IBM Befriends Apple To Woo Enterprise Users

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 16, 2014


IBM will partner with Apple to sell iPhones and iPads to win over enterprise customers, according to news reports. The coming together of the two rivals has been termed as a “landmark” step by experts who believe the strategic partnership will not only offer a great experience to customers, but also be a boon for the two IT giants as they can gain in terms of market shares and profits.

The tie-up between what were historically rivals aims to boost Apple’s share of the market for mobile devices for businesses and will offer custom-made apps which bring the power of IBM’s supercomputing analytics to a mobile workforce, a joint statement said adding that the landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change.

The companies plan to release more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including apps developed for the iOS platform, along with IBM cloud services, security and analytics. As part of the deal, IBM will also sell iPhone and iPads tailored to specific industries.

“For the first time ever, we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple,” said Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO, said the alliance “will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally. Apple is looking for growth in the business community for their devices like iPhone, iPad and iCloud services. IBM is the company who can help Apple do just that.”

The announcement had come only two days before IBM releases its second quarter earnings, and is a clear indication that the company attempts to shift its focus to software and services as its hardware unit continues to slump. After a string of mobile software acquisitions, the company hopes software sales will contribute half of its total profit by 2015 and this is just a step in that direction.

At the same time, Apple is looking to boost growth amid a global onslaught of smartphones and tablets using the Google Android operating system. While Apple is popular among many consumers, its appeal to corporate users has been more limited. Research firm IDC said it expects Android smartphones to remain ahead of the pack with an 80.4 percent market share in 2014. Apple meanwhile saw iPad sales slump and its market share tumbled to 28.4 percent from 40.3 percent a year earlier.

According to reports, Apple will create a new service and support offering tailored help, while IBM will manage some of the functions like device activation and security. The deal also includes a private app catalog, and helps business customers transform IBM services for mobile devices. The new offerings will be pushed through Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 8, which was unveiled in June.