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Other Than Apple, IBM May be the Largest Apple Deployment in the World

Other Than Apple, IBM May be the Largest Apple Deployment in the World

IBM has 30,00 employees carrying iPhones, 10,000 using iPads, and 10,000 toting MacBooks. According to a presentation last week at MacWorld iWorld, IBM might have the largest Apple deployment in the World. Outside of Apple itself, of course.

Eric Lai writes for ZDNet:

That’s 50,000 Mac and iOS devices total.

Based on what I’ve seen, IBM may be the largest Apple deployment out there, and the second-largest iOS mobile device deployment.

IBM still has 30,000 employees using BlackBerry smartphones, according to mobility evangelist Chris Pepin, but that number is falling. It has another 20,000 employees using smartphones running Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and other platforms.

It’s a very interesting point, especially considering the high degree of rivalry between Apple and IBM in the early days. Other points from Pepin’s presentation, which is available on SlideShare here:

  • IBM supports so many platforms for two main reasons: 1) to help its many services consultants harmonize with its enterprise customers by using the same gear; 2) as a recruiting tool for younger workers. “If a company required you to use a ThinkPad laptop and a BlackBerry  phone, would you want to join? I know I would not,” Pepin said.
  • Most of the smartphones and tablets used inside IBM are owned by employees. That supports Strategy Analytics’ recent report that the vast majority of tablets inside companies today are Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
  • Altogether, 100,000 IBM employees can do corporate e-mail, contacts and calendars from mobile devices. That’s up from 25,000 just several years ago.
  • IBM uses a custom-built configuration software called Bluemac to automate installation of apps onto the iOS devices.
  • Standard apps include IBM’s Lotus Traveler and Lotus Mobile Connect (client-less VPN), while a smaller number get full VPN access, IBM Sametime instant messaging and IBM Connections, a collaboration tool that combines features from Facebook, SharePoint and Dropbox.
  • The iPhones must be 3GS or later, and be running iOS 4.3 or later.T
  • There is an internal enterprise app store called Whirlwind for self-service, optional apps. Beta versions of IBM mobile apps are also offered to employees here. Whirlwind will give way to a new app store based on IBM’s Tivoli software, said Pepin.
  • Employees are not restricted from using Apple’s App Store.
  • IBM has just released the beta version of an MDM software called IBM Endpoint for Mobile Devices that runs on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows Phone and others.s = 17,000 total

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