IBM has engaged in an internal research project to evaluate Macs and Linux systems and compare them to the PCs theyire using now for potential migration. Currently, itsi just a pilot, research project, according to IBM.
On Thursday Daniel Dilger at Roughly Drafted discussed the research project, and suggested that the program was designed to study the feasibility of migrating "significant numbers" IBMis employees to Macs.
TMO contacted IBM, and a spokesperson told us the following:
"We have about 100 people using Macs right now in a small pilot, but it is not an indication of a major strategy shift inside the company. Researchers at our IBM Labs are doing what they do best -- trying out new things.
"IBMis internal I/T strategy is about roles-based computing platforms and a commitment to open standards. We want to give our employees choice to use the technologies that are best suited for their job.
"A one size fits all client computing platform no longer provides IBMis global employees with the flexibility to innovate and be productive while containing I/T expenses. Many parts of the business will remain on WinXP. Some will migrate to Linux. There are some requirements for Mac. Our client offerings are successful because of our commitment to interoperability through open standards."
Despite the low key response, itis no secret that IBM has been a strong proponent of open source software and Linux as strategic weapons against Microsoft. Much as Apple and others believe that adherence to open standards and open source source software can benefit themselves and their customers, IBM looks to be thinking along the same lines for its internal operations.
Very notable is the comment in the IBM statement about the fact that "one size fits all client computing" is no longer adequate for IBM. That statement alone sends a strong message to corporate America that the tired excuse of not wanting to support multiple platforms no longer achieves the purpose of creating an "innovative, productive" workforce. The comment about containing I/T expenses can be read that dealing with Windows security and licensing has become too large a burden for IBM.
While some employees, as a result of the program, will likely stay with Windows, many others will evidently be given the freedom to switch to Macs or Linux. This kind of "genetic diversity" is a strength for an organization that has been previously recognized to improve security and operational readiness by the U.S. Army. Now, IBM also is demonstrating the advantages to the world.