IBM to promote Apple iOS for business

Do you use a mobile device on the job? According to our salary survey published last August, more than half of you did, and the iPhone was the most common platform, followed by an Android phone. To give you a sneak preview of our 2014 survey, to be published next month, the iPhone and Android have switched places.

However, IBM and Apple are now cooperating to propel the iPhone and iPad to the forefront in the business world. “IBM and Apple are joining forces to bring businesses the devices, services, security, and integration they need to exploit the full potential of mobility,” reports IBM.

Engineers at both Apple and IBM are “working on more than 100 end-to-end mobile solutions, including a new category of mobile apps, that are ready for the enterprise.” Each solution will offer “cloud software services for analytics, data security, and device management native to iOS.”

Warwick Business School Professor of Practice Mark Skilton, who researches the IT industry, said in an email message, “The challenge for IBM and Apple will be in the marriage of two masters, one in consumer mobile and one in enterprise systems….” The question, he said, is can they coexist to seamlessly work for customers?

He noted that, having divested its PC business, IBM has strengths in enterprise data and cloud services but lacks a mobile platform. Conversely, he said, Apple has a “mobile device and app market but, but lacks the industrial enterprise business model for large-scale enterprise solutions.”

IBM could have aligned with Google and the Android platform, Professor Skilton further noted, but that alliance would have been strategically difficult, because “… Google has cloud and enterprise apps services that could have taken data traffic away from IBM’s cloud data centers.” He also said, “This partnership could mean trouble for Microsoft with its Azure and Nokia strategy. While attempting to play in both mobile and cloud camps, Microsoft may not be able to be master of both in consumer and enterprise markets.”

Professor Skilton concluded, “The big game is in what some describe as SMAC—social, mobile, analytics, and cloud—plus the Internet of things. The big opportunity and challenge is in connectivity between mobile devices, cloud computing, and the data drivers of social media and analytics through this mobile infrastructure over the internet.”

In a statement released yesterday, Apple 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.”

“Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries, and professions,” added Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president, and CEO. “This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software, and services. We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate, and companies perform.”

The Wall Street Journal reminded its readers that Apple and IBM were fierce competitors during the early PC wars. However, the Journal yesterday quoted Cook as saying, “In '84, we were competitors. In 2014, I don't think you can find two more complementary companies.”

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