IBM launches pilot program for migrating to Macs

“As further evidence of the growing interest in Macs among enterprise customers, IBM’s Research Information Services launched an internal pilot program designed to study the possibility of moving significant numbers of employees to the Mac platform. The study has already found an enthusiastic response from participants and is helping to drive Mac support for IBM’s business applications,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for Roughly Drafted.

“A summary of the pilot program, detailed in a IBM document obtained by RoughlyDrafted, revealed that IBM is actively working to move away from its dependence upon Microsoft Windows and toward a heterogeneous cross-platform future,” Dilger reports. “‘In line with IBM’s external strategy of offering a true ‘Open Client’ that may be Windows, Linux or a Mac,’ the document noted, ‘Research IS is focusing on providing an IBM application stack on multiple Operating Systems, rather than be confined to one or the other.'”

Dilger reports, “The pilot program document outlined a series of reasons for evaluating MacBook Pro laptops as a replacement for the Windows-based ThinkPads currently in use inside the company:”

• Alternative to Microsoft Windows
• Less prone to security issues
• Widely used in the academic world with which Research has close ties
• Many new hires are more comfortable with the Mac and lately asking for it
• Growing Mac community in Research and within IBM that finds the development environment on Mac more convenient
• Growing acceptance of the Mac as a consumer and business oriented client platform
• WPLC strategy includes significant investments in achieving the Mac platform parity

Dilger reports, “The first phase of the pilot program ran from October 2007 through January 2008. It distributed 24 MacBook Pros to researchers at different sites within IBM Research… 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 laptop.”

Find out what the researchers had to say about their Macs, learn about IBM’s plans to expand the program this year, and more here.


  1. 2 minutes combined with months and months of research and sandbagging your find until an appropriate event. Meanwhile, millions of Windows PCs are spamming us all right now and their owners are even aware that they’re doing it.

  2. What’s to say that at some point in the future, as well as choosing which OS you boot into, there won’t be an option to choose which processor you use too?

    People once thought Apple would be tied to IBM processors forever, then the ‘Star Trek’ project heralded the switch to Intel – maybe at some point in the future there’ll be a switch back to IBM, or the option of choosing which processor you buy with your Mac, or options to use chips from either company in multi-processor machines..?

    Only Steve and the Apple Skunk Works knows what might happen in the future…

  3. Fools. The once mighty IBM is slipping further into irrelevance. If this initiative continues they’re going to have to call themselves ITM for ‘International Toy Machines’. If the enterprise could make use of overpriced proprietary toys like MACs they would have done it already.

    Perhaps the most disturbing line is this:

    …IBM is actively working to move away from its dependence upon Microsoft Windows and toward a heterogeneous cross-platform future.

    I, for one, am tired of all this talk of “cross-platform and “interoperability”. You don’t need it. Microsoft makes the whole widget: a brilliant OS + a magnificent office productivity suite for a reasonable price. There’s no reason to look elsewhere. I suggest the many Windows fans at ITM (formerly IBM) unite with their intelligent and courageous IT departments to stop the insanity. That or it’s time to update your resume.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  4. It’s interesting that though Mac’s have ‘moved’ to Intel processors, because of the universal binary even Leopard can still run on G4 and G5. The big problem that caused the switch is that the people making the PowerPC chips were more interested in imbedded hardware sales then Mac sales, the move didn’t hurt IBM, and gave Mac’s more freedom. (Side note, employed for a major company working on aircraft instrumentation, the majority of the equipment that displays or processes information does so with a PowerPC chip, G5’s mostly)

    It’d be interesting to see Mac’s move to a middle ground, where some systems use Intel and others PowerPC. Could you imagine Leopard running on a Cell processor? (uses a PowerPC chip as it’s central CPU, and Cell’s are based off of PowerPC as well).

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