IBM launches internal pilot program to test migration to Macs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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 IBM?s 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, I?m 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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 54
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 54
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    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
  • Reply 5 of 54
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,514member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 54
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 54
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    [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!
  • Reply 9 of 54
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    yamayama Posts: 427member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    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...)
  • Reply 12 of 54
    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!
  • Reply 13 of 54
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,514member
    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
  • Reply 14 of 54
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 54
    seanjseanj Posts: 17member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    derevderev Posts: 64member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 54
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,514member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    stevetimstevetim Posts: 482member
    So IBM really does stand for "I'm Becoming Mac".
  • Reply 19 of 54
    royboyroyboy Posts: 445member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,562member
    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.
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