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Apple and IBM team up for Enterprise Mobility: To re-imagine how work is done

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Several media outlets reported today that Apple and IBM have announced plans for an exclusive 'landmark' partnership.

'What a difference 30 years can make' - San Jose Mercury News. Former fierce rivals have announced a partnership Tuesday that will push Apple's popular mobile devices into the hands of Big Blue's corporate customers with IBM's infrastructure and software expertise on board.

PCMag reported that the deal will include industry-specific enterprise solutions such as, native apps developed exclusively for iPhone and iPad; IBM cloud services optimized for iOS; AppleCare tailored for enterprise customers; and Apple devices directly from IBM. In other words, Apple will allow IBM software on its phones, and IBM will sell iOS devices to business clients.

"iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "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. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver."

"We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can't imagine living without," Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President, and CEO. "Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform."

The New York Times added that the two companies top executives described this as a major initiative intended to bring advanced mobile and data-analysis technology more broadly into the corporate world.

“We’ve already seen some unbelievable work,” Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said in an interview conducted along with Virginia M. Rometty, IBM’s chief executive. Mr. Cook described the venture with IBM as “a landmark partnership” for both companies. Ms. Rometty said the companies planned to combine data analysis, cloud and mobile technology to Apple’s smartphones and tablets, turning the devices into decision-making tools rather than ones used mainly for email, text-messaging and contacts. The long-term goal is to use the technology to “re-imagine how work is done.”

Apple’s iPhones and iPads are used by over 92 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies, Mr. Cook said. But there is still a vast untapped market for Apple, he said, by selling more Apple products into large companies and reaching the wider corporate market. “The penetration is low and the ceiling is so far above us, it’s unbelievable,” Mr. Cook said.

Macworld added that the two companies are also teaming up on support. AppleCare will operate for Enterprise serving IT departments and end users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On-site service will be provided by IBM and Big blue will sell complete solutions that package iPhones and iPads devices along with setup and management.

“This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services,” said IBM CEO, President, and Chairman Ginni Rometty in the company’s combined statement.

The joint Apple-IBM "made for business" apps are expected to be released this fall and into 2015. They will target specific industries, like retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, and more.

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