Apple and IBM buddy up for enterprise push

iPads and iPhones could become more common in the enterprise, thanks to a deal between IBM and Apple.

The one-time rivals have teamed up to sell Apple devices in bulk to big businesses.

The partnership allows the two companies to take advantage of each others’ strengths, with Apple using IBM’s presence in the enterprise, and Big Blue trading on Apple’s reputation as a maker of fashionable mobile devices.

Apple devices sold through the partnership, dubbed IBM MobileFirst for iOS, will be preloaded with a selection of more than 100 IBM-developed, industry-specific apps.

IBM will also offer “unique” cloud services for iPads and iPhones, including device management, security and analytics.

Support and delivery will be split between the two companies. IBM will provide on-the-ground assistance for device activation, supply and management.

Apple, meanwhile, will provide a dedicated AppleCare service for big business that will offer remote hardware support.

Unthinkable pairing

While today’s partnership may seem like an unremarkable business strategy, at one time it would have been unthinkable. During the mid-1980s, IBM and Apple were deadly rivals competing for the emerging PC market.

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC that the companies have “come from 30 years ago being competitors to today being incredibly complementary”.

“The reality is that the penetration of these businesses, and in commercial in general for mobility, is still low,” Cook said.

However, he believes there’s “a huge opportunity” for iOS devices in the enterprise space.

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