IBM: Corporate Mac users need less IT support than those stuck on Windows

“Could you cut costs by giving employees Apple devices instead of PCs?” Kelly Sheridan reports for InformationWeek. “IBM’s Mac program seems to suggest yes.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Suggest?” It screams it.

“IBM is currently deploying 1,900 Macs per week. There are 130,000 iOS and Mac devices in use at the company, stated Fletcher Previn, IBM’s vice president of Workplace-as-a-Service, at this year’s JAMF Nation User Conference in Minneapolis,” Sheridan reports. “The MacBook program has shed light on a notable difference between Mac and PC users in regards to IT support. Five percent of employees using Macs contact IBM’s IT help desk for assistance, said Previn, compared with 40% of workers on PCs.”

“Macs require less setup and management, and demand fewer support staff members,” Sheridan reports. “The 130,000 Apple devices at IBM require a help desk of 24 people.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last week: Shocker.

What a waste of productivity the Microsoft Windows Dark Ages of Personal Computing hath wrought! Wasteful and Painful. And even more painful if you lived through it as a Mac user and knew the truth while IT doofuses waddled around patching things that would never have been broken if only they were smart enough to use Macs instead of crappy Windows PCs.

Note to CEOs: Your IT department should not be making final hardware and software purchasing decisions. They should be supporting your company’s technology needs. You should get independent viewpoints (find people who recommend Macs and make them explain why) and retain the decision-making role for yourselves. Don’t settle for Windows-only shackles. A marked increase in productivity and reliability for your company is there for the taking. You can get Macs and seamlessly integrate them into your business – even if all you do at first is run Windows on them. You can explore Mac OS X and better ways of doing things according to your own timeline (hint: start by using Keynote instead of PowerPoint for your presentations and watch your audiences perk up). Just don’t expect your IT people to ever recommend Apple, as they may have ulterior motives for sticking with Microsoft. — MacDailyNews, January 2, 2007

Why are so many people so afraid to imagine an end to the dark ages of personal computing? Too many MSFT shares in the mutual fund? We have no such problem. Apple Mac will embrace, then extinguish – whether analysts grasp what’s happening or not. — MacDailyNews, March 23, 2007

Just 5% of Mac users at IBM need help desk support vs. 40% of Windows PC sufferers – October 15, 2015


    1. This is where all of us Mac users do that “We are shocked!!!” and “We never knew.” or just use those little yellow faces with the really big shocked eyes.

      They always knew. The Mac OS just wasn’t going to generate the support cash flow that IBM needed to lived on. When the rats leave the ship, it is because it is going down!

      1. Think of all the local tax dollars that were lost supporting all those cheep Windows PC’s in are schools. Municipal buildings, Federal Government, Airports, … How many times were those systems also down when you needed them or hacked with our personal information.

        1. It’s actually much, much worse.

          Several years ago Microsoft convinced the U.S. Navy to go to 100% Windows systems for all desktops, workstations, and non embedded servers. It was a “Royal Decree” from the Navy’s CIO. 100% Windows. Period. They even went so far to make a fighting ship 100% Windows. Guess what? On its first voyage the network locked up so badly that the ship could not move under its own power & the vast majority of its offensive and defensive systems would not work. It was so bad it had to be towed back to port. After several more millions of dollars to Microsoft and other contractors, the USN got it working — with lots and lots of glitches and bugs still present. But, even then, as someone who over the years has had lots of relatives in the USN, I’d never want any of them on that (or any similar) ship in a fight.

          Further, many years ago the director of the Houston Space Flight center for NASA did the same thing, but worse. He became a notable advocate for Microsoft, even being prominently shown and quoted in Microsoft commercials and internal videos. He went so far as to have Macs that were as little as a month old removed from the desks of NASA engineers to be replaced with Windows machines, which required those engineers to port their work (and in some cases unique software that was developed on the Macs) to Windows.

          Windows machines for office workers and students and the related additional support costs are a small fraction of the negative financial impact Windows has had on the various government institutions in the U.S.

    2. The did not “just find out”.

      There was a semi famous study back in the Dark Days that was quite detailed and carefully done. It showed that if a company had less than 8 – 12% Macs its support costs went up as the IT teams needed to hire additional staff specifically to support Macs. However, after that initial 8 – 12%, as the percentage of Macs went up, the support costs went down. A company that had 100% Macs had significantly less support costs than a company with 100% Windows machines. The study even showed that when the percentage of Macs came close to the percentage of Windows machines the total cost of ownership was less, which completely refuted the “Macs cost too much” statements.

      The established Windows based IT houses tried to refute the study, but none ever could — at least not based upon facts. Eventually, the loudly screaming IT houses stating that Windows was simply better drowned out the facts presented in the study.

      Also, it was revealed by Intel many years ago that on a seat-by-seat basis Intel spent far less supporting Macs than supporting Windows machines–and this was before Apple switched the Mac line to Intel processors. It was rather innocuously reported in one of Intel’s SEC filings. Microsoft and others screamed at Intel, and that interesting fact never saw the light of day again.

      Macs having a lower TCO is nothing new. It’s been a fact that the IT staffs have known for many years. Why not shift to Macs? Simple. Senior IT people need to keep large staffs to maintain an empire and justify their salaries and bonuses.

  1. MDN, IT departments usually make decisions that support the users needs. I assist with IT for an engineering department, and unfortunately most of the software they need is not available for OS X.

    And while I’d like to have more Macs in our firm, the fact that Apple seems to ignore the Pro market with costly, outdated hardware and lack of customization options is usually why IT departments choose Windows PCs. Apple doesn’t seem to care about its Pro customers much anymore. Sure I could order a bunch of Mac Pros and Boot Camp with Windows to run our software programs, but how would spending additional cost really help?

    1. Jim, Apple’s right on this one. What IT departments can’t, or won’t, understand is that it’s CHEAPER to buy employees new computers every two years than it is to pay IT staff to support an unordered array of both new and antiquated machines across an organization. It’s cheaper to buy new Macs and deploy software that works than to have a fleet of clunky old boat anchors that demoralizes employees and reduces productivity.

      If the bean counters had all the information, which IT won’t give them because it jeopardizes their standing, they would insist on Macs throughout.

      I will say though that Apple needs to find a buyer for Intuit so that QuickBooks will work correctly on a Mac.

      1. As far as the apps are concerned, Jim R. is totally correct. Jum Jung Gai, you are correct in the “big picture” but if the specific software that a company needs is not available for the Mac, then there is no real choice.
        I can support Jim R’s point easily even though I have been an Apple loyalist since 1983.

        I am a web developer, graphic artist, motion graphics developer, etc, and I don’t have a need for any of the Apple apps, such as Pages, Keynote is the best in its class, but in the end its just a presentation app, not knocking it at all. I could go on about all of the other Apple apps, but its not worth it.

        ALL of my productive, paying work is done on 3rd party apps, yes they are Mac apps, and although they are becoming harder to work with with every iteration of OSX, they are still the only game in town, albeit not as easy to work with as they were 10 years ago. My costs of production on a given project go up with every new “upgrade” as Apple attempts to make everything more iOS-like, and there may be a tipping point (Linux?) for those particular apps. I hope not.

        so, Sum Jung Gai, I think you are missing the important point he makes, and Apple needs to deal with it.

  2. Had a corporate IT chief tell me to prepare to switch Motown to PCs after we got bought. I sat down, did the research, proved that we had 1 person supporting 60 machines, and their normal operations typically had 1 for every 20. He told me it had nothing to do with cost, etc. They weren’t using any software that didn’t run on Macs at the time. He just wanted everything Windows. Resigned that day. Had a new job in a week. Ah those were the days.

    1. The mind parasites had got to that guy, and you were right to get away while there was still time. /s

      Seriously, doing what you did there, running the numbers and making a case for Mac, then resigning when you realised you’d be stuck working for a fool, — all good moves, in retrospect.

    2. There are many examples like yours. At Dutch National Television a long time ago, two guys ran all of IT. Then a new head of IT was appointed and he said: My job is to set up a professional, well oiled, smooth running IT department and you two are not it. So he set about the migration to WinTel so many IT staff were needed, it cost a fortune, the two guys quit, and in the end they had to back track because it didn’t work very well.

      Same happened at a large publisher, VNU, where the design department was forced to move to PC’s in order to be ‘modern’. Cost a fortune. The design staff mostly quit and they had to back track in order to attract design staff and get working again.

  3. Wow IBM your about 10 years late to the party but better late than never. I would also take issue with MDN statement to CEO’s, hardware and software purchasing decisions should be in the hands of the IT department as most CEO’s are clueless about IT infrastructure and system compatibility, what CEO’s should do is hire better IT staff and reward them for making good decisions and reducing cost while improving productivity, and not force them to keep running widows just for job security.

      1. I radically disagree.

        You may be right for organizations that have a few dozen people or less. However, when you get into organizations that have thousands of people, the vast majority of users — even those in technical areas — have no clue as to how to set up a successful network of several thousand seats. Users just don’t have the expertise to know what integrates well into the network or how to make them work effectively.

        We’ve all heard the stories of how it is not a trivial thing to set up a Mac in a huge multi tiered network. It is not difficult, but Apple’s set up procedures are focused around individual users or small groups of users. It takes someone with more knowledge than they typical Mac user to make things work smoothly. The nice thing is that for the majority of cases, once it is set up properly, it works well with minimal upkeep.

        The real issue is to get CIOs and other senior members of IT staffs to stop feeling like they need huge staffs and even bigger support budgets to justify their existence and paychecks.

  4. The classic pattern emerges again and again, but now on a much larger scale. Google, Springer Verlag, IBM and of course Apple itself first and foremost went that road. Some years ago Gartner published a report that told IT: “ignore Apple at your peril”. The Apple tsunami is now coming in slowly but unstoppable.

    Still I know many in enterprise who, although they by now have heard of the other computing platform in existence, diligently ignore the huge blip on their radar screens.
    To paraphrase Max Planck: “A new computing truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

  5. This is a windoze feature that has long existed for a long time, in fact there is a term for it, “user friendly”. The term really means that you need some friends to help you figure out how to use the byzantine convoluted unintuitive system that is windows.

  6. Let me do the math for you – that is one support person for every 5614 Apple device. If you divided that by three (assume each person has a Mac, an iPad and an iPhone) that is still 1801:1 Macs per support person.

    Those numbers are unheard of in the industry. However, not all corporate programs are Mac compatible so it takes time before either a Mac version comes out or a software program has run its course and a new version is needed.

    These are real considerations but the change is coming.

    Even the President of my employer remarked how fast my MacBook Pro woke from sleep and how bright the Retina Display looked next to his dim Dell laptop.

  7. The balance of power has shifted in corporate America. Users are now determining what tools to use, not IT. Those in the IT profession who adjust to this new paradigm will thrive. Those who fight it will be left behind.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.