IBM exec says Macs are way more wallet-friendly than Windows PCs

IBM and Apple have been cosying up for some time now – working together on iOS apps, and also with the former company making a big move to adopt Macs – and now an IBM vice president has been further extolling the virtues of Apple’s computers in terms of their cost-effectiveness compared to Windows PCs.

At the Jamf Nation conference over in Minneapolis this week, Fletcher Previn, Vice President, Workplace as a Service at IBM, said that 90,000 IBM employees are now using Mac computers – apparently the company has the world's largest deployment of Apple Macs.

That number is planned to increase to between 150,000 and 250,000, so eventually around half of IBM staff members will be on Macs, and the reason for this shift is how much easier this is on the company’s longer-term budget, according to Previn.

He claims that while a Mac may be more expensive to initially purchase for IBM – to the tune of around $120 to $450 (around £100 to £370, or AU$160 to AU$590) pricier than a Windows PC with a similar hardware configuration – the firm makes up that initial loss by saving around $270 to $540 (around £220 to £440, or AU$350 to AU$710) over the first four years of owning the machine.

For Windows, additional costs come from the software and services that have to be purchased from Microsoft to ensure PCs are properly managed and run smoothly. And there’s less support needed for Mac users, with only 5% of IBM’s helpdesk dedicated to supporting them, when Apple’s computers make up 15% of the total machines in use.

  • This could all change with the introduction of the Surface PC

Triple the cost

At any rate, in terms of overall expense, as Business Insider UK reports, Previn estimated that Windows PCs end up being three times more expensive than Macs. He said: “It ends up being $57.3 million [around £47 million, or AU$75 million] more expensive per 100,000 Windows machines, or exactly 3X the cost. And this is a conservative number. This represents the best pricing we've ever gotten from Microsoft."

Previn underlined the fact that every Mac that IBM buys is continuing to save the company money. And apparently 73% of employees at the firm want their next computer to be one of Apple’s.

IBM’s CIO, Jeff Smith, has previously said that eventually up to 75% of IBM employees could switch over from Lenovo ThinkPad laptops to MacBooks.

Still, before we get too carried away, the overall picture of Mac sales has looked shaky this year. Back in July, Gartner’s figures for the second quarter showed a drop of 4.9% in Mac shipments year-on-year. And Gartner’s Q3 figures observed an even bigger slump, with Apple’s computers taking a dive to the tune of 13.4% compared to the previous year. All this has meant that Apple has been overtaken by Asus in the PC market share stakes this year.

So it’s perhaps no surprise then that Apple has been looking to carve out more business in the enterprise arena, whether that’s with MacBooks, iPad Pros, iPhones or indeed apps.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).