In 2014, IBM, a global technology giant, made a surprising move by selling its x86 server business to Lenovo, a Chinese multinational technology company. This decision raised eyebrows in the tech industry, as IBM was essentially selling off a significant part of its hardware business. This article will delve into the reasons behind IBM’s decision to sell its server business, the implications of this move, and the subsequent impact on the tech industry.

Understanding IBM’s Server Business

IBM’s x86 server business was a part of its larger hardware division, which included a range of products from mainframes to storage systems. The x86 servers, named for the Intel microprocessor architecture they used, were popular in data centers worldwide. However, despite their popularity, the server business was not as profitable as IBM’s other ventures.

The Decline in Hardware Sales

One of the primary reasons IBM decided to sell its server business was the steady decline in hardware sales. The rise of cloud computing and virtualization technologies meant that businesses were moving away from owning physical servers. This shift in the market led to a decrease in demand for IBM’s x86 servers, impacting the profitability of the business.

Shift Towards Software and Services

IBM’s decision to sell its server business was also part of a larger strategic shift towards software and services. The company recognized that the future of technology was in cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. By selling its server business, IBM was able to focus more on these areas, investing in research and development to stay ahead of the competition.

The Deal with Lenovo

In 2014, IBM sold its x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion. This was not the first time IBM had sold a major hardware division to Lenovo. In 2005, IBM sold its PC business, including the iconic ThinkPad brand, to Lenovo. The server business sale was seen as a continuation of IBM’s strategy to exit the hardware business and focus on higher-margin areas.

Impact on IBM

The sale of its server business had several implications for IBM. Firstly, it allowed the company to shed a less profitable part of its business. Secondly, it freed up resources that IBM could invest in developing new technologies and services. Finally, it signaled a clear shift in IBM’s strategy, with the company moving away from hardware to focus on software and services.


In conclusion, IBM’s decision to sell its server business was driven by a combination of factors, including declining hardware sales, a strategic shift towards software and services, and the opportunity to invest in new technologies. While the move was seen as risky at the time, it has allowed IBM to focus on areas where it sees the most potential for growth. This decision underscores the importance of adaptability in the ever-evolving tech industry.

By understanding the reasons behind IBM’s decision to sell its server business, we can gain insights into the strategic decisions companies make in response to changing market conditions. It also highlights the importance of staying ahead of technological trends and being willing to make bold moves when necessary.


Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.