or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › IBM launches internal pilot program to test migration to Macs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

IBM launches internal pilot program to test migration to Macs

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
Long-time Microsoft Windows supporter IBM has recently initiated an internal pilot program to study the possibility of moving a significant number of its employees to Apple's Mac platform, leaked company documents show.

The documents, obtained by Roughly Drafted, underscore the growing interest in Macs among enterprise customers and reveal IBM to among the high-tech firms actively working to reduce their dependence upon the Windows operating system.

The first phase of the pilot program is said to have run from October 2007 through January 2008, in which 24 MacBook Pros were distributed to researchers at different sites within the company's research division.

In the documents obtained by Roughly Drafted, the former PC-maker outlined a series of reasons for evaluating Apple notebooks as a replacement for the Windows-based ThinkPads currently used inside the company.

Specifically, it said Macs are less prone to security issues, are widely used in the academic world with which IBM Research has close ties, and that many new company hires have said they're more comfortable with Macs and would like to use them as opposed to their ThinkPads.

During the initial pilot, participants were allowed to keep their ThinkPads, but were asked to use them only in the event that they needed to use software that was not yet available on the Mac. After the four month test period, the 14 research scientists, 8 software engineers, a director, and a VP staff assistant participating in the pilot program were asked to provide feedback.

Of the 22 of 24 who responded, Roughly Drafted reported that 18 said that the Mac offered a "better or best experience" compared to their existing computer, one rated it "equal or good," and three said the Mac offered a "worse experience." Seven reported having no or marginal prior knowledge of using Macs, while 15 said they had moderate or expert knowledge of the platform.

While all of the participants reported that it was easy to install IBMs internal software on the Macs, several noted weakness or drawbacks associated with applications that were not yet suited for the Apple platform, or faced support issues. Among these were Microsoft's Visio diagraming and NetMeeting software, and several of IBM's own applications, such as its DB2 database and Websphere application server.

However, when asked if they would rather keep their MacBook Pro or return to using their familiar ThinkPad, only three chose the ThinkPad; the rest decided to keep the Mac notebook and obtain VMWare Fusion licenses to run Windows when necessary.

"I commend IBM on taking this bold step in providing an alternative to Windows," one employee said following the initial evaluation period. "It will definitely allow us to think different."

Said another: "I have been a true PC stalwart for 2+ decades, but after trying Vista, Im ready for a change."

Following the success of the initial pilot, IBM reportedly plans to proceed with a second phase of the program that will see 50 employees equipped with Apple notebooks during the first half of 2008. Pending feedback, the company will then add an additional 50 to 100 users in the second half of the year.

According to Roughly Drafted, IBM's internal "Mac@IBM" website references an official group for Mac users within the company's walls comprised of over 930 members in 26 countries. It's described as "one of the largest and fastest growing communities within IBM."
post #2 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to Roughly Drafted, IBM's internal "Mac@IBM" website references an official group for Mac users within the company's walls comprised of over 930 members in 26 countries. It's described as "one of the largest and fastest growing communities within IBM.

I bet Kickaha is the mayor of that community.
post #3 of 55
I have been saying this for years. Put a mac on someone's desk. Go to take it away in two weeks and watch em squirm. I bet the only guys who wanted to keep their thinkpads were the IT staff.
post #4 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman Terry View Post

I have been saying this for years. Put a mac on someone's desk. Go to take it away in two weeks and watch em squirm. I bet the only guys who wanted to keep their thinkpads were the IT staff.

Some thinkpads are pretty nice.

Still though...while I bootcamp my macs a lot I'd rather have a MBP and that is what I have.
post #5 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman Terry View Post

I have been saying this for years. Put a mac on someone's desk. Go to take it away in two weeks and watch em squirm. I bet the only guys who wanted to keep their thinkpads were the IT staff.

Having a Mac on your desk does not necessarily mean running Mac OS. If you want a better test, give them a Mac with both Mac OS and Windows installed, and then see which OS people are booting into after a month. And people using VMware may just run VMware full screen all the time and never use Mac applications
post #6 of 55
woohoo! now that's a juicy rumor.
It is nice that IBM seems to not be holding a grudge against
Apple for discontinuing the use of processors designed by IBM.
post #7 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Having a Mac on your desk does not necessarily mean running Mac OS. If you want a better test, give them a Mac with both Mac OS and Windows installed, and then see which OS people are booting into after a month. And people using VMware may just run VMware full screen all the time and never use Mac applications

For apple's stand point a sell is a sell, and even if they all were running VMware full screen it still gives them possibility to experiment with OS X, thats just the point, why choose, with mac you can have best of the both worlds.
post #8 of 55
I don't think Macs are good fit for the Enterprise right now. There needs to be a more Enterprise friendly division for leasing equipment and not necessarily using AIOs or super condensed models.

However, if this is successful with IBM, it could be great history int he making to see the IBM the made MS the behemoth it is today and then also be the one to bring them down by causing a catalyst of switchers in the workplace.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #9 of 55
[F[COLOR="Blue"]ONT="Arial"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Following the success of the initial pilot, IBM reportedly plans to proceed with a second phase of the program that will see 50 employees equipped with Apple notebooks during the first half of 2008. Pending feedback, the company will then add an additional 50 to 100 users in the second half of the year.

According to Roughly Drafted, IBM's internal "Mac@IBM" website references an official group for Mac users within the company's walls comprised of over 930 members in 26 countries. It's described as "one of the largest and fastest growing communities within IBM."

[/FONT]
As a consultant doing work for IBM, the change can't happen quickly enough. There are still issues with remote access from a Mac (the AT&T program they use does not like Mac), but there's a light at the end of the tunnel!
post #10 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

woohoo! now that's a juicy rumor.
It is nice that IBM seems to not be holding a grudge against
Apple for discontinuing the use of processors designed by IBM.

That's kinda like what I was thinking. Maybe IBM was relieved to see Apple leave. Their efforts to improve the G5 or go to G6 were going nowhere and, for as small a market that Macs had (consider that processors are used in much more that just PC's), the embarrassment was disproportionately large.

Now that IBM has gotten out of the PC business altogether, it is interesting to see that they are objectively considering whether Macs could be a good solution. The results seems very positive for Apple.
post #11 of 55
When I was working at IBM we were all using high-end T60p ThinkPads. Those machines are horrible pieces of shit. Most of us were asking to get replacement Dell laptops instead.
post #12 of 55
Bold, or timid?

IBM has 386k employees (source), and this was a pilot program on 24 of them. By my math, that's making a 0.0062% commitment to the idea. By the end of the year, if they add 50 more and another 50, that'll be 0.0320% of their workforce. If they add another 100 per year, they'll have everyone switched over within just under 4000 years. Glorious success!

I don't want to disparage this pilot study -- surely if it takes off, they'll switch at a rate faster than 100/year once they get going. But still, even counting the 930 people claimed to already be in the "Mac@IBM" group, this is a piffling uptake at the company. I have little doubt that even Microsoft has a larger installed base of Mac users than this, not even counting the Mac Business Unit or XBox groups.

Numbers this small at a company this huge seem pretty meaningless to me.

(The bigger news, to me, is that the MBPs were being used instead of Thinkpads. IBM may have spun off that division to Lenovo, but at the same time, to consider switching not just away from their "Own Brand" computers, but to a completely different platform, seems potentially significant to me. Or at least it would, somewhere down the road, if they take this beyond a handful of users in a pilot program...)
post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

woohoo! now that's a juicy rumor.
It is nice that IBM seems to not be holding a grudge against
Apple for discontinuing the use of processors designed by IBM.

I think IBM has, over time, become more of a services (as opposed to manufacturing) business, so I guess there are fewer legacy issues!
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

However, if this is successful with IBM, it could be great history int he making to see the IBM the made MS the behemoth it is today and then also be the one to bring them down by causing a catalyst of switchers in the workplace.

I just hope it is not so successful that we all have to argue some more about whether Apple
has a monopoly or not
post #15 of 55
My main concern: I hope Apple can handle the increased volume from becoming 'corporate' without affecting its innovation or product/service quality.

The larger they get, the more bureaucratized and microsoftized a lot of companies seem to become.
post #16 of 55
This shouldn't be suprising given
(a) IBMs software-stategy and
(b) its belief in eating its own dog-food.

All IBM desktop software, eg Lotus, Rational, Tivoli, etc, are being ported to the Eclipse Open-Source Rich-Client-Platform. Once a product is ported to Eclipse it can be ported very quickly to any o.s. that supports Eclipse. So Notes 8.5 due later this year will run on Win32, Win64, Linux, and Mac OS X, computers. (Note IBM isn't the only software house doing this. SAP is too, which means that the SAP and IBM products will be able to be plugged-together in Eclipse to create 'composite applications' very easily;- thing mashups on steroids.)

IBM had already cancelled all its Microsoft Office renewals, as Lotus Notes 8 includes an Eclipse-based version of OpenOffice called Symphony. (Symphony is available as a free-download, from http://symphony.lotus.com/software/l...hony/home.jspa and a Mac version is due).
IBM has also started rolling-out Linux pc's internally showing that corporates no-longer need Windows on the desktop.
post #17 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I think IBM has, over time, become more of a services (as opposed to manufacturing) business, so I guess there are fewer legacy issues!

Or is just that they are afraid to use the new Lenovo Thinkpads now that China makes them?
the rev
Reply
the rev
Reply
post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

My main concern: I hope Apple can handle the increased volume from becoming 'corporate' without affecting its innovation or product/service quality.

The larger they get, the more bureaucratized and microsoftized a lot of companies seem to become.

I hear you. It's a worry.
At least it will probably take many years to happen, if it happens.
post #19 of 55
So IBM really does stand for "I'm Becoming Mac".
post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

So IBM really does stand for "I'm Becoming Mac".

Could be a good thing or not. Time will tell.
2009 Quad 2.66 Mac Pro, 12 GB OWC RAM, ATI 4870, Wi-Fi Card 802.11n, AppleCare, 4 WD Caviar Black 1TB HD's, 2 SuperDrives, 24" Apple LED Display.
Reply
2009 Quad 2.66 Mac Pro, 12 GB OWC RAM, ATI 4870, Wi-Fi Card 802.11n, AppleCare, 4 WD Caviar Black 1TB HD's, 2 SuperDrives, 24" Apple LED Display.
Reply
post #21 of 55
It's a good corporate strategy to make sure your organization can operate with multiple platforms. If nothing else, you maintain partial functionality if the next big virus for whatever platform comes about. In a few years, IBM might actually be buying a few thousand Macs a year. We see it in my small company as well; you seek out better solutions when they need to be cross-platform.
post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by derev View Post

Or is just that they are afraid to use the new Lenovo Thinkpads now that China makes them?

Yeah, because your Mac is made in California, right?
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Having a Mac on your desk does not necessarily mean running Mac OS. If you want a better test, give them a Mac with both Mac OS and Windows installed, and then see which OS people are booting into after a month. And people using VMware may just run VMware full screen all the time and never use Mac applications

Why would anyone in their right mind do that? Boot Camp lets you boot straight into Windows without the Mac OS around it and without the performance penalty of Fusion. But these people aren't saying they prefer the build quality of the MBPs, most of them liked the Mac OS better and would use Windows apps via Fusion only when absolutely necessary.
post #24 of 55
The real reason corporations are thinking about Mac.
Video: Stillborn in the USA* * Stole that line from Giz commenter, but it's fitting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

I just hope it is not so successful that we all have to argue some more about whether Apple
has a monopoly or not

Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

Why would anyone in their right mind do that? Boot Camp lets you boot straight into Windows without the Mac OS around it and without the performance penalty of Fusion. But these people aren't saying they prefer the build quality of the MBPs, most of them liked the Mac OS better and would use Windows apps via Fusion only when absolutely necessary.

Was that a rhetorical question?

In addition to running nothing but VMware, I have also heard of organizations setting up Macs to run only Citrix client, making the Mac nothing more than a remote Windows terminal. As for Boot Camp, let's see how many more IT departments will offer helpful "solutions" for Mac compatibility such as this:

http://www.cstv.com/ot/apple-help.html
post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by babbage View Post

Bold, or timid?

IBM has 386k employees (source), and this was a pilot program on 24 of them. By my math, that's making a 0.0062% commitment to the idea. By the end of the year, if they add 50 more and another 50, that'll be 0.0320% of their workforce. If they add another 100 per year, they'll have everyone switched over within just under 4000 years. Glorious success!

I don't want to disparage this pilot study -- surely if it takes off, they'll switch at a rate faster than 100/year once they get going. But still, even counting the 930 people claimed to already be in the "Mac@IBM" group, this is a piffling uptake at the company. I have little doubt that even Microsoft has a larger installed base of Mac users than this, not even counting the Mac Business Unit or XBox groups.

Numbers this small at a company this huge seem pretty meaningless to me.

(The bigger news, to me, is that the MBPs were being used instead of Thinkpads. IBM may have spun off that division to Lenovo, but at the same time, to consider switching not just away from their "Own Brand" computers, but to a completely different platform, seems potentially significant to me. Or at least it would, somewhere down the road, if they take this beyond a handful of users in a pilot program...)

What's important about this trial is that is has been done at all.

What IBM is determining is whether this is feasable. If it is, and they decide to port DB2 over, it could result in very important moves by companies. Other than MS's database, DB2 is the last remaining commercial one not yet running on OS X. f it does, that will mean that IBM, which is platform agnostic, can recommend Macs to other enterprise companies that have accounts with them.

Along with the Lotus suite they are doing the finishing touches on, this, plus the other software mentioned is used widely amongst the enterprise.

Every time Apple makes one more step up the ladder, it gets them closer to the top. This will take time.

But at least IBM is working on it.
post #27 of 55
I work at IBM and im a pretty big mac user. There are actually a lot of macs at IBM. The program mentioned here is a very small number of people, but there are a lot of people in the company that either use their own mac laptop at work, or have specially requested one in place of a ThinkPad. Gettign IBM to pay for one is rare, but they sometimes do.

I think what is really happening is IBM is not very interested in VIsta and Office 2008. I would be very surprised to see IBM make any large steps towards Mac's, but I think they are already taking large steps towards Linux. I'd guess that 80-90% of the company still uses WinXP, but the internal Linux client is now mainstream and officially supported. Macs however are not officially supported.

One thing to remember about IBM is that they are in the odd position of serving your typical enterprise business, but internally IBM is a bunch of computer nerds. IBMers are more likely to have a strong preference for Mac or Linux than a standard group of employees in a non-tech business, and people that are willing to deal with things not being supported.
post #28 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

woohoo! now that's a juicy rumor.
It is nice that IBM seems to not be holding a grudge against
Apple for discontinuing the use of processors designed by IBM.

IBM never had a grudge for Apple ditching IBM's PowerPC processors. The amount of business they had with Apple was insignificant. That played a big part for Apple going to Intel due to IBM's reluctance (and slow CPU improvements) and for IBM not believing that Apple was a big enough player to warrant changing their fabrications to accommodate them. In the end, it was all meant to be.

It is interesting thought that IBM is testing OSX for their use. More choices are always good for the consumer. I wonder if IBM would have even considered it if they were still in the desktop/notebook business before they sold Thinkpad to Lenovo.

This is good news.
post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Having a Mac on your desk does not necessarily mean running Mac OS. If you want a better test, give them a Mac with both Mac OS and Windows installed, and then see which OS people are booting into after a month. And people using VMware may just run VMware full screen all the time and never use Mac applications

Well duh.
The whole point is the ability to straddle in real-time. Of course if you make me jump through hoops to do everyday tasks I'll take the path of least resistance.
How about an even better test... run with Parallels and just have the Windows apps appear as needed, and spend the rest of your time in the OSX environment.
We have a similar small group at the large software corporation I work for, and they use Parallels. For all of them its 'from my cold dead hands'.
post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by laydros View Post

Macs however are not officially supported.... internally IBM is a bunch of computer nerds..... and people that are willing to deal with things not being supported.

I am not a computer nerd (not by a long shot), have been a Mac user since 1984, and, believe it or not, other than for that occasional call to Applecare, I've never needed 'official' support (my employer used to have a lot of Macs, in the 1980s and 1990s).

I think the prospect of this makes support people nervous.
post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

I hear you. It's a worry.
At least it will probably take many years to happen, if it happens.

True. Unlike just about any other company, I am invested in both the stock and the product (usually not a good idea). If I had to choose, I would prefer to hold on to the product longer than I'd prefer to hold to the stock!
post #32 of 55
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

How about an even better test... run with Parallels and just have the Windows apps appear as needed, and spend the rest of your time in the OSX environment.

Which leads to the question: If Macs can now run Windows so well, why should developers bother to make native Mac OS software? Why not just tell Mac users to run Parallels or VMware. IT departments can claim "We support Macs (as long as they run Windows)". And clueless IT staff can now claim to be knowledgeable with Macs, as long as they are running Windows.
post #34 of 55
Quote:
and three said the Mac offered a "worse experience."

What a biased experiment. This is completely false. Who in their right mind would rate the Mac experience worse than the Windows experience?!
post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Having a Mac on your desk does not necessarily mean running Mac OS. If you want a better test, give them a Mac with both Mac OS and Windows installed, and then see which OS people are booting into after a month. And people using VMware may just run VMware full screen all the time and never use Mac applications

An obvious but irrelevant supposition. What rational human being would do that?
post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Which leads to the question: If Macs can now run Windows so well, why should developers bother to make native Mac OS software? Why not just tell Mac users to run Parallels or VMware. IT departments can claim "We support Macs (as long as they run Windows)". And clueless IT staff can now claim to be knowledgeable with Macs, as long as they are running Windows.

Percentage-wise, from my not-so-limited experience, IT staff isn't as clueless as IT management.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I am not a computer nerd (not by a long shot), have been a Mac user since 1984, and, believe it or not, other than for that occasional call to Applecare, I've never needed 'official' support (my employer used to have a lot of Macs, in the 1980s and 1990s).

I think the prospect of this makes support people nervous.

Maybe, but they can then spend their time developing application expertise, instead of troubleshooting system issues ad nauseum.
post #38 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlimFlamMan View Post

An obvious but irrelevant supposition. What rational human being would do that?

Is every human being rational? Do only rational people use computers?

Every time there is some good news about Macs, people start predicting the Microsoft's doom and Apple taking over the world. Meanwhile, I see PC nerds proclaiming "MAC's look nice, so I'm going to buy a MAC and run Windows only", IT departments telling Mac users to run Windows on their Macs, and everyone I know is asking me "Is it true MAC's can run Windows now?". So please forgive me if I seem a bit cynical.
post #39 of 55
The Lotus brand of software has been providing Mac's to some of the field technical sales people to allow them to demo the new Lotus software solutions for Mac. These include Lotus Notes 8.5 Beta which is publicly available, Lotus Sametime Connect 8 client, Quickr 8.1 via browser, Domino Web Access 8.01 via iPhone/iTouch or any browser, Lotus Symphony Alpha (not public yet but soon), Lotus Connections via browser and Websphere Portal via browser. Lotus Forms is being developed for Mac and Lotus Mobile Connect is used as a VPN solution for the Mac since AT&T does not have a Mac client at this date. Lotus Sametime Unyte Web Conferencing is being updated to allow full Mac support as is Lotus Sametime Meeting Center this summer. We are using these Lotus applications natively and not via VMWare Fusion. We use Fusion to demo our Lotus server based products that require a server OS like Red Hat Linux or Windows Server, etc.. We support Windows, Mac and Linux as many of our enterprise customers have all three installed and desire our solutions on each to be fully supported. More customers are adding the Mac as a platform for employees and we're seeing it more and more. IBM does not own the Thinkpad offering any longer and so we're not tied to that hardware as we were before. There are various groups optionally allowing employees to chose the Mac as an option when their PC comes up for replacement. We have various internal systems that require access and all of those can be accessed via browser applications.
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

My main concern: I hope Apple can handle the increased volume from becoming 'corporate' without affecting its innovation or product/service quality.

The larger they get, the more bureaucratized and microsoftized a lot of companies seem to become.

Where've you been? This has already happened ever since Apple switched from being a computer company to an electronics company (Apple Computer to Apple Inc.) AppleCare particularly is a real hassle now from where it was 2 years ago. This is why we got the iPhone first when Leopard was originally promised first.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › IBM launches internal pilot program to test migration to Macs