Computer Business Review

Apple and IBM unite to catapult iPhones at businesses

by Ben Sullivan| 16 July 2014

Apple calls on IBM sales muscle to flog iDevices to the pros.

Apple and IBM have struck a milestone deal, joining forces to promote Apple's products to more businesses.

The deal opens the door for Apple to IBM's sales machine, which will promote the use of iPhones and iPads (and possibly very soon iWatches) in industries such as health care and banking.

Device manufacturers are currently all flocking to the business market, filling voids such as those left by the demise of BlackBerry.

Never before has the business world been a prime target for Apple's consumer-led devices, but with strong competition cropping up from Samsung and with Microsoft's Windows Phones set to start nibbling at Apple's mobile heels, the firm is ramping up efforts to get into the office with its portable devices.

Apple said: "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."

CEO Tim Cook said: "iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98% of the Fortune 500 and over 92% of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today.

"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."

Apple's infamous '1984' TV ad compared IBM's computers to Orwell's Big Brother regime, and were once rivals in the early PC days. However, Cook was employed by IBM for over ten years before joining Apple, and the move puts IBM back in the business of selling consumer devices, something that it's not done since the Lenovo sale in 2005.

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