NO NO LeNOvo! — Bring Back Big Blue

I needed to upgrade my laptop recently. Since I was a long term IBM ThinkPad user I did not think twice when deciding to order the new super light X60 machine, now made by Lenovo. For those of you who do not remember, China-based Lenovo purchased IBM’s computer business about a year ago. Well, one year later the IBM Logo is still on the machine and it still says ThinkPad but this is not your father’s IBM.

Since I purchased the machine, it has been hell. First my wireless was not working right. I kept getting an error message that said my wireless card was not operating. Then it sometimes went back on and then back off again. When we checked (our IT person as well) all of the system settings, everything looked fine. After hours on the phone with Lenovo tech support (they could not help either), our IT manager found on the web that Lenovo installed on SOME models of the x60 a new on/off Wifi Radio switch in the front underside of the laptop. I guess that it was rubbing against my leg when I held the laptop on my lap, which was toggling the switch. MMI design is I guess not Lenovo’s forte.

Nor is Backward compatibility. These geniuses at Lenovo, clearly attempting to juice profits form accessories, switched the plug for the power cable! So, my entire investment in power cables for the thinkpad went in the garbage. Not only that, but Lenovo has not produced enough power supplies so in some parts of the world (like a third world city called London) you need to wait weeks for a power cable. Did I mention the need for a new docking station as well?

And then there are the batteries. I ordered my laptop with an extra battery. That extra battery did not come. We spent three weeks on the phone with Lenovo in Israel and the US trying to get an extra battery (the slice battery that fits on the bottom of the computers). After weeks of blame shifting and passing the buck, it turned out they did not have any in stock. I finally received my battery late last week. And, guess what? Lenovo sent the wrong battery. Instead of the slice battery that I ordered, they sent the backside add-on battery.

I figured that maybe I was unlucky but, alas, our office in London had to shelve 2 X60s that they purchased because Lenovo put a different Wifi card in that was interfering or not working with personal firewalls.

Somehow it seems to me that they good old American motto of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” has not made it to Lenovo. This has been a disastrous customer experience and I am already cautioning friends not to buy Thinkpads. Since I don’t think I can Bring Back Big Blue (sounds like a good compaign) I am now thinking twice about my purchase. After almost 10 years of ThinkPads I am thinking of trading this one back for a Sony.

[Originally published on 2nd August 2006 by MIchael Eisenberg]