Linked by David Adams on Wed 16th Apr 2008 15:33 UTC, submitted by Hakime
Apple 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.
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But why?
by leos on Wed 16th Apr 2008 16:03 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

I don't mean to be a troll, but why would they do something like that? What business advantage does Mac have over Windows? It's still a proprietary platform, you're tied to one vendor, you have to pay license fees, and the hardware choices are more limited.

If you're happy with a proprietary OS and vendor lockin, then just stay with Windows. If you really want to get out of that, then go for a free platform. User interface aside, it's not like you're dealing with a better company by going to Apple.

Reply Score: 8

RE: But why?
by David on Wed 16th Apr 2008 16:05 UTC in reply to "But why?"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Almost all of those downsides you mention also apply to Windows. You can buy your hardware from multiple vendors, but as long as Apple has to keep its prices close to other top-tier vendors, that's not that big of a deal for a company that buys all its stuff from one company already.

Reply Score: 1

RE: But why?
by Thomas2005 on Wed 16th Apr 2008 16:25 UTC in reply to "But why?"
Thomas2005 Member since:
2005-11-07

It makes sense for IBM to get their software to run on the Mac platform because more people and businesses are moving to the Mac platform. I am sure IBM is thinking long-term here, especially with (Intel) "Leopard" being a true UNIX.

Reply Score: 2

RE: But why?
by godawful on Wed 16th Apr 2008 16:42 UTC in reply to "But why?"
godawful Member since:
2005-06-29

Because maybe support is cheaper? Not saying one way or another, just that if it is a significant cost saving there, that could be reason to switch.

Hypothetically
IT staff of 5 maintaining 100 windows comps = $400,000
if they could do 2 IT staff for 100 macs = $160,000

seems reason enough to me, assuming everything else worked just as well

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: But why?
by google_ninja on Wed 16th Apr 2008 17:30 UTC in reply to "RE: But why?"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Actually, you would probably need to hire unix guys, which are typically expensive. And they would probably have some trouble, as noone really has experience with large scale mac deployments. Not only that, but it is easier to have one team with the skillset to manage 200 machines then two teams managing 100 each.

I think it has alot more to do with what he says in the intro, that they are seeing alot of people coming in who are more comfortable on macs and are asking for them.

Reply Score: 4

RE: But why?
by google_ninja on Wed 16th Apr 2008 17:19 UTC in reply to "But why?"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

99% of people don't care about propriatary platforms or vendor lock-in.

You only care about the propriatary nature of an app if you are writing software that needs to interact with it, to end users, its the interoperability that matters. You only care about vendor lock-in if you need to swap out one of the bits on your stack semi-regularily. If that isn't a requirement, all end users care about is integration of applications within the stack they use. Not only that, but speaking as someone who worked in the J2EE/Orion/Linux/Oracle world for 5 years, even when a stack is supposedly built on "open standards", in reality, any non trivial application is still going to get locked in, as you will need to use more advanced features of your various products that are not rarely covered by standards made for compatiblity.

It depends on your requirements, and your skillset. In this case, what drove the project was user skillset being on another platform, and the requirements of said users being able to be filled on osx (the lack of visio and netmeeting turned out to not be deal breakers.)

Reply Score: 5

RE: But why?
by sbergman27 on Wed 16th Apr 2008 18:06 UTC in reply to "But why?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

A heterogeneous closed source landscape is still better than a monopoly-dominated one. Competition is good regardless of the development model and licensing. Furthermore, open source tends to have different strengths and weaknesses than closed source. Thus it, too, benefits from having healthy closed source competition.

Reply Score: 6

RE: But why?
by sanctus on Wed 16th Apr 2008 18:16 UTC in reply to "But why?"
sanctus Member since:
2005-08-31

For everything you'll use, it will have some sort of lock-in. If it's not corporate lock-in, it will be license lock-in, group dependence lock-in et cetera.

If you look it solely and uniquely as a free-software advocate and a Linux(or what ever the OS you think everyone should you because you use it) enforcer, it's true you'll find no other advantage than the one you praise.

Using windows or OS X in corporation is two different beast.

- Free compiler
- Free tools for developer
- Rich choice of scripting language out of the box (open source, standard)
- More productive interface
- Better care for details and design (design is not only aesthetics)
- Better support of standard
- Better design hardware*

* just look at the trackpad, why just Apple offers a big, multi-touch trackpad that doesn't -require- a second mouse?

Anyway, there's many room for different player in the industry. I hope open source will be in it, but also Apple, Sun, IBM.

Apple have some drawback for corporate use, but still there's more and more people who wants their products in corporation. Did IBM sensed it and wants to offer solutions. (business opportunity)

Reply Score: 5

RE: But why?
by unoengborg on Wed 16th Apr 2008 18:53 UTC in reply to "But why?"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

Macs just work, that's the advantage. This is of course a result of having hardware and OS from the same vendor.

And "just works" is very important if you have a lot highly paid employees trying to get as much consultant fees as possible from your clients.

In other words, IBM can't afford anything but the best.

Reply Score: 3

RE: But why?
by protagonist on Wed 16th Apr 2008 19:47 UTC in reply to "But why?"
protagonist Member since:
2005-07-06

I still fail to see how buying a Mac locks you into Apple. It is my understanding you can run pretty much any x86 OS out there. It is also possible to install and run many of the thousands of UNIX programs out there. Not to mention it has been my experience that the equivalent software between Windows and Macs is usually cheaper on the Mac side.

The only real downside of buying a Mac seems to be cost. And I would bet IBM can get them cheaper than you or I can. :-)

Reply Score: 3

Ah the irony
by John.Gustafsson on Wed 16th Apr 2008 16:11 UTC
John.Gustafsson
Member since:
2005-08-08

First they didn't provide Apple with the needed CPUs, then Apple went to iNTEL and has greatly improved since then, and now IBM wants to use their computers:) Such sweet sweet irony ;)

Reply Score: 4

Done before?
by trooper9 on Wed 16th Apr 2008 16:46 UTC
trooper9
Member since:
2007-04-27

I may be wrong, but didn't they do this same thing with Linux not too long ago?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Done before?
by ShadesFox on Wed 16th Apr 2008 16:59 UTC in reply to "Done before?"
ShadesFox Member since:
2006-10-01

Indeed they did. That's the thing about IBM, if someone is buying it in decent quantity then IBM will step in to sell it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Done before?
by google_ninja on Wed 16th Apr 2008 17:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Done before?"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Its actually pretty cool to see how they have managed to re-invent themselves from a hardware company to a "solutions" company. Its also really interesting to see how they have gone from the Great Satan to having a pretty good image in the eyes of the tech world

Reply Score: 2

RE: Done before?
by Dano on Thu 17th Apr 2008 06:20 UTC in reply to "Done before?"
Dano Member since:
2006-01-22

Yep, and Linux got them farther than Mac support will. I can understand Linux because it's so open that it does not cost them much to service and deploy a Linux platform. They should have worked on getting OS/2 ported on other processors.

Reply Score: 1

Single Vendor problems
by robmv on Wed 16th Apr 2008 16:47 UTC
robmv
Member since:
2006-08-12

Any company tying the software they use to a single hardware manufacturer without options to switch to other is doing something wrong, but for a small company or home that is not a big deal

Reply Score: 3

But shurely...
by hhas on Wed 16th Apr 2008 17:13 UTC
hhas
Member since:
2006-11-28

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM?

Reply Score: 0

RE: But shurely...
by concurrentcoder on Wed 16th Apr 2008 19:25 UTC in reply to "But shurely..."
concurrentcoder Member since:
2008-04-16

I was, sort of. I worked from a USA office of IBM. They wanted me to move to Research Triangle Park, and unfortunately my wife was not able to transfer her government job (which is usually far more secure than IT, so I had to leave IBM). They offered me a good deal and even let me stay on and work from home for a few months, so I can't really fault them for what is just unfortunate circumstance. They are a good company to work for as large companies go. There are some bitter folks who work for them and have worked for them (particularly pensioners), but I was not subject to that but they seem to have some legit beefs. The biggest negative I had working for IBM for a number of years and this is true for any large company is that there are too many non-technical managers and not enough folks with the proper technical skill sets relative to the number who do have them. I noticed a survey of German VS American managers and virtually all the Germans ones came with engineering degrees (most never heard of an MBA or saw little use unless you were actually running the company and making large business decisions relative to the size of the company) VS most American management (over 50%) in IT having no technical education or engineering background and having business type degrees. I always sort of felt like I was working for the post office while there. For example I have known contract workers who had been on full time contract pay from home for 10+ years and no one could really explain what they do besides some menial document editing. It feels like working for the government, which may or may not qualify it as the great satan depending on your outlook!

Reply Score: 1

RE: But shurely...
by concurrentcoder on Wed 16th Apr 2008 19:26 UTC in reply to "But shurely..."
concurrentcoder Member since:
2008-04-16

I was, sort of. I worked from a USA office of IBM. They wanted me to move to Research Triangle Park, and unfortunately my wife was not able to transfer her government job (which is usually far more secure than IT, so I had to leave IBM). They offered me a good deal and even let me stay on and work from home for a few months, so I can't really fault them for what is just unfortunate circumstance. They are a good company to work for as large companies go. There are some bitter folks who work for them and have worked for them (particularly pensioners), but I was not subject to that but they seem to have some legit beefs. The biggest negative I had working for IBM for a number of years and this is true for any large company is that there are too many non-technical managers and not enough folks with the proper technical skill sets relative to the number who do have them. I noticed a survey of German VS American managers and virtually all the Germans ones came with engineering degrees (most never heard of an MBA or saw little use unless you were actually running the company and making large business decisions relative to the size of the company) VS most American management (over 50%) in IT having no technical education or engineering background and having business type degrees. I always sort of felt like I was working for the post office while there. For example I have known contract workers who had been on full time contract pay from home for 10+ years and no one could really explain what they do besides some menial document editing. It feels like working for the government, which may or may not qualify it as the great satan depending on your outlook!

Reply Score: 2

...
by Hiev on Wed 16th Apr 2008 17:53 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

IBM is so obsessed to destroy MS and make up such crazy ideas.

Reply Score: 0

Yadda Yadda Yadda
by Vinegar Joe on Wed 16th Apr 2008 18:10 UTC
Vinegar Joe
Member since:
2006-08-16

I'll believe it when I see it......IBM wouldn't even use OS/2, their own platform!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Yadda Yadda Yadda
by bousozoku on Thu 17th Apr 2008 22:15 UTC in reply to "Yadda Yadda Yadda"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

I'll believe it when I see it......IBM wouldn't even use OS/2, their own platform!


IBM was using OS/2 internally and on the road, as well as using soft terminals to access their systems. It was expensive to keep OS/2 development going simply for that and the various ATMs out there.

For the longest time, IBM made its customers with Macs pay extra and suffer with third party support because they didn't want to support multiple sets of source code. I think that IBM finally discovered that their internal technical support calls were mirroring their customers' calls and wanted to see how it would work otherwise.

IBM embraced Smalltalk a long time ago for rapid development and Objective-C isn't that difficult to grasp from there but has some execution efficiency that Smalltalk still longs to find.

Besides, on what other hardware can you run Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and BSD?

Reply Score: 2

Though they like Linux
by fithisux on Wed 16th Apr 2008 18:28 UTC
fithisux
Member since:
2006-01-22

I think they have not moved all their desktops away from Windows. Maybe now they will move them to OSX and have a healthy Unix/Linux ecosystem. They have AIX but they sell it only to big players and they want to keep it expensive.

Reply Score: 2

IBM's Comfort Zone
by Pro-Competition on Wed 16th Apr 2008 18:48 UTC
Pro-Competition
Member since:
2007-08-20

I think Apple's general philosophy fits quite well with IBM's. Apple limits the hardware that they have to support in order to provide as reliable and trouble-free an experience as possible for the user (and pad their profit margins at the same time).

This is obviously what IBM does with its mainframes and minis, but it is also what they tried to do with the original PC, before the clones opened up a hardware free-for-all.

In a company with a "reliability and throughput" philosophy, I think the world of Mac should feel fairly comfortable.

Reply Score: 1