The chief executive of Lenovo, the world’s largest PC manufacturer, thinks Microsoft’s decision last year to give away the Windows 10 upgrade for free was a mistake, he has told dpa.

In an interview, Lenovo chief Yang Yuanqing also explains how the Chinese-based company will continue to grow in a shrinking market.

Q: Did the launch of Windows 10 help to revive the difficult PC market?

A: Well, you know the numbers. Windows 10 didn’t trigger any growth in the PC market. Don’t misunderstand me: Windows 10 is a really good system. I don’t believe the upgrade policy of Microsoft was correct.

The new system should have been introduced especially to new devices which are optimized for the new Windows.

That gives the customer an experience they’re happy with. On the other hand, when you install the new system on older machines, the good experience is not there, rather on the contrary, problems often arise. Customers have complained about it to us.

Q: So it was not a good idea from Microsoft to distribute the upgrade for free to Windows 7 users?

A: No, it would have been better if Microsoft hadn’t done that. That not only caused customer disappointment, it didn’t help the entire industry.

Q: In this challenging environment, how will Lenovo meet its ambitious growth targets?

A: We have two approaches: On the one hand there’s consolidation in the PC market. Some manufacturers are giving up and getting out. If a company like Sony leaves the market, then that place becomes available to us.

And you can score with innovative products. If you have a laptop with a removable screen which one can also use as a tablet computer, you find yourself as a manufacturer in a market segment that continues to grow. This product category we introduced over a year ago and are very confident about it.

Secondly, Lenovo is not just a PC company any more but is also successful with smartphones, servers and storage systems.

Q: In smartphones you’re encountering strong competition. Do you want your new online brand ZUK to protect the business?

A: ZUK belongs to an independent company, not Lenovo itself. We’re focusing on two product lines: With Moto we cover the premium segment and with Lenovo Vibe the mainstream market. With these two product lines we can exactly meet the needs in different markets.

So in the US we’ll use the Moto brand almost exclusively. In other countries we’ll offer Vibe and Moto.

Q: Lenovo came under criticism in recent months because experts found software on laptops that they classified as unsafe. How did you respond to these claims?

A: We solved this problem some time ago. It was a mistake by us, I readily admit. But we’ve now fixed the software and have clearly committed in future not to install software that has security vulnerabilities. We want to deliver to our customers PCs that are clean and safe.

Q: Is it useful to install additional Lenovo software on a computer? Aren’t customers better served by having an unchanged system from Microsoft?

A: Definitely we can provide our customers with Lenovo software that adds value. But it must be very carefully tested. In the past our engineers have mainly focused on the software having good functionality - and with not as much care on whether it’s also safe.

But we gave clear instructions to our software developers over a year ago to give equal care to both aspects.

Related stories

Linux And Windows Partner Up In A New Way

Microsoft's Surface Laptop first look

Microsoft's new Surface laptop and Windows 10 S

Microsoft's Windows 10 S event in 7 minutes

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.