Following a leaked video that showed IBM possibly becoming Apple’s largest corporate customer last week, Big Blue announced a new partnership deal on Wednesday that will help MacBooks deploy much faster and easily within large companies.
The new service launched by IBM MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services will allow IBM customers to more easily integrate MacBooks into their existing infrastructure.
Basically, companies will now be able to let their employees use MacBooks without any additional set up or custom configuration, which will save a lot of time and cost. IBM said it has provided these services on a custom basis to certain customers until now, but today’s announcement gives it a more standardised approach.
The new service is also in response to Apple’s growing popularity in the workforce. IBM said in a statement that Mac shipments are growing at a faster rate than the industry average, and has “outgrown the overall PC industry every year for the last decade.”
“Ease of adoption and use are at the foundation of every Apple product, and as these devices are used more in the workplace, people expect the same experience they enjoy with Apple technology in their personal lives,” Richard Patterson, general manager, Infrastructure Services, IBM Global Technology Services, said in a statement.
Apple and IBM have increasingly been working closely together over the past 12 months, after announcing a big partnership deal in July of last year. They have agreed to launch 100 business apps by the end of this year, while IBM has already committed to buy 50,000 MacBooks this year as well.
In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, more than 100 IBM employees are currently working at Apple’s headquarters, working on iPhone and iPad apps for corporate customers like Citigroup, Sprint, and Japan Post Holdings. The report also said IBM’s workforce is already using more than 110,000 Apple devices, including 43,000 iPads.
That number could see a significant jump soon, as a leaked video last week showed IBM’s CIO Jeff Smith saying IBM could buy up to 200,000 MacBooks from Apple, making it the largest corporate customer for MacBooks. He also indicated that 50% to 75% of all IBM employees could potentially convert to MacBooks, although he didn’t specify the timeframe.