teeheehee (12647) | about 8 years ago | (#15141461)

Recently I purchased and last week received my first new laptop in years. I chose a Lenovo Thinkpad.

Wow is it a nice machine!

I've been pretty much all about Thinkpads for a few years now, the first was given to me as a hand-me-down from a friend. I think a big part of it for me is the trackpoint, or 'nipple', because I really don't like touch pads for input and control. So few laptops have an alternative, and none go solely with a trackpoint or similar that I have seen.

I have no problem buying from a Chinese company as a simple consumer, but as it's already been stated most every other laptop manufacturer already gets at least part of their product made in China anyways. I really don't think this machine would have cost what it did if it wasn't made by Lenovo, Thinkpads are generally more expensive even now but for the specs I had thought they would have charged at least $500 more than they did.

Now, it's only been a week and I haven't picked up an extra 2.5" SATA drive to try and install Gentoo yet, so there's plenty of time for my perception to change - but... so far I'm way impressed!

Toshiba rock (1)

Pedrito (94783) | about 8 years ago | (#15141466)

For years, I refused to buy a laptop. I had to use them for work (for trips, demos, etc) all the time and hated them. At work, we used primarily Think Pads, but I had also used a few other brands.

Then I visited a friend who had a Toshiba and my whole outlook on Notebooks changed.

The fan and battery on mine are shot now, after years of abuse (including a year in Mexico sucking really dusty air through it which I'm sure is what killed the fan). But it still runs, albeit at a slower CPU speed. If I need it to speed up, I just stick the dust buster up to the vent and give it a couple seconds and it perks right up.

LUCENT & LENOVO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141467)

While Lucent's workforce numbers may not command much attention these days (~30k), the company is moving to all laptops and Lenovo is the supplier. These will be dual cores. Rollout starts next month.

It's all branding folks... (4, Insightful)

Churla (936633) | about 8 years ago | (#15141468)

Why do people continue to buy Sony products when Sony has been slipping?

Why do people continue to buy Microsoft software if it's known not to be the best out there?

Why do people eat at McDonalds instead of the mom and pop diner 2 blocks away that serves better burgers?

It's all name and brand recognition. People bought IBM notebooks because IBM had a name behind them, and in many cases also supplied all the bigger infrastructure and server pieces.

Now that same laptop isn't an IBM anymore. Like a high dollar luxury car manufacturer that also releases the same cars produced in the same way, but with a less expensive nameplate on them loses market value.

What used to have a Lexus nameplate on it, now has a Toyota nameplate. And has to complete on a different scale.

Lenovo is the same still. (2, Interesting)

youroldbuddy (539169) | about 8 years ago | (#15141473)

Lenovo is still making ThinkPads engineered by IBM and the quality hasnt changed a bit. The keyboards are still made by the same suppliers and nothing has changed yet. As someone who works 9 hours a day fixing IBM laptops for a reseller, I can say that things are looking up. The new T/X60 computers look awesome and relatively problem free (havent had any experience with them yet, a good sign) and Z60 is more or less problem free and has many features IBM has starved homeusers of (windows button, firewire etc.). The whole ThinkVantage package, Image UltraBuilder + LANDesk is coming along faster and faster and the whole commitee mentality seems to be more or less gone. My prefence for IBM laptops is reinforced every time I open up lappy's from other manufacturers.

Racist technologists? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15141476)

I'm concerned about the apparent racist tones of this article. Racists rarely have any facts right, and it's already been pointed out that the majority of laptops are assembled by a Chinese company or two.

Folks, everyone on the planet has a right to work and pay their mortage. Maybe folks in the U.S. need to consider that our expectations are too high and our tolerance for sweat and strain too low.

As far as the product: I had two IBM Thinkpads before I bought one of the first Lenovo marketed units. It works great and I'm a happy camper.

So, stick to arguing economics and that you want profit to stay in town.

We're supposed to be better than this.

Perception is tantamount to reality... (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 8 years ago | (#15141488)

People look at the front of things, not the back, doubly so retail stores.
When people buy at WalMart, they perceive they buying from a good old 'merican bidniz. They see Sam Walton, Arkansas, Slim Jims, NASCAR and Wrangler - what can be more American? In reality if WalMart were a country they'd be China's 8th largest trading partner.
Even when they see things that say "Made in the USA" they don't realize it could be from the Marianas, which is by technicality a US protectorate but is just another Pacific sweatshop haven.
For years we likely bought either Singapore or Fremont or Cork -built Macintosh computers, but as long as they said "Designed by Apple in Cupertino California" on the box then nobody thought the next thought. And it didn't matter.
But IBM / Lenovo went through some very public wringers over whether to let the Chinese buy the operation and build these computers which are used throughout Gov contracts - so they're been branded as Chinese.
Befoer that, when people heard IBM they thought blue suits, white shirts and "Armonk".
Lenovo MIGHT have / or might have TO / simply call these ThinkPads and not display the Lenovo name.

IBM's mindshare (2, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#15141493)

IBM has been slowly losing mindshare for decades now. Older nerds will remember the days when IBM was the big one, the monolith, the place BBS kids dreamed of haxing and MIT kids dreamed of ending up at. For a long time, the entire home computer industry was basically IBM and Apple. Not so these days.

Thinkpads are ok (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 8 years ago | (#15141497)

We have them at work, and I've found that the ones I've used are very nice workhorse machines in a men in black dress code sort of way. The PC support people also seem to like the support they get on these machines. The keyboards are particularly nice, however I my must say that the quality of the Thinkpad keyboard I have now is a cut below the machine I had previously.

However I am also in the market for a machine for personal use - and I've found that Lenovo just doesn't offer the features I'm looking for, including a 17" LCD and AMD CPUs in their Thinkpad line. So I'm going to be looking at HP and others.

features (1)

donh (117702) | about 8 years ago | (#15141508)

I actually ordered one, and then had to cancel.
Turns out, they dropped serial ports. I was talking to an IT guy at a factory, and he had to send all theirs back for the same reason (the USB dongles fail, I am tired of hearing about them -shut up :)
He got Gateways (he hates them, but they have serial ports), and I have an HP on order.
oh-well!

-d-

My experience (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 years ago | (#15141523)

When my 2.5 year-old IBM T40 recently flaked out, it was repaired on warranty - including a new motherboard, keyboard, and CD ROM drive (I use the laptop all the time and it was basically shot). So long as they carry on IBM's obligations and the quality stays high, I'm seriously tempted to stay with the Thinkpad series. The T60 looks to be a great machine, the only complication is that MacBooks can now boot windows too so those are tempting.

Silly, irrational, and mindlessly nationalistic. (1)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | about 8 years ago | (#15141526)

Where do they think all these electronics get manufactured otherwise? Hint: not here in the good 'ol U-S-of-A.

It is not IBM. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 8 years ago | (#15141529)

I really don't think that they are from China that is the real issue. It is the fact that they are not IBM. "Nobody will get fired for choosing IBM" is the old slogan. Lenovo is well... unheard of in the US. I could see someone renewing their Contract for new ThinkPads and the people see that this company Lenovo. And they get a Bad Batch of Think Pads will the person who decided to go with Lenovo will probably get fired, while if the Same thing happened with IBM he would probably get promoted because if IBM can't do it, A smaller guy would be able to do it as well. Now Dell, HP, Toshiba have name reconision in the market so after IBM dropted the think pad they go well HP is at a lot of our competitors so they will use HP. It is not about quality or percieved quality it is about keeping your job.

The end of the ThinkPad (4, Informative)

dozer (30790) | about 8 years ago | (#15141555)

I bought a ThinkPad i1452 in 1999. IBM took it back once under warranty to clean cat hairs out of the keyboard (oops) and once, OUT OF WARRANTY, to replace a still-working but loose power connector. No hassles; I just call them up, spend 10 minutes on the phone, a shipping container arrives the next day, and I have a working laptop back within a week. Beautiful.

My roommate just bought an X41. The hardware is beautiful but the software that it shipped with is insanely buggy. She spent a day applying all the updates. Click update, click yes, reboot, click update, click yes, reboot reboot reboot. At the end of that, the laptop still throws up random error dialogs about hard disk issues and the CD-ROM drive is really flaky. She spent 4 hours on the phone with Lenovo over the weekend. Lenovo told her to run the entire diagnostic regimen (takes over 12 hours). No errors. Then they told her to wipe the hard drive and recover from the recovery partition. And then go through another day of update hell. She hasn't done that yet -- the laptop is sitting unused while she tries to find time to hassle with it again.

Lenovo seems to think that it's acceptable to charge her almost $2500 for a laptop and then burn over TWO DAYS of her time trying to get working software on this thing. IBM would have fixed it or replaced it and ensured she has a laptop that actually works. If she wanted to repair her own laptop, she would have bought an Asus.

I've bought and recommended ThinkPads since 1999. No more. Does anybody have any recommendations for a ThinkPad replacement? A company that makes solid laptops and stands behind them 100%?

Japan (1)

shoemaker251 (816362) | about 8 years ago | (#15141557)

Thinkpads have been manufactured in China for quite awhile. I'm sure people had the same perceptions about electronics coming out of Japan at first. Weren't the consumer electronics coming out of Japan starting in the 60s and 70s just cheap knock-offs of American products? I don't think anyone associates Japan with inferior electronics today.

Perceptions about Chinese products will change over time as Chinese designed and manufactured goods become higher quality. In time, Chinese manufacturers will move up the food chain into vehicles, etc.

I own a T-series Thinkpad, and I love it. I'd have to see some studies documenting a decline in Thinkpad quality before I change my opinion. However, I don't like the idea of Thinkpads being sold at Best Buy. I think there's a certain stigma to computers sold at retail stores, particularly laptops. I'd hate to see the Thinkpad brand diminished because they're sold at the mall.
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