UK businesses claim IBM’s exit from the PC market with the sale of its PC division to Lenovo this week will not have any impact on their dealings with Big Blue.

IBM will sell its PC division to China-based Lenovo and take a minority stake in the former rival in a deal valued at $1.75bn.

While analysts have focused on the impact on the IT market, we asked’s CIO Jury pool of leading UK IT users if it would change their dealings with IBM or affect Big Blue’s relationship with enterprise customers.

The result was a resounding ‘no’ from 10 CIOs, with just two saying ‘yes’ the deal will have some impact on customer relationships.

The majority of IT bosses agreed that IBM’s decision to exit a commodity market made sound business sense.

Graham Benson, information services director and CIO at Screwfix Direct, said: “IBM has positioned itself as a services/software organisation for some time, and it is natural for it to want to remove low margin activity such as hardware supply.”

Gavin Whatrup, IT director at advertising agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, said the loss of competition in the PC market is not healthy but is not likely to have any significant impact for buyers.

“Where commodity items are concerned, such as PCs, there is little IBM can offer that another vendor can’t,” he said.

Dr John Odell, group IT director at BBA Group, said IBM has recognised the real value in services and exploiting information assets. Phil Pavitt, CIO at NTL, said it would not affect his company’s dealings with IBM but said it should lead to improved quality PCs.

“IBM has been delivering poor quality products in this space over the last 18 months,” he said.

But Phil Young, head of IT operations at Amtrak, said the move is likely to affect his dealings with Big Blue. “IBM is obviously keen to reinvent and align itself – again – and I for one would wish IBM would decide what or who it is going to be. I find IBM quite frustrating to deal with at the moment let alone when it goes through yet another transition,” he said.

Today’s CIO Jury was…

Graham Benson, information services director and CIO, Screwfix Direct
Ian Cohen, IT director, Financial Times
Frank Coyle, IT director, John Menzies Distribution
John Keeling, director of computer services, John Lewis Partnership
Nick Masterson-Jones, IT programmes director, Voca (formerly Bacs)
Colin Moore, head of information services, Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
Crispin O’Connell, chief ICT officer, Cardiff City Council
Dr John Odell, group IT director, BBA Group
Phil Pavitt, CIO, NTL
Sean Powley, head of IS strategy, London Borough of Barnet
Gavin Whatrup, IT director, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Phil Young, head of IT operations, Amtrak

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and want to be part of’s CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at