Today, Apple and IBM announced plans for an exclusive partnership in the mobile arena. IBM will begin selling iOS devices to its corporate customers and will also develop new applications from the ground up made specifically for the iPad and iPhone. Additionally, IBM will provide cloud services optimized for the iOS, with capabilities such as device management, security, analytics and mobile integration. IBM’s first apps will be tailored towards various industries, such as retail, banking, travel, transportation, and more.
On Apple’s end, the company will now provide IT departments and end-users with Apple’s award-winning 24/7 customer service, with onsite service delivered by IBM.
According to Cook, he and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty had been discussing a potential partnership for years. They both feel that unlocking mobility in the enterprise is the best way to do this.
The press release also noted, “IBM is introducing IBM MobileFirst Supply & Management for device supply, activation and management services for iPhone and iPad.” While this sounds really cool, it may not appeal to larger enterprises if they only run off of Apple devices. While this strategy is clearly aimed at penetrating the middle-market with specialized apps, I am doubtful that it will become the industry standard. Furthermore, Apple devices are now banned from most government meetings due to their poor security features, and many corporations would rather use Blackberries over iPhones due to the better security features. It will be interesting to see what Apple and IBM, two companies with some of the deepest pockets and most expertise, can accomplish in the future now that they are working together..