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Walmart not ready to add employee Macs to reduce costs

The retail giant was reportedly taking a page out of IBM's playbook, expecting lower IT support costs for Macs. Not so, says Walmart.

So, Walmart doesn't actually have plans to cut costs by offering its employees Macs.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Walmart has long trumpeted the cost savings it offers customers, but despite reports to the contrary, it has no immediate plans to push Apple Macs on employees to save itself some money.

Walmart supposedly offered a peek at the program Wednesday during the Jamf Nation User Conference, one of the largest gatherings of Apple system administrators in the world. Walmart currently has 7,000 Mac computers distributed globally, but that was about to change, according to comments attributed to Miles Leacy, technical expert for Apple technologies at Walmart.

"This time next year we will probably be managing 100,000 Macs," Leacy told the JNUC crowd. The cost of IT support for employees was cited as a deciding factor for the move, Jamf reported in a post that has since been taken down.

With a platform migration, Walmart would have been taking a page out of IBM's playbook. Leacy said IBM's presentation at a previous JNUC caught his eye. During that presentation, Fletcher Previn, now the CIO for IBM, discussed the cost savings the tech giant experienced after deploying 100,000 Macs to its employees.

"We looked at TCO [total cost of ownership] for our technology," Leacy said. "The cost of deploying and securing [a Mac] at this point is a lot cheaper than supporting a Windows box -- it just makes good business sense."

However, Walmart said the questions asked of Leacy were engineered to elicit a desired response.

"Walmart offers a diverse set of tools to create the best digital experience for our associates so they can get their jobs done effectively," Joe Park, senior director of Associate Digital Experience at Walmart, said in a statement. "We are always evaluating options, but at this time no program has been rolled out."

First published Oct. 26, 5:54 p.m. PT.

Update, 9 p.m.: with Walmart statement.

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