We have featured many news stories in the world of Apple but earlier this week a little story broke about what some have described as the strategic alliance of strategic alliances.
Think of the ultimate rivalry — in football the Bears and the Packers, in drinks Coke and Pepsi, in baseball the Yankees and the Mets and, to throw in a little nostalgia from my homeland, the soccer rivalries of north London’s Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur or, at a very personal level, my own team, Watford FC and the team 16 miles up the road whose name shan't be mentioned. They say there was never any love lost in these relationships.
I just want to add one more at this point — go back to the latter part of last century and think of Apple and IBM. These guys were at each other’s throats for many years; IBM touting the fact that no one ever got fired for sending them a purchase order and Mr Jobs and his team at Apple beating their drum and telling the world it doesn't have to be done the old way…
Well, as they say, time is a great healer and that is what has happened in the Apple/IBM relationship. Over the years the core offerings of the two businesses have grown further and further apart and they have reached the point where the two of them no longer considered each other as the arch rival. This sea change has brought them closer together and this week we’ve seen IBM and Apple announce a new partnership to deliver iOS enterprise services.
Described by Apple's Tim Cook as “a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver”, it will run under the catchy name of IBM MobileFirst For iOS Solutions. The partnership will enable IBM, using its great data analytics strength, to help develop tools for business which can be used on iPhones and iPads hence bringing the old school’s skills and experience to professional business users via the intuitive workflow found in and famed by iOS. The plan is to bring a number of new apps to market, allow iOS access to IBM cloud services and let IBM sell Apple products which are preloaded with the new enterprise services. So, that’s the winners in this situation; but who has most to lose? Well, probably, the old but now not so popular ex-king of enterprise, BlackBerry. With their recent, and not so recent, woes, there is a gap to fill in this market and it looks like IBM and Apple as a team could be the guys to do the filling.
I'm sure there will be many more announcements surrounding this partnership over the next few weeks and months and we are certainly looking forward to seeing the first of the new MobileFirst business tools and applications.