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IBM To Swap 200,000 Employee PCs with Macs

IBM's partnership with Apple has taken a new twist as Big Blue plans to deploy up to 200,000 Macs. That could equate to more than half of IBM's workforce.

In an internal corporate video published by MacRumors, IBM CIO Jeff Smith revealed the company's plans to roll out up to 50,000 Macbooks to employees to replace their existing Lenovo Thinkpads. Of course it was IBM who developed the Thinkpad before selling its PC business to Lenovo over a decade ago. Nevertheless, Thinkpads remained the client device of choice at IBM. In a separate video clip, Smith recalled a conversation in which IBM Vice President Fletcher Previn told  Apple CEO Tim Cook that one day 50 to 75 percent of IBM employees could have Macs.

Apple and IBM formed a partnership last year in which IBM will develop industry specific mobile apps for iOS and MacOS and offer services to help deploy them. The apparent leak was clearly a precursor to last week's announcement from IBM in which it said it was offering new cloud-based services to help large enterprises deploy and integrate Macs within their IT infrastructures. In the announcement, IBM said Mac deployments in enterprises are on the rise.

The services let IT managers order Macs and have them delivered to employees directly with the system image installed without requiring setup or configuration. IBM partnered with JAMF Software, whose Casper Suite is enabling the ability to create and deploy the system images.

IBM's decision is somewhat ironic considering it delivered the first enterprise PC back in 1981, though the company has no vested interest in the fate of Windows PCs. It remains to be seen how aggressive IBM intends to be with bringing Macs to more businesses as Microsoft looks to convince customers to upgrade to Windows 10. Perhaps IBM is finally getting even with Microsoft for leaving it holding the ball with OS/2. Is a new battle brewing?

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/10/2015 at 12:38 PM


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