Last week, reports surfaced that IBM might soon dump Lenovo ThinkPads and buy 200,000 Macs for employees. Now comes today’s news that IBM is launching a new service to drive Macs into businesses.

In just a year, Big Blue and Apple have become joined at the hip. Who would have ever thought …

And this can’t be good news for Lenovo, the world’s No. 1 PC manufacturer. Traditionally, Macs have had little foothold in business. Research firm statistics show that Macs make up about 6 percent of the global PC market vs. some 20 percent for Lenovo, but both are in double digits in the U.S. market and growing increasingly more competitive.

IBM’s embrace of Macs could mean even more competition for Lenovo and other PC makers such as Dell and HP..

“This new offering from IBM MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services is designed to help large enterprises incorporate Macs within their IT infrastructures – a rising requirement, as more clients adopt or allow the use of Macs by their employees. Shipments of Macs are growing faster than the industry average, and the Mac has outgrown the PC industry every year for the last decade,” IBM declared early Wednesday.

The offering builds on the IBM-Apple partnership announced with great fanfare just a year ago to begin co-development of apps.

“Ease of adoption and use are at the foundation of every Apple product, and as these devices are used more in the workplace, people expect the same experience they enjoy with Apple technology in their personal lives,” said Richard Patterson, general manager, Infrastructure Services for IBM Global Technology Services, in today’s announcement. “IBM’s new enterprise services ensure a great user experience for clients using Macs, providing world-class support from installation through the life of the product.”

The focus of the new offering is a suite of services from JAMF Software that IBM says is “the leading software solution for helping clients quickly set up and deploy Macs, including MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. With the combination of Casper Suite and IBM’s enterprise integration and support services, clients can work with IBM to directly procure, integrate and manage Macs across their IT infrastructures and employee bases. These services also can support clients who choose to deploy both Macs and iOS devices within their enterprises.”

Read more about the IBM initiative at: