Lenovo’s phone is ringing again. And it’s IBM. Again.

When IBM sold its desktop and laptop PC business to Lenovo nine years ago, it held on to its x86-based server business. But now, IBM doesn’t see the x86 server business as a growth area anymore, and now they’re interested in selling that to Lenovo, too.

Here’s a disconcerting little tidbit: While IBM’s x86 server sales dropped 9%, its mainframe sales increased 7%. Mainframes were supposed to be on their way out in the 1980s. We can’t quit mainframes, and that’s why IBM hung on to that business.

It’s possible that it just means there are too many companies producing x86 servers. It’s also possible that companies would prefer to buy both their server-room and end-user hardware from the same vendor, so reuniting the two businesses under Lenovo’s ownership might prop the server business up a bit more.

But the analysts cited in the Ars Technica article suggest that the IT sector as a whole is slowing down, and IBM’s server business troubles are just an indication of that.

2 thoughts on “Lenovo’s phone is ringing again. And it’s IBM. Again.

  • April 21, 2013 at 11:03 am
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    I can’t recall where I read that the really big datacenters all use custom-made server hardware rather than buying from IBM or Dell or whoever… and thanks to the ever-dropping price of virtual hosting, the demand for servers among small-medium businesses is dropping because it’s now cheaper for them to get virtual servers from, say, Amazon.

  • April 24, 2013 at 11:13 pm
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    I have heard the same about custom-made gear. I think part of the goal, in addition to cheapness, is to get power consumption down.

    The idea of only buying as much computing power as you need is appealing. The problem comes in speed/latency and availability (whether network or the end servers).

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