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IBM Claims Macs Are Cheaper Than PCs Using Self Interest As A Metric


IBM may be one of the industries biggest names but it has been in a decades long slide as it tries to transform its business into something with a future. At Jamf's User Conference this week IBM reported that Mac enterprise support costs less than a third of that of a PC.

So, just to be clear, at a conference for a company that creates enterprise management software for Apple devices, a company that recently signed a major partnership with Apple to promote Apple devices in enterprise said that Apple was cheaper for enterprise customers. I never saw that one coming.

I'd like to see how IBM backs that claim up when challenged.

For example, IBM started placing Macs with user just over a year ago. Has it normalised its cost figures for the comparitive ages of the machines, given that around 40% of its fleet would be greater than three years old in the same time frame? Or perhaps it has reflected like for like usage patterns to demonstrate the comparitive costs for users undertaking the same work, in the same environment with the same tools on the two different machines.

What about the level of users being offered a Mac? 73% of IBM users offered a choice took a Mac. Which suggests that most users didn't get the choice. Do we think those users were management staff whose workload is very different to their junior staff? Did this account for the senior staff having more experience and better computer skills. We'll have to guess because IBM hasn't told us. Do they even know?

I suspect not. I also suspect that no other verification of its data has been made over and above finding the headline figure that projects IBM interests in the best light.

For anyone who has had the pleasure of managing large fleets of PCs, Windows or Mac; this brand of pseudo-statistics, amounting to little more than marketing wrapped up as research, can be very frustrating because it gets adopted as gospel by people who don't know any better.

Total cost of ownership of any PC fleet is a very coarse average and you should be careful about any claims by any vendor about what it can and can't save you. Especially when the claim is being made by those with a vested interest in what you perceive to be true.

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