IBM denies internal plans of 'mass migration to Macs'

An IBM spokesperson today denied published reports of what he termed "mass migration" to Apple Macs at his company, claiming the only point of the test is to try to make IBM software products run well on Mac OS.

Although an IBM spokesperson did confirm to BetaNews this afternoon that Macs are now being piloted at IBM Research, he added, "A lot of the blogs out there are suggesting that we're planning some sort of internal mass migration to Macintoshes. But that simply isn't true."

Prompted by an article in Roughtly Drafted Magazine, an onslaught of other stories about the Mac's adventures at IBM Research have also hit the Web over the past couple of days. Daniel Ergan Dilger, the aurthor of the piece in Roughly Drafted, based his article on an IBM document he obtained called "Mac @ Watson."

The IBM spokesperson today corroborated some of the information in the piece, saying that the pilot started among about 25 IBM researchers, that about 50 are involved right now, and that the number might grow to as many as 200 by the end of this year.

"But it is a research project to test and harden our applications, to find out what problems other people might encounter [in running them on Macs]," he told BetaNews.

Dilger wrote in his story that, in giving feedback after the conclusion of a preliminary test in January of 2008, participants helped to put together a list of "a series of applications that were important for their work but not yet available for Mac."

He interpreted this exercise to be part of an overall plan by IBM to evaluate MacBook Pro laptops "as a replacement for the Windows-based ThinkPads currently in use inside the company."

Tending to lend credibility to the spokesperson's explanation, all of the eight applications listed by IBM's initial internal testers were IBM products, with the exception of Microsoft's Visio diagramming software and NetMeeting videoconferencing software.

The spokesperson also told BetaNews that IBM employees are already allowed to run Mac OS at work anyway, although the operating system is not supported by IBM's internal IT help desk.

On the other hand, the spokesperson declined a request from BetaNews to be sent a copy of Mac @ Watson saying, "It is an internal IBM document. So it is not being distributed."

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