New Delhi: It is so awesome to see once bitter enemies now are partnering with each other. Apple and IBM, once fought for the future of computers, have teamed up to create simple-to-use business apps and sell iPhones and iPads to Big Blue’s corporate customers.
Neither Apple nor IBM would disclose financial terms of the deal.
Through this “exclusive” deal the IBM will build a new line of enterprise-specific apps from the ground up for Apple’s iOS, aimed at companies in retail, health care, transportation and other industries. In total, the company will bring over 100 apps providing the cloud services including tools for security, analytics and device management.
The deal also involves IBM reselling iPhones and iPads to its corporate customers, and likewise the tech giant bring out new support services for businesses.
Through this partnership the Cupertino-based Apple is likely to give a big push to the reach of the iPhone and iPad into the business world – beyond its traditional consumer base. It will be a big transformation for the tech giant, which primarily focuses on consumers, as the association will turn it into a true business powerhouse. However, it could also open a new battle with Microsoft, which has a forte in cloud and enterprise sectors.
Earlier in an interview, Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook admitted that the company needs to look outside of its current set of offerings to meet every conceivable enterprise need.
“We’re good at building a simple experience and in building devices,” he said. “The kind of deep industry expertise you would need to really transform the enterprise isn’t in our DNA. But it is in IBM’s.”
Cook said that despite the fact that Apple’s iPhones and iPads are used by over 92 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the deal would give Apple a good chance to explore still a vast untapped market, and thus gaining wider access to the corporate world.
The deal is also significant as it will make Apple’s smartphones and tablets into decision-making tools rather than mere gadets for using contacts, text-messaging and emails. Once such example is the use of the device by an insurance agent in calibrating risk assessments of a potential client. According to Cook, the deal will bring “big data analytics down to the fingertips” of Apple iPhone and iPad users in corporations which only the IBM has the capability to do.
Analysts are also giving a thumbs up to the Apple-IBM alliance in the corporate marketplace, as they say the deal is complementary for the two companies, both in terms of their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Apple’s embrace of IBM, analysts believe, could attract developers to IBM’s cloud software development platform, called Bluemix. The move will be a big positive for the IBM which is making efforts to go deep into mobile computing along with data analytics and cloud.
IBM currently employs 5000 mobile experts worldwide and hundreds of patents in the field. Its mobile software and services business is growing sharply, with revenue rising nearly 70 percent last year. Another asset that IBM will bring to the deal is the security advantage as survey shows corporate technology managers are reluctant to put applications that can pull sensitive corporate data on mobile devices, because of security concerns.
For Apple it means a wider reach of the global market and establishing itself as a valuable distribution channel in the enterprise world without having to change greatly how it operates.