IBM to Purchase Up to 200,000 Macs, With 50-75% of Employees Ultimately Switching From Lenovo

A year after teaming up with Apple on an enterprise partnership to push iOS devices and apps for business users, IBM is moving forward with plans to rapidly move its own employees onto Apple's platforms, MacRumors has learned.

While IBM announced in an internal memo several months ago that it was planning to purchase up to 50,000 MacBooks for employees by the end of 2015, chief information officer Jeff Smith has revealed in a new internal video released to employees yesterday that he believes IBM could actually end up purchasing 150,000-200,000 Macs annually.


In the video, Smith relates a conversation he had with Apple's chief information officer Niall O'Connor about the possibility of a massive Mac deployment for IBM.

"I'd like to be able to offer these to everyone that can use it. We've got to find a way to make the overall cost the same or lower than PCs to make that happen. Would you be interested in helping me do that, because you guys know these devices", and he said, "No, Jeff, we'd never do that...very secretive, we never allow anyone in. You know, we just don't do that."

And I said, "Well who's your largest corporate customer?" And he said "Well, that customer has got about 25,000 MacBooks a year." And I said, "Well we could be 150-200,000." And he goes "Jeff, that's a great idea! We're gonna come here, you know, next week...you bring your whole team," and that's exactly what happened.

In a separate clip from the video, Smith describes a recent conversation between Tim Cook and IBM vice president Fletcher Previn in which Previn indicated the initiative could see 50–75 percent of IBM employees eventually converting to Macs from the Lenovo ThinkPads that are currently the company standard.

Apple and IBM, former rivals in the PC market, have been working increasingly closely together on both specialized enterprise-focused iOS apps and more recently on HealthKit and ResearchKit data management tools. With so many IBM employees now in line to switch to Macs for their work machines, the stage is setting up for even more collaboration going forward.

Update: Given IBM's workforce of under 400,000 employees, it appears the "200,000" figure cited by Smith could be a total replacement cycle figure rather than an annual purchase amount. Still, based on a three or four year replacement cycle, IBM would easily become Apple's largest corporate customer.

Tag: IBM

Top Rated Comments

oneMadRssn Avatar
72 months ago
If I was offered jobs at Company A that used Macs, and Company B that used Windows; the salary was the similar, similar benefits, the commute was the approximately same, the job description was approximately the same, the company size was approximately same, and the leadership style was approximately the same, I would choose Company A that used Macs.

Even if the difference seems silly, the computer I stare at for 8+ hrs/day is as important as the comfort of my shoes and the comfort of my mattress - the other things I use for 8+ hrs/day.

Plus, I bet the company culture and culture of employees would be better at Company A that used Macs.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jmh600cbr Avatar
72 months ago
this is crazy and awesome all in one. steve jobs must be smiling in heaven or laughing like an evil villain
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gpat Avatar
72 months ago
I could easily see some old school PC fanboys going harakiri over this news.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
conkerbot Avatar
72 months ago
I think IBM and Apple could be a great partnership - far more so than the cool stuff they've done already. I was thinking the other day what Siri would be capable of if Watson was integrated into it and could access even more data (HealthKit data for example). Apple has the customer-facing side locked down, and IBM can help with infrastructure and software needed to improve their cloud services and enterprise offering.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kkar Avatar
72 months ago
Lenovo ThinkPads are junk. The switch is a good move by IBM.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AFEPPL Avatar
72 months ago

If I was offered jobs at Company A that used Macs, and Company B that used Windows; the salary was the similar, similar benefits, the commute was the approximately same, the job description was approximately the same, the company size was approximately same, and the leadership style was approximately the same, I would choose Company A that used Macs.

Even if the difference seems silly, the computer I stare at for 8+ hrs/day is as important as the comfort of my shoes and the comfort of my mattress - the other things I use for 8+ hrs/day.

Plus, I bet the company culture and culture of employees would be better at Company A that used Macs.

Its just a tool. The notebook has little to do with anything else esp culture!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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