“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.