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After 30 years, Apple and IBM partners up for the enterprise market

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Putting 30 years and a past failed relationship behind them, Apple and IBM just announced a new exclusive partnership, aimed at capitalizing on the strengths of both former rivals.

The plan is draw upon both companies and brands, including outfitting the popular iPhone and iPad with specially designed, industry-specific business apps by IBM, which will then also sell the iPads and iPhones to corporate clients. If the news sounds all too familiar to industry watchers, that is because it is. Apple and IBM have tried to join forces together before, and failed.

Both giants in their field, the two companies were rivals back in the 1980s when Apple competed against the IBM PC. In the early 1990s, though, both tried to put the differences aside, signing on to the AIM Alliance, which also included Motorola. The goal then was for Apple and IBM to work on two joint software ventures while IBM and Motorola were supposed to work on the PowerPC chip. In the partnership, IBM was also supposed to assist by selling Apple equipment. While the partnership was not a complete loss, IBM and Motorola did work together to design a new chip, IBM and Apple eventually parted ways after a series of disagreements and delays.

Now fast forward three decades from the rocky beginning, and at the midpoint of 2014 the two mega companies are again trying to make a joint business venture succeed. The latest business partnership includes building IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions. These apps reportedly target specific opportunities in industries such as insurance, banking, healthcare and telecommunications. Apple will provide support and mobile service, with 24/7 customer support service, while IBM provides on-site service.

IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions should be available to the public starting in fall 2014, with additional releases scheduled in 2015.

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