IBM and Apple Partner for a Dynamic Mobile Duo

By John Arkontaky
On Jul 16, 2014
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

If anybody maintains that enterprise mobility isn’t a game changer, look no further than yesterday’s announcement that Apple and IBM are partnering to bolster their mobile offerings. Once competitors, the two companies will work together to increase IBM’s mobile app presence and deepen iOS’s enterprise penetration and support presence. 

Thanks to avid popularity of the iPhone, iOS devices have had no trouble find their way into the workplace via bring your own device (BYOD). Already, iOS is the most widely supported mobile platform, sitting comfortably at 87% adoption across verticals. With yesterday’s announcement that IBM and Apple are partnering on the mobile front, Apple adds a new and rather sharp arrow to its quiver. In a twist of fate IBM will sell iOS devices to its business customers and offer support to all Apple devices, including iOS and Mac OS X. 

IBM and Apple plan to launch a series of enterprise apps for iOS (it’s unclear if these apps will be published by IBM or Apple at this point). But, these apps will leverage IBM tools such as its device management, security, big data, and cloud systems and infrastructure. Approximately 100 apps will launch, with some coming with Apple’s iOS 8 launch this fall. These apps will be purpose-built for individual verticals, with reports indicating retail, healthcare, banking, travel, telecommunications and insurance sitting in the crosshairs. 

Thanks to BYOD iOS jabbed its way into business. IBM’s on-site presence and channel distribution capabilities give Apple a strong right cross and uppercut to complement Apple’s own punching power. IBM, whom acquired Fiberlink to fill out its enterprise mobility management (EMM) portfolio last year, gets a backstage pass to Apple’s app development resources, which bodes well for IBM. Currently, 47% of companies are buying enterprise apps off the shelf or buying SaaS app licenses. By the end of 2015 this number will grow to 59%. Apps define the mobile experience, and IBM wants to be in on the ground floor of the world’s best mobile app store as Apple grows its presence in the enterprise. 

The mobile race continues between Apple and Google. With Google planning to launch a Knox-like solution for Android, Google Drive for Work and Google’s recent Divide acquisition, Android has pieces on the board but it’s unclear how it’s all coming together or when. We expect Android to beef up its enterprise offerings and Google always has a puncher’s chance, but with Apple’s iOS 7 and iOS 8 improvements, Volume Purchasing Program (VPP), and Apple’s partnership with IBM, it looks like Apple is poised to remain device of preference for enterprise mobility.

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