IBM and Apple – Not So Strange Bedfellows, New Types of Purchases to Optimize This Fall

By Kim Addington

COO, NPI

July 16, 2014

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On July 15, Apple and IBM announced an exclusive collaboration to bring IBM big data and analytics capabilities to the iPhone and iPad in the form of (initially) 100 industry-specific applications that will start to roll out this Fall.

If they pull it off right, this is a pretty exciting marriage – not only because it leverages both companies’ strengths, but also because it (smartly) focuses on the EXPLODING market for enterprise mobility.

IBM will now sell iPhones and iPads to enterprise customers. This, along with the new apps, means there are new types of IBM hardware and software purchases to be optimized starting in Q4. A lot of the classic best practices will likely apply – but we won’t really know for sure until we see the licensing for the apps themselves, and how that licensing intersects with the underlying business analytics data sources.

If these apps are really great, the potential volumes of licenses required could be huge. And for enterprises that don’t already have IBM data analytics applications, irresistible mobile apps will be a Trojan horse that gets enterprises to buy IBM’s big data solutions and install them (can you say “IBM professional services”?).

This is exciting news – I’m looking forward to seeing what Apple and IBM come up with together. We have just scratched the surface of mobility, and we’ll all get to watch this transformation happen together. The Apple press release states:

“The landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change—grounded in four core capabilities:

  • a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  • unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • new AppleCare® service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and
  • new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.
  • While they didn’t give many details about the applications that are under development, industry-specificity will be very cool, and help to spark early adoption.

    IBM is well-positioned to make big contributions to addressing enterprise data security concerns (though I’ll bet that the initial apps will steer clear of the most security-intensive data sets in order to drive early adoption and get this steam roller going).

    One company that isn’t thrilled about this news is Microsoft, which is likely mobilizing against this frontal attack on Windows – their counterpunch will also be interesting to watch.

    If you want to get up to speed quickly, here are a few useful links. They will be outdated quickly as more details emerge, but they gives you a good understanding of what was announced, and early reactions to the news.

    Here’s the Apple press release:
    http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2014/07/15Apple-and-IBM-Forge-Global-Partnership-to-Transform-Enterprise-Mobility.html

    Here’s the IBM press release:
    http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/44370.wss

    Here’s the New York Times’ first-blush take on the news:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/technology/apple-and-ibm-in-broad-software-deal-for-businesses.html?_r=0

    And here is what Re/Code has to say on Day 1:
    http://recode.net/2014/07/15/apple-and-ibm-team-up-to-push-ios-in-the-enterprise/