Apple, IBM Strike Deal to Go After Mobile Enterprise Market

Tech Giants Will Develop Suite of Apps for Business Use

By Published on .

Apple and IBM, once foes in the personal-computer market, announced on Tuesday that they are working together on the next wave of technology for mobile devices that taps into large pools of corporate data. The deal is expected to make Apple an even more serious player in the enterprise market.

The companies will develop more than 100 applications tailored for business use on the iPhone and iPad. Apple will provide its devices and operating-system expertise, while IBM will lend its muscle in cloud computing and security.

The partnership also merges one of the leading consumer technology brands with one known for its sizable enterprise business, a union that could accelerate similars offerings and marketing from competitors like Google, according to analysts.

"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," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. "This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver."

For its part, IBM gets a premier partner to advance its bet on mobile. IBM introduced its software initiative MobileFirst in 2013. (It subsequently pumped in $1 billion for app developers to work on Watson, its cognitive computing technology.)

Under the agreement, IBM will sell to its enterprise clients Apple's smartphones and tablets installed with the newly devised apps, called MobileFirst for iOS. Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, called Apple the "gold standard for consumers" in an interview with Re/code.

Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester Research, described the deal as a "landmark agreement" that will prompt Apple's largest technology competitors into action.

"Given IBM's market strength and coverage, this partnership gives Apple enterprise capabilities and credibility at one stroke -- and gives IBM a premium advantage in the race for mobile enterprise leadership," he said in a statement. "Look for Google and leading enterprise suppliers to seek partnerships that offer a credible alternative."

In 2013, IBM spent $451.6 million in U.S. advertising, according to the Ad Age DataCenter; Apple spent $718.6 million.

Most Popular