Apple and IBM Team Up To Target Enterprise Customers

7-22-2013 11-02-58 PM

Apple and IBM have announced a partnership that will bring the tech giants’ once cold relationship full circle in an effort to compete with Microsoft and Google for enterprise business customers. The deal was announced on Tuesday of this week, and spells out the details of what exactly the deal means for current mobile users, and what it means for enterprise IT departments that are struggling to balance network security needs with the growth in BYOD policies.

The goal of the new partnership is to bring IBM’s enterprise experience and credibility into the iOS ecosystem. The announcement promises that by combining IBM’s enterprise customer base, big data analytics capabilities, and industry specific consultant expertise with Apple’s world class user experience and hardware/software integration skills, the partnership will result in a new mobile-first enterprise platform that will deliver software solutions targeted to industry specific niches.

IBM will backend the platform with a suite of cloud-based enterprise tools, including: device management, security, analytics, and mobile integration solutions. IBM will also develop more than 100 industry specific business apps built from the ground up to draw customers to the new enterprise platform. The press release promises that within this effort, healthcare will get a suite of new mobile apps. Apple and IBM will team up to offer a new enterprise-class customer support option, which includes 24/7 assistance from Apple, and on-site support from IBM.

The announcement marks Apple’s first acknowledgement that it is ready to take the enterprise market more seriously. While Apple products have long been favorites of businesspeople, the devices have had a less than stellar reputation among IT departments because they can be difficult to integrate with existing network security systems. Apple users often go without anti-virus software due to the perception that there are no viruses in the iOS ecosystem, and there are limited options for authenticating an iOS device within a network that relies on common authentication tools like Windows Network Authentication.

Apple CEO Tim Cook explains, “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.”

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