Apple and IBM may be getting much more serious about cozying up to each other, to judge by a leaked internal video that hints at the possibility of IBM becoming Apple’s largest corporate MacBook customer.
The leaked video, which was shown on the blog site MacRumors, appears to show IBM CIO Jeff Smith recounting the story of a bar-side chat he had with Apple’s CIO Niall O’Connor about a potential deal to deploy 200,000 MacBooks at IBM.
IBM already agreed to buy about 50,000 MacBooks by the end of this year, according to a leaked memo in May. The supposed deal discussed in the video, if true, would represent a significantly larger chunk of business.
“I’d really like to break a log jam here. I’d like to be able to offer these [MacBooks] to everyone that can use it,” Smith says he told O’Connor, according to the video. “We’ve got to find a way to make the overall cost the same or lower than PCs to make that happen. Would you be interested in helping me do that, because you guys know these devices?”
In Smith’s telling, O’Connor at first played hard ball, simply saying, “No, Jeff, we’d never do that…[we’re] very secretive, we never allow anyone in. You know, we just don’t do that.”
But Smith goes onto say that O’Connor’s attitude changed after Smith tossed out some big numbers that IBM could possibly purchase.
“And I said, ‘Well who’s your largest corporate customer?’ And he said ‘Well, that customer has got about 25,000 MacBooks a year.’ And I said, ‘Well we could be 150-200,000.’ And he goes, ‘Jeff, that’s a great idea! We’re gonna come here, you know, next week…you bring your whole team,’ and that’s exactly what happened,” Smith said on the video.
It’s not clear from the video why and to whom Smith was recounting the story.
Smith didn’t share any more details about the deal, but did indicate that 50% to 75% of all IBM employees could potentially convert to MacBooks following this deal. IBM’s workforce is comprised of roughly 380,000 people worldwide. If it happens, this deal would easily make IBM the largest corporate customer of MacBooks, by a wide margin of almost 10X.
There have been increasing ties between the two tech giants over the past year. Since a partnership deal announced last July, Apple and IBM have agreed to launch 100 business apps by the end of the year.
Unlike Apple’s iPad, which experienced declining sales lately, the MacBook has grown its marketshare worldwide. According to IDC, Apple was the only top 5 PC vendor to see year-over-year growth in shipments last quarter, with a 16.1% increase from the same period of last year. MacBooks also saw 9% increase in both units sold and revenue from last year.
We’ve reached out to IBM and Apple for comment and will update the story if we hear back from them.
Here’s the full video: