Apple today announced a strategic partnership with IBM, that will see IBM help sell the iPhone and iPad to its business clients and that will see the enterprise giant transfer over 150 of their enterprise and IT apps and tools to Apple platforms natively.
The deal will bring “more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions” to Apple’s mobile devices, along with IBM’s suite of cloud services such as “device management, security, analytics and mobile integration.” Apple will also offer enterprise-tailored AppleCare plans, and IBM will bundle packages that include “device activation, supply and management.”
In an interview with CNBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty both told the network that Apple and IBM are like “puzzle pieces” that fit perfectly together.
“We knew that we needed to have a partner that deeply understood each of the verticals,” Cook told CNBC. “That had scale, that had a lot of dirt under their fingernails so to speak from really understanding each of these verticals and we found a kindred spirit in IBM.”
While the new partnership makes perfect business sense, it still feels odd for the companies to work together. Decades ago, the two were fierce competitors, though they’ve since gone their separate ways as Apple focused on consumer technology and IBM burrowed deeper into the enterprise.
Apple has made headway on its own in the enterprise, thanks in large part to the iPad, the iPhone and the trend of bring-your-own-devices that we’ve seen arise over the last few years in workforces around the world. And while it has made efforts to highlight the advantages of its platform for business user, this is a very different thing, and involves a huge, targeted effort to sell through to enterprise users of all stripes.