Apple Teams Up with Long-Time Rival IBM for Mobile Business Apps

Apple and IBM became partners on Tuesday to develop new business apps and sell iPhones and iPads to Big Blue’s corporate customers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty announced a global strategic partnership to redefine the way work gets done by transforming the way businesses and employees use mobile technology through a new class of business apps that bring IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad. Photo: Paul Sakuma/Feature Photo Service for IBM

Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty announced a global strategic partnership to redefine the way work gets done by transforming the way businesses and employees use mobile technology through a new class of business apps that bring IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad. Photo: Paul Sakuma/Feature Photo Service for IBM

The Cupertino tech giant is teaming up with its long-term rival IBM in an attempt to sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers and government agencies.

The two companies announced their global partnership on Tuesday claiming to work together on about 100 “industry-specific” business apps designed from the ground up for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

“It’s a watershed partnership that brings together the best of Apple and the best of IBM,” Cook said Tuesday during an interview at Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters. Underscoring the importance of the alliance, Rometty flew from IBM’s Armonk, New York, headquarters to join Cook for the announcement.

“This is about two powerhouses unleashing the power of mobility for (businesses),” Rometty said. “This is going to remake professions and industries.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is known that products will be branded “IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions”, with new applications, expected to be released this fall.

As part of the deal, two giants will create mobile applications to prove that iPhones and iPads have a much wider range of functions besides checking email and keeping track of appointments.

The Apple’s biggest rival will be busy with providing better security to reassure companies concerned about hackers stealing vital information off the mobile devices of employees doing less of their work on desktop and laptop computers.

“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Cook.

“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. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

As for the new AppleCare for Enterprise service, Apple says it will “provide IT departments and end users with 24/7 assistance from Apple’s award-winning customer support group, with on-site service delivered by IBM.”

The deal, which the two tech giants called an “exclusive partnership,” brings together one of the world’s biggest consumer brands with an industry icon whose middle name is literally business. Apple shares rose $1.51 to $96.83 in after-market trading. IBM gained $3.41 to $191.90. The companies, former PC world adversaries, have worked together on the venture for several months.

Previously, the partnership between the two companies would be considered impossible, after Apple famously attacked IBM in an iconic commercial titled “1984,” painting IBM as a big-brother-like figure protecting the status quo while Apple’s Macintosh provided a pathway to freedom.

“That was a long time ago,” Cook said of Apple’s old rivalry with IBM. “This is two pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly.”

“It is a huge win for both of them and could make Apple’s iOS the defacto standard in mobile IT at the big expense of Android and Windows 8 mobile,” said analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies of San Jose.

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