Does Apple’s deal with IBM signal ‘the end of desktop?’

macintosh-bye

Does the iOS-centric IBM-Apple deal equal the end of the road for desktops? Absolutely it does, if you believe Bob Tinker, CEO of the newly-public company MobileIron.

Discussing the recent alliance between the two tech giants during his company’s first earnings call, Tinker pointed to the IBM-Apple deal as something of a signal moment for mobile. “I think of it as a positive that IBM’s committed to building mobile apps for enterprises, switching away from Windows to mobile platforms,” he noted.

“This signals the end of the desktop era. IBM once made a deal with Microsoft in the late 1980s that ushered in the era of the desktop, and now they’re ending it with Apple.”

To Tinker, the deal shows why people should show continued faith in the mobile sector: since if two companies the stature of Apple and IBM are fully embracing it, every other would-be wavemaker in tech should be doing the same thing.

MobileIron, it should be noted, isn’t an entirely objective party in all of this, since its business is based around helping companies embrace mobile solutions as their primary IT platform. Tinker does have a point, however: mobile is rapidly changing the face of enterprise across the board.

Certainly the deal is big news for both Apple and IBM, with Tim Cook describing the landmark collaboration as fitting “like a puzzle.”

But how does Tinker reconcile that against the continued success of the Mac, having grown 18 percent year-over-year, and having actually gained world market share 32 out of the past 33 business quarters?

While Apple is certainly dominating enterprise with a reported 8 out of every 10 mobile devices (according to a 2013 study) being iOS, it may be a little too early to count out desktops just yet.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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