Apple’s new partnership with IBM will put iOS in the enterprise like never before

Tim Cook with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

Tim Cook with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. Photo courtesy Apple

Today Apple announced that it’s partnering with IBM to “transform enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps.” The relationship will combine IBM’s enterprise data specialties with Apple’s iOS hardware and software.

“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 Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “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.”

There are four key areas that Apple will be working on with IBM:

  • A “new class” of over 100 enterprise solutions, like native apps for iOS.
  • IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, “including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration.”
  • A new branch of AppleCare tailored specifically for enterprise.
  • “New packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.”

Apple has been dipping its toes in the enterprise world for the past few years, and it recently announced several new features for businesses in iOS 8. But it’s clear that Apple can’t accomplish what it wants to on its own, and both partners seem happy to be on board for the ride together.

It’s clear that Apple can’t accomplish what it wants to on its own

“Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and CEO in the press release. “This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services. We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”

A lot has changed since Steve Jobs flipped off IBM 30 years ago.

A lot has changed since Steve Jobs flipped off IBM 30 years ago.

IBM is not only committing to help Apple sell bulk orders of iPhones and iPads to enterprise customers, but it’s also aligning heavily with iOS in general going forward. It’s “MobileFirst Platform for iOS” will essentially be a one-stop shop for companies to run their work devices. AppleCare for Enterprise will be handled 24/7 by Apple on the phone and offer on-site service and installation by IBM.

The partnership is a landmark one for both companies considering their history as competitors. In the early days of the Macintosh, IBM and Compaq were Apple’s top rivals. IBM never managed to be successful in the consumer market like Apple, so it pivoted into specializing on enterprise hardware and services.

“We’re good at building a simple experience and in building devices,” Tim Cook told Re/code in an interview about the announcement. “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.”

Here’s the full press release from Apple:

CUPERTINO, California and ARMONK, New York—July 15, 2014—Apple® and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an exclusive partnership that teams the market-leading strengths of each company to transform enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps—bringing IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone® and iPad®.

The landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change—grounded in four core capabilities:
a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
new AppleCare® service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and
new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions will be built in an exclusive collaboration that draws on the distinct strengths of each company: IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities, with the power of more than 100,000 IBM industry and domain consultants and software developers behind it, fused with Apple’s legendary consumer experience, hardware and software integration and developer platform. The combination will create apps that can transform specific aspects of how businesses and employees work using iPhone and iPad, allowing companies to achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction—faster and easier than ever before.

As part of the exclusive IBM MobileFirst for iOS agreement, IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide.

“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 Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “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.”

“Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and CEO. “This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services. We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”

Apple and IBM’s shared vision for this partnership is to put in the hands of business professionals everywhere the unique capabilities of iPads and iPhones with a company’s knowledge, data, analytics and workflows. Specifically, the two companies are working together to deliver the essential elements of enterprise mobile solutions:

- Mobile solutions that transform business: The companies will collaborate to build IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions—a new class of “made-for-business apps” targeting specific industry issues or opportunities in retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others, that will become available starting this fall and into 2015.

- Mobile platform: The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver the services required for an end-to-end enterprise capability, from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration. Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalog, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In addition to on-premise software solutions, all these services will be available on Bluemix—IBM’s development platform on the IBM Cloud Marketplace.

- Mobile service and support: AppleCare for Enterprise 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.

- Packaged service offerings: IBM is introducing IBM MobileFirst Supply and Management for device supply, activation and management services for iPhone and iPad, with leasing options.

Announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June and available later this year, Apple’s iOS 8 is the biggest release since the launch of the App Store℠, giving users incredible new features and developers the tools to create amazing new apps. For enterprise, iOS 8 builds on the new IT model for a mobilized workforce by improving the way users are informed of how their devices are configured, managed or restricted, with expanded security, management and productivity features.

Apple designs Macs, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

IBM’s 5,000 mobile experts have been at the forefront of mobile enterprise innovation. IBM has secured more than 4,300 patents in mobile, social and security, that have been incorporated into IBM MobileFirst solutions that enable enterprise clients to radically streamline and accelerate mobile adoption, help organizations engage more people and capture new markets.

IBM has made a dozen acquisitions in security in the past decade, has more than 6,000 security researchers and developers in its 25 security labs worldwide that work on developing enterprise-class solutions.

IBM has also established the world’s deepest portfolio in Big Data and Analytics consulting and technology expertise based on experiences drawn from more than 40,000 data and analytics client engagements. This analytics portfolio spans research and development, solutions, software and hardware, and includes more than 15,000 analytics consultants, 4,000 analytics patents, 6,000 industry solution business partners, and 400 IBM mathematicians who are helping clients use big data to transform their organizations.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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