Mac Setups: The IBM Manager’s Desk

Aug 11, 2012 - 15 Comments

IBM Managers Mac desk setup

When you think of IBM, you probably don’t think of Macs, right? Well you probably thought wrong, because it turns out some IBM employees love their Macs! To prove that, here’s the awesome all-Mac desk setup of a manager at none other than Big Blue herself. Hardware shown in the picture includes:

  • MacBook Pro 15″ (2011) – 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD, OS X Lion 10.7.4
  • Dual Apple Thunderbolt 27″ Displays
  • Apple Extended Keyboard & Apple Magic Mouse
  • Plantronics Calisto Pro wireless phone and Bluetooth headset

Other Apple gear not shown includes an iPhone 4S and iPad 2 64GB AT&T model.

Considering Apple’s tumultuous history with IBM, the famous “1984” commercial, and the internal Apple Ghostbusters spoof, it’s pretty great to see the old rivalry between tech superpowers is obviously far in the past.

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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac Setups


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  1. Jim K. says:

    The premise of the article’s first sentence is archaic and uninformed. Why wouldn’t IBM embrace OS X and Macs for its PC’s??

    There are so many reasons for just the opposite. It’s not like IBM and MS parted partnerships on such great terms. MS tried to – and nearly succeeded (in a most underhanded way) – in destroying IBM as it had existed. There were many and repeated calls from within and without to break it up at the time in some hopefully viable independent businesses and some doomed. A new chief executive – from clear outside of technology, from Nabisco in fact (Louis Gerstner) – decided to try and hold it together, redefine its core missions and he succeeded.

    And I’m willing to bet there’s still little love lost for Redmond among some still at Armonk and no nostalgia for Windows (which was supposed to be IBM’s OS/2).

    Besides that, after PC OS’s and then PC’s became peripheral and then gone as part of IBM, Apple and IBM were in no way competitors a la 1984. They formed the “AIM Alliance,” for example (Apple, IBM and Motorola), for example to work on “Project Pink” (not to be confused with Microsoft’s much later confusing Pink project that resulted in some stillborn “message phones).

    I have a VHS tape of the project announcement sent to me by IBM in storage somewhere. And I believe Apple gained some useful bits out of this.

    IBM Microelectronics and Motorola also were the designers and suppliers of the PPC chips that powered the post 68000 Macs. And despite IBM’s promising POWER archtitecture the problem was that the performance of production parts for Macs just couldn’t keep up with Intel chips. For whatever reasons.

    After that I lose track a bit, but I also know that both Apple and IBM – in different ways and for slightly different reasons are both big contributors to the underpinnings of open source.

    Anyway, in short, both are top tech companies with great cultures, images and histories and so the setup pictured surprises me not at all.

  2. Kevin B. says:

    This is one of the very best Mac setups I’ve ever seen. I’d encourage the IBM manager to ditch the mouse for a trackpad instead, however.

    I also love the picture on the wall with the state license plates making up a map of the United States.

    Awesome setup…

    Kevin B.

  3. jorn says:

    “When you think of IBM, you probably don’t think of Macs, right?”

    What are we supposed to think of?

  4. Dean says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I have been researching this for a (frustrating) few weeks and never knew that IBM had an internal Mac Community. I am currently online with Notes and Sametime using Cisco VPN! I am psyched! :-) I am well on my way now. Thank you once again…


  5. Nick says:

    If you’re a Mac user and work at IBM, you need to become part of the internal Mac Community which can be found internally at Mac has a built-in VPN to access the IBM intranet… more information can be found on the Mac community on how to configure this. Just imagine how great it will be not to rely on the hefty AT&T VPN you use on your Windows VM! All the internal IBM tools such as Lotus Notes, SameTime, etc. are all available to download for OSX.

  6. Dean says:

    I work for IBM as well and use an iMac for work related activities, my question is how do you access IBM internal network? I use a Windows Desktop VM (via Parallels) and run AT&T Net Client from there. Do you access IBM directly from your MacBook??


    • jorn says:

      Dean, maybe you should check with your employer, instead of posing this question publicly, awaiting a public answer. ;)

  7. Bluegrass says:

    The desk in this picture looks nice.
    I’m looking for an L-shaped desk with a wood grain similar to the one in the picture with legroom and as unobtrusive supports as possible. Does anyone have any recommendations? I’d appreciate any suggestions anyone can provide.

  8. Winski says:

    What you FAIL to mention is one or two small details..

    EITHER, this setup is fake or staged as field office where a human employee can come to check-in to use a conference auditorium down the hall, OR

    IT’s one of the last offices at IBM – ANWHERE. Most of IBM exists in Second-life only, where most teams have physically never met each other and do most of their billable work autonomously…

  9. J says:

    Always nice to see the beautiful mStand

  10. Calvin says:

    IBM now is mostly business to business, and Apple is mostly consumer sales. They are finally living in harmony.

    Great Mac setup too.

  11. Bertie says:

    google:daisy chain thunderbolt displays

  12. Allen says:

    I didn’t know you can connect 2 displays to one MacBook? Can you explain or provide a link on how to do this? It’s awesome.

    • Will says:

      New Thunderbolt Macs can support dual Thunderbolt displays, you can either daisy-chain them or with the retina MacBook Pro just use both Thunderbolt ports. The following Macs support dual-displays this way:

      MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)

      MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)

      MacBook Pro (15-inch and 17-inch, Early 2011) and later

      MacBook Air (Mid 2012)

      iMac (Mid 2011)

      Mac mini (Mid 2011), 2.5 GHz

      You can find more information here:

      • Allen says:

        Oh cool, thanks! I have a mere Macbook 17″ from 2010 or so, guess I can’t do this… I’ll have to google Thunderbolt Display also (know what daisy chaining is;) — I have a Cinema Display – I guess they’re different?

        Thanks for info! Looking forward to this config one day…

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