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Does IBM Have the Largest Apple Deployment in the World?

Mobile & Apps

Big Blue has 30,000 employees sporting iPhones, 10,000 toting iPads, and another 10,000 workers carrying MacBooks, according to a presentation last week at Macworld iWorld.

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

Does IBM Have the Largest Apple Deployment in the World? image apple mac ibm

Now, as many of you know, I maintain a list of the iPad enterprise deployments, along with a separate list of the 50 largest iPad rollouts.

Based on what I’ve seen, IBM may be the largest Apple deployment out there, and the second-largest iOS mobile device deployment. Here is how I would rank it – anyone heard of other deployments that would break into this list?

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1. Lowe’s is arming 42,000 salespeople with iPhones;

2. IBM

3. Korea Telecom gave away iPads to all 32,000 employees

4. SAP – 14,000 iPads and 6,500 iPhones = 20,500 total. What’s impressive about SAP’s deployment is that it involves almost 40% of all employees (it has 53,000). IBM has 450,000 employees, so its iOS deployment just makes up 9% of workers.

5. Genentech -  7,000 iPads and 10,000 iPhones = 17,000 total

6. Sears – 5,000 iPads and 11,000 iPod Touches = 16,000 total

7. United Airlines is aiming for the paperless cockpit with 11,000 iPads for pilots

(To read about other mobile device deployments from Macworld iWorld, read about the Pentagon’s ultra-careful iPad deployment, and Tab Times’ look at the Austin (Texas) Convention Center and how it saved $50,000 rolling out iPads with Filemaker Go database.)

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.

Other factoids 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.

- 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.

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