The most intriguing, and potentially most important, dimension of the deal for the company is that it is IBM's China card.
The new Lenovo, folding in the IBM personal computer business, will be China's fifth-largest company. IBM is eager to help China with its industrial policy of moving up the economic ladder, by building the high-technology engine rooms to power modern corporations and government institutions with IBM services and software.
IBM is placing 10,000 of its employees, its brand for five years and some of its prestige in Lenovo's hands. There is a lot more at stake than the cash.
Today, there are two ways to create long-term value for information technology customers and shareholders. "Invest heavily in R&D and be the high-value innovation provider for enterprises, or differentiate by leveraging vast economies of scale, high volumes and price."
IBM is choosing the first path, and has decided that the PC business is inevitably on the second path.
IBM Sought a China Partnership, Not Just a Sale