Lenovo’s top executive is determined to keep the world’s No. 2 PC maker moving into what he calls the PC Plus era.
Another step in that direction could be an expansion of Lenovo’s growing smartphone business to include devices running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Right now, the LePhones from Lenovo run on Android.
“We will assess whether we should launch Windows Phone,” Yang said in a phone interview Thursday with Bloomberg. “We have a very good relationship with Microsoft. If the market and customers can accept Windows Phone, we will provide the product to them.”
Lenovo in its latest financial report Thursday said it boosted sales of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets by 77 percent to $998 million last quarter. The company shipped 9 million smartphones, allowing its phone unit to turn a profit for the first time. Handsets will continue to have profitable growth in China, Yang said.
The company, which only introduced smartphones in 2010, last year became the second-largest supplier in China behind Samsung Electronics Co. Overtaking Samsung for the top spot in China is “definitely our aspiration,” Yang said.
The push into smartphones helped Lenovo report a 34 percent jump in fiscal third-quarter profit to $204.9 million.
Sales by Lenovo’s mobile and digital home unit soared 77 percent to $998 million, though that was only 11 percent of total revenue.
In China, the company ranked second in smartphone sales in the third quarter, according to market researcher IDC.
The PC-maker is assessing potential acquisition targets and strategic alliances to boost its mobile business, including a deal with BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd., Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming said in a Bloomberg News interview on Jan. 24.
“We are looking at all opportunities – RIM and many others,” he said.
Lenovo later played down such a possibility.
The company previously used acquisitions to boost sales, including buying IBM’s PC division, which was largely based in Raleigh, in 2005. This month, it completed the $147 million purchase of CCE, a Brazilian maker of computers, mobile phones and tablets.
“Lenovo has not only achieved record revenue, profit and global PC market share last quarter, but also our smartphone and tablet businesses have delivered hyper growth,” Yang said in a statement. “We are confident that we can win through differentiation and will be the innovation leader in the PC Plus era.”
Lenovo operates its executive headquarters in Morrisville.
[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out eight years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]