Gerry Smith, who runs the Americas Group for Lenovo and will oversee the merged IBM-Lenovo System X business unit when the deal closes Wednesday, threw down a proverbial gauntlet to competitors on Monday.

“The FUD spread by our competitors is over,” Smith declared, referring to “fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

Lenovo defied critics in buying IBM’s PC business in 2005 and will do so again in servers, he promises. Moments earlier, Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing also predicted Lenovo would succeed. Smith and Yang spoke out after Lenovo said earlier Monday that the $2.1 billion deal will close Wednesday.

“The new team from IBM can look forward to an exciting road ahead. With close, Lenovo will be number three in the x86 market,” Smith said in a conference call with analysts and reporters.

“Getting to number one will be a challenge, but we are 110% committed to WINNING in the enterprise, just as in PCs.” [HP and Dell are the leaders followed by IBM, according to industry research firm IDC. Lenovo has its own, existing server business.]

Industry rivals such as HP have been quite outspoken in criticism of the IBM-Lenovo deal, which was announced in January. IBM’s server sales have been falling in recent quarters. However, Lenovo execs such as Smith and Chairman/CEO Yang Yuanqing are convinced Lenovo can repeat its PC success even as it also wais word on close of its $2.8 billion deal for Google Motorola Mobility to drive growth in the smartphone and mobile device space.

“Our target is to build a profitable $5 billion Enterprise business within a year,” Smith said of the server group. “This won’t be easy. We will be tested. But in the long run, we will make this combination work, and we will build a sustainable, profitable, growing business that is the number 1 enterprise company in the world.”

Citing regulatory limits on financial matters, however, both Smith and an IBM (NYSE: IBM) representative participating in the call refused to disclose current revenues.

“Bring the Fight to Competitors”

“We do need to be aggressive” to meet the $5 billion goal, Smith conceded. He said growth would be “incremental.”

“I am eager to get started, to bring the fight to our competitors, and to bring the best solutions in the world to our customers everywhere.

“One of the reasons we will succeed is our commitment to providing the most advanced and secure x86 technology available. We can say this with great confidence because the IBM x86 System x business is coming over intact, including the IP, the vaunted security practices and the trusted executive team.

“This is the same path we took a decade ago when we joined forces with IBM’s PC division. And everyone knows what happened there: with hard work, a willingness to make tough decisions, persistence, and a fierce competitive spirit we built a leader. This acquisition has many things in common with that groundbreaking deal. Back then our competitors said we could not win together. They said our cultures would clash. They said that our merger would fail. We proved them wrong on every count. Like [Chairman and CEO Yang] Yuanqing said, we expect to repeat the same success we had in PCs as we expand into the Enterprise.”

Go-Forward Strategy

Smith spelled out a five-part strategy to grow the server business, which will be based in RTP:

“First, we will protect our customer base leveraging the new System x business from IBM and win the mid and high-end of x86, growing our share in China, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Japan, North America and the channel worldwide and leveraging ThinkServer across all entry and mid-range customers worldwide. Our newly combined sales force will sell the System x and ThinkServer product lines, giving our business reach into customer segments which neither had access to before. We are very excited about that

“Second, we will attack growth opportunities in more advanced technologies to grow at a market premium.

“Third, we will maintain and grow our profit pools in Maintenance and Services.

“Fourth we will invest in innovation and world class designs utilizing our newly combined global teams.

“Finally, we will drive efficiency and scale across the business to improve productivity and profitability.”