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The Business Impact of the IBM-Apple Deal

The Business Impact of the IBM-Apple Deal
By Barry Levine

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If the IBM-Apple alliance is particularly successful, it could give Apple a real boost in enterprise business market. Some speculate a tremendous change in the attitude of IT departments regarding Apple, now that enterprise-savvy IBM is in the mix. And even if the IBM-Apple deal is only modestly successful, it could further erode others' market-share.

How will the IBM-Apple deal announced Wednesday affect business users? There are indications that the deal between the tech titans could have a significant impact in a variety of areas.

In an arrangement that may well have Apple co-founder Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave, the former arch-enemies will be working together to promote and distribute their respective services and products to businesses. Jobs, of course, was the force behind the single most famous TV ad in history, the stirring 1984 commercial that launched the Macintosh and positioned IBM as the evil Big Brother.

But Jobs, in fact, had worked with IBM, including using and championing Big Blue's PowerPC chips as a counterweight against Intel processors and the Microsoft/Intel alliance.

100 Apps

The new deal includes the development by IBM of more than 100 iOS industry-specific apps as well as unique IBM cloud services that are optimized for iOS. These include services for device management, security, analytics, and mobile integration. There will also be new AppleCare service and support designed for the enterprise, and new packaged products from IBM for device activation, supply, and management.

One impact for businesses could be less hesitancy to approve and/or support iOS devices, either as company-purchased or BYOD phones and tablets. It could mean a sea change in the attitude of IT departments regarding Apple, now that enterprise-savvy IBM is in the mix. On the mobile front, Android-based devices have been making advances into businesses, but the platform's fragmentation and security concerns continue to be issues.

There is also speculation that the partnership will mean a new era for the respective companies' well-known "computer selves" -- IBM's supercomputer Watson and Apple's personal voice-command assistant Siri. This could lead to a boon in business use of IBM's backend via Apple's voice agent, since IBM is already developing Watson-based services for healthcare and financial services.

Microsoft, Big Data

If the alliance is particularly successful, it could further erode Microsoft's relationship with businesses, a relationship that has gotten shakier as more businesses have been skittish to upgrade to Windows 8 and, before that, to Vista. Even if it's only modestly successful, it could also damage or destroy BlackBerry's attempt to restore its foothold in the enterprise.

Some optimists are speculating the alliance will mean that more enterprise apps will become as easy to use as those famous interfaces that Apple delivers. Apple CEO Tim Cook has even said as much to news media.

Another impacted area could be in big data. Although big data vendors are increasingly marketing their wares as being usable by non-data scientists, such products are often still overly complex to integrate, use, and understand. Marketers, in particular, are being inundated by the need to integrate big data into their decision-making, and now Apple and IBM are raising the possibility that such insights might be available through easy-to-use iPhones and iPads.

Tell Us What You Think



Posted: 2014-07-18 @ 6:50am PT
I think the partnership is going to turn mobile on its head. Looking forward to seeing what happens from it.

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