IBM’s PC unit lost money from 2001 onwards

IBM Corp.’s personal computer business racked up US$965 million in losses between Jan. 1, 2001, and June 30, 2004, the company said last week in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, detailing the planned sale of the business to China’s Lenovo Group Ltd.

Although the merger of IBM’s PC business into Lenovo is expected to create the world’s third-largest maker of personal computers, the regulatory filing shows that IBM had a history of recurring losses in the PC unit despite outsourcing a huge chunk of the manufacturing to third parties.

In the filing, IBM disclosed a computer-division loss of US$397 million in 2001, US$171 million in 2002 and US$258 million in 2003. In the first half of 2004, the loss was US$139 million.

IBM hadn’t broken out the PC division’s results in recent years, preferring to include the figures in larger business segments.

Last month, IBM, in Armonk, New York, agreed to sell its PC business to Beijing-based Lenovo for US$1.25 billion. IBM helped pioneer the PC industry in 1981.

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