Lenovo buys mystery startup company

Lenovo said Wednesday it has acquired a startup developing "consumer technologies," though it is saying little more.

Lenovo has acquired a secretive startup called Switchbox Labs that was cofounded by a former Microsoft Windows executive, the PC maker announced Wednesday.

Lenovo said Switchbox is developing "new consumer technologies," but details about its projects are largely a mystery. Its development work will continue at Lenovo, which said it hopes to integrate the company's technology in future products.

Switchbox cofounders Michael Sievert, Robert Dickinson and Blake Ramsdell have joined Lenovo's ranks. Sievert has been made a senior vice president and will report to Lenovo CEO William Amelio. He previously worked as corporate vice president of Windows marketing at Microsoft and also held senior positions at AT&T Wireless and E-Trade Financial.

According to Sievert's biography on Microsoft's Web site, Sievert was responsible for the worldwide introduction of Windows Vista in 2006 and 2007.

"Switchbox Labs is doing some interesting work, and we are pleased that Switchbox and Mike are joining Lenovo," Amelio said in a statement. The startup is based in Seattle.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Lenovo could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lenovo has been incorporating new technologies in its products to help it reach out to new customers. It recently added instant-on technologies to its IdeaPad S10 netbook and launched a ThinkPad W700DS laptop workstation with two screens. The company also launched the IdeaCentre A600 all-in-one PC with a remote control that doubles as a Wii-like motion-based controller.

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Agam Shah

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