Apple and IBM announced a joint venture that the tech giants have been working on for several months. The exclusive partnership will focus on mobile and data analysis tech in the corporate world by developing more than 100 business software programs intended for use on iPhones and iPads. Applications will be tailored for banking, healthcare, insurance, retail, telecommunications and transportation. Apple CEO Tim Cook described the venture as “a landmark partnership.”
“Under the agreement, IBM’s employees will provide on-site support and service of Apple products inside companies, similar to the AppleCare service that Apple sells to consumers,” explains The Wall Street Journal. “IBM said it planned to make more than 100,000 employees available to the Apple initiative. It is a rare partnership for Apple, which historically has avoided such alliances.”
The deal “could deepen Apple’s sales to corporations and strengthen IBM’s position in business software,” suggests The New York Times.
Virginia Rometty, IBM’s chief exec, “said the companies planned to combine data analysis, cloud and mobile technology with Apple’s smartphones and tablets, turning the devices into decision-making tools rather than ones used mainly for email, text-messaging and contacts,” NYT reports.
She said that the long-term goal is to use the tech to “reimagine how work is done” and to “unlock value, remake professions and transform companies.”
The enterprise-specific apps will be introduced beginning this fall. Some analysts believe the partnership will attract developers, who are increasingly working on mobile and cloud apps. And IBM’s endorsement of iOS could give Apple an edge over Android.
“This partnership is complementary for the two companies, both in terms of their respective strengths and weaknesses,” said Frank Gens, chief analyst for researcher IDC.
“It makes it much harder to get serious consideration for Android in corporations,” added Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.
PCWorld suggests that the deal “could have lasting ramifications for both companies — as well as for rivals Google, Microsoft and BlackBerry. It could also make life a lot easier for IT staff at large enterprises.”
In addition to the iOS apps, “IBM will create ‘unique cloud services’ for iOS, including tools for security, analytics and device management,” reports PCWorld. “It will also resell iPhones and iPads to its corporate customers, and Apple will roll out new support services for businesses.”