In an interview with InfoWorld editors Tom Sullivan, Ed Scannell and Bob Francis just last month, comments by Dell president and CEO Kevin Rollins about IBM's commitment to its PC business proved somewhat prescient. Asked which major player he thought might be the first to drop out of the PC market, an increasingly tough place to eek out a profitable living, Rollins said: "IBM is questioning it all the time. They have already outsourced all of their manufacturing capabilities for desktops so it would not big a big shift for them to let it go."
Well, if a story appearing in the New York Times on Friday prove true, IBM is about to do just that. In today's edition IBM is reportedly in serious negotiations with the Lenovo Group, which is China's largest maker of PCs, to sell its PC unit. If IBM does exit the PC business, it will mark the end of an era. IBM was the driving force behind corporate America buying PCs starting with the introduction of its original PC in New York City in August, 1981. According to the Times report the asking price could be as high as $2 billion. While IBM has clearly emphasized sales of its servers and server-based software over PCs for several years, the company still ranks third behind Dell and Hewlett Packard in market share for units sold.