The news comes as IBM and Apple have already built up their working relationship over the past year with joint enterprise mobile apps and IBM's offer to support Apple products for enterprise customers. IBM's latest move could take that relationship a bit further and add even more Apple enterprise sales.
What IBM just launched
IBM's new initiative allows enterprise companies to quickly deploy Macs into their businesses without a lot of setup hassles. The company says it's taking what it learned from distributing Macs to its own employees across the world and applying it to other customers.
Basically, IBM will help companies set up their software and services via the cloud on Mac computers and deliver Macs to employees that are ready to use out-of-the-box. In a statement, IBM said:
With these new services, clients can order Macs and have them delivered directly to their employees without any additional setup, imaging or configuration, saving time, reducing costs and creating a great employee experience. Employees can then quickly, easily and securely gain network access, connect to email and download business applications.
The new system will also make it easy for information technology departments to manage and update the Macs as well. However, the biggest benefit may come to Apple.
How this helps Apple
Apple has historically had a hard time getting its foot in the door in the enterprise market, at least compared to Windows-based PCs. But if IBM can convince enterprise customers that it is truly easy to integrate Macs into their existing IT infrastructures, Apple could see that enterprise door swing wide open.
And there are good reasons why companies should be looking at Macs to begin with. There's already discontent with Windows-based machines, and PC shipment numbers prove it. In Q2 2015, overall PC shipments declined by 11.6% worldwide, while Mac shipments increased. As a result, Apple boosted its worldwide PC market share to 7.8%, up from 5.9% in Q2 2014.
In addition, IBM may be one of the best companies to convince enterprise users that Macs are the way to go. IBM has agreed to buy 50,000 MacBooks by the end of this year, and if a recent rumor from MacRumors proves true, IBM may end up buying 150,000 to 200,000 MacBooks, converting 50% to 75% of its worldwide employees over to Macs.
That not only would be a huge sales boost for Apple, but would also show other companies that deploying Macs on a massive scale is very possible.
It's still unclear whether or not IBM's new move will indeed add to Apple's Mac sales, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. What's great about this for Apple is that its partnership with IBM continues to grow just as Microsoft is doubling down on Windows.
The Windows-maker is trying to win back users after a series of software missteps over the past few years. The new Windows 10 has already garnered plenty of positive press. But if IBM can show companies that there's a quick and easy way to get Macs to their employees -- with the software and support that they need -- then companies may be more inclined to buy new Macs, and forgo jumping in with Windows 10.
Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.