Much more than ‘the owner of Motorola’ : know the history of Lenovo

The newest chapter in the technology history series talks about a Chinese brand that, like the other countrymen, has arrived slowly and without fanfare, but has been booming in various markets for some time.

You should now know her very well for being the current owner of Motorola , but she is much older on the market. Of course we are talking about Lenovo , which has gained a good reputation in recent years, especially in the PC industry. Stay tuned in the video below to learn more about the trajectory of this brand.

Attempt and error

The Lenovo was founded in Beijing in 1984 by Liu Chuanzhi , who was a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He had only ten fellow engineers as first officials.

Four years later, she changes denomination when she becomes a conglomerate and becomes the Legend . And it started off just wrong: the company’s first business was importing televisions to China, but that did not work out. She also tried to make a digital clock and … it failed again.

Liu Chuanzhi , the founder and first CEO of Lenovo

According to the founder, the main reason for this was that the team was all made up of scientists. But that’s not quite the way it works, right?

Lenovo’s first success came only in 1988. It launched a circuit board that allowed Chinese characters to be typed on IBM PCs  – and keep the acronym for that giant, as those marks will intersect in the future. At the end of the decade, she finally released a self-made product, the Legend PC. She also opened a subsidiary in Hong Kong to start an international division.

The Legend PC, the brand’s first hardware success.

Before that, Lenovo was very simple, but wanted to get the picture as powerful. To save money, employees would walk to work, but before meetings they would take a taxi a block earlier to pretend they were arriving in a car. They even rented rooms in hotels to close deals, but the room itself was super simple.

Light at the end of the tunnel

The Lenovo was the first Chinese brand to launch a computer with the classic original Pentium processor, 586. She also entered the market servers .

In 1994, it makes the public offering of shares and raises the equivalent of 30 million dollars. In five years, it has become the market leader in the Asia-Pacific region on computers .

The Lenovo logo before internationalization and name change.

It is worth remembering that Lenovo emerged in an intermediate generation of Chinese technology companies, well before Xiaomi. China was still heavily controlled by the state, but it had already opened up trade and encouraged some global investment. We talked about it a little bit in the Huawei story, which has already been told here in the series.

Small revolutions

In 1999, the first mini-laptop came out of the industry, when the notebooks were still real “buggies”. It weighed only 1.3 kg, had the traditional inputs for cables and peripherals and a keyboard 5{60744f0919d53124c03a11d98318193fda80b8dce065a9d207ce3efef73ed2c9} smaller than normal. The Lenovo also revolutionized the internet in China to popularize access in the country: that same year, she released the Internet PC, which had the incredible function to connect to the network in one click.

In 2002, came the definitive change of name to win the world market. Lenovo brings “Le” by Legend , and the Latin word “Novo”, which we know very well in Portuguese. In Chinese, the original name is Liánxiang, which means “connected thinking”.

A piece of DeepComp 1800 stored

This was also the year she introduced the DeepComp 1800, then China’s largest supercomputer. He had 20 cabinets, 512 colors and a thousand gigaflops of performance.

The dream of being IBM becomes reality

Then came the great revolution in the company. In 2004, Lenovo bought the ThinkPad personal computer , tablet and notebook division from none other than IBM, the first to launch a personal computer on the market. I know I promise a lot of stories around here, but it’s serious: we’re going to tell you about IBM’s future path.

Yang Yuanqing, current CEO of Lenovo

But he had bad news that year. After serving in the position since 2001, CEO Yuanqing Yang steps out of the chairmanship to only return triumphantly in 2009. In the meantime, two former IBM executives led the company, Bill Amelio and Stephen Ward, but this did not So sure.

The notebooks and tablets success

The Lenovo tried to take a bit the image of being a Chinese brand for two reasons. The first was the prejudice of many people with products of that country; The second was because Chinese brands usually make much more success and attract more investors only from there, but Lenovo also wanted to strengthen in the rest of the planet.

And one way she found it for this was with the critically acclaimed series of IdeaPad notebooks . It started in 2008 and exists even today under the Yoga family. One of the prominent models is the IdeaPad Yoga 13, which has that classic design with special hinges, allowing to turn until it becomes a kind of tablet .

The “modern classic” Yoga 13

Another highlight is the ThinkPad X300, 2008. It is a notebook model more aimed at those who need a device to work, but without abandoning a thin and light look. Originally powered by Windows 8, the ThinkPad 10 tablet was also highly praised.

The ThinkPad X300

In addition to ThinkPad , Lenovo bet on the name in other families: the Think Center, of desktops aimed at the corporate market; the Think Server, the server IBM technology-based; And ThinkStation, of high-performance workstations.

What about smartphones?

In 2008, Lenovo sold its own mobile division to focus on PCs and other markets. However, it seems she repented because she bought it back a year later. The first smartphone was LePhone, which arrived in China in 2010 and was launched in other countries under the name of IdeaPhone. It has a 3.7 inch screen and a custom Android skin .

The LePhone

The company has well-known cell phone lines and you can not name everything here. The most famous are the Vibe, of course, besides the K and the Z, which came from the purchase of the Chinese ZUK. In the case of Brazil, the Vibe family did not arrive until the end of 2015, with the model A7010.

Lenovo’s first smartphone in Brazil

Another good bet was Phab 2 , Google’s first Tango smartphone of augmented reality. It is expensive and not made to sell millions of copies, but it is a good step to get started. And there’s the Folio, a foldable tablet concept presented now in 2017 and that looks incredible.

Increasing the catalog

Between 2011 and 2012, Lenovo has filled the shopping cart. Acquisitions include: NEC, one of Japan’s largest technology companies; Medion, who was strong in Germany; And EMC, which has server and cloud storage businesses in China. There was also the purchase of the Brazilian CCE, at the time for 300 million reais.

The Brazilian CCE was one of the brands bought by Lenovo

Can you understand Lenovo’s strategy ? Before entering once in a market she does not know so well, she buys a company from that country to get used to that industry and begin to insert the brand gradually.

Did it work? By 2013, it has become the number one PC brand in the world and the third in smartphones. She also bet more lightly on areas of Smart TVs and wearables.

Hello, Moto!

In 2014, another bomb! The Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility from Google  for nearly $ 3 billion. This included the Moto X , Moto G  and Moto Maxx lines , plus royalties for patents and rights for future releases.

A lot of people did not like the acquisition of Motorola  by Lenovo and felt that the products fell pretty high after that. The company has also started releasing more lines and models, and some people think that this has taken some of the strength of the brand.

The truth, however, is that Google did not have much else to do with the Moto line, especially since it was starting to focus on Nexus models and later  Pixel

The story even reserved a swift controversy over the acquisition: that Lenovo would retire the Moto brand and focus only on its own, but the reception of it was so negative that it backtracked. It is worth remembering that we have already told the history of Motorola here, give a check.

A big fish

And you have more controversy? There’s more controversy! In 2015 , the adware was found to be very annoying on the computers : Superfish, which showed unwanted advertisements and had security holes for future invasions. The company apologized  and stopped sending PCs with this problem, while Microsoft removed the software.

And the logo changed that year. It ceases to be in miniscule and italic to get simpler, with the only differences in the letter “e”, at a different angle and with a rectangular background that can assume various colors.

And that’s the story of Lenovo , a powerful brand that took time to make its mark, but came with everything from China and today is the leader or one of the largest in the market for smartphones, notebooks , tablets , hybrids and other PC formats.