Apple and IBM this week announced that they’ll be working together to design iPhones and iPads for their business consumers. The mobile devices will have over 100 industry-specific apps, giving Apple a rather stronger path into the rewarding enterprise space that’s traditionally been made for Windows PCs. The phones and tablets will be part of a new joint venture – IBM MobileFirst for iOS.
Both Apple and IBM will provide the apps along with services that tap into IBM’s cloud capability, including device management, security, analytics, and mobile integration. The apps will target the healthcare, travel, retail, banking, transportation, telecommunications, and insurance industries. According to IBM, there will also be new service offerings from IBM for device activation and management.
As well, IBM will sell iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide. Apple will add a new tier of AppleCare service and support geared for the enterprise, apparently adding on to the “Alliance” support tier already in place.
What does the future hold for these two IT giants?
While many critics are wonder if there is much scope left for Apple to expand their customer base, that isn’t really the point of this partnership. According to the Business Insider “It’s not just about pushing Apple’s products onto businesses that don’t yet have them.” As it stands IBM already has a large number of corporate clients using their services hence this alliance ensures that Apple can get their products into those companies step by step, without imposing a huge IT disturbance. This venture is a huge opportunity for both IBM and Apple to develop their software and increase their ROI and widen their product reaches.
What are the implications this partnership will have on the digital marketing world?
For IBM, the biggest gain is in going all out on the solution that large IT companies were already taking advantage of; to serve their mobile needs. Of the Fortune 500, 490 are currently using iOS for their business. 92% of the Global 500 are making use of iOS devices. Building a better enterprise mobile solution on iOS devices will clearly put IBM at a distinct advantage over its competition.
Apple stands to gain two things. First, this puts Apple at an advantage over Google’s Android and other mobile operating systems as an enterprise solution for big monopoly companies. IBM is an undisputed leader in enterprise analytics, cloud, software, and services — the best friend Apple could have in its efforts to build enterprise solutions. Together, the two companies will be able to offer a more complete solution than competing mobile operating systems. Second, Apple has just entered into key distribution for its iPhone and iPads; the IT giant’s two biggest ventures.
The one left with the short end of the stick in this scenario is Microsoft. Unlike Apple, they were never shy about their ambition to be “The standard for businesses” with Windows 8 and their own push into cloud and mobile services for corporate consumers. In the wake of Tuesday’s news, what will Microsoft, or for that matter, team Android do now? We’ll just have to wait and see.
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