“Welcome IBM. Seriously” Blared the headline in full page ads paid for by Apple “welcoming” IBM to the personal computer industry. The ad copy was in fact tongue-in-cheek. Apple’s real meaning was to tweak IBM for introducing the IBM PC years after the first Apple II and to remind readers that Apple was the more established, experienced and by inference, more trustworthy supplier.
Fast forward several decades from the launch of the IBM PC in 1981 and the computing landscape is dominated by mobile devices that were hardly imagined back in the day.
And now, with this weeks’ big news, it’s IBM welcoming Apple to the enterprise (for real) thanks to an alliance that will see Big Blue develop over a hundred enterprise apps for the iPad and iPhone in specific vertical markets such as retail, healthcare and banking. IBM will also sell and lease iOS devices to its corporate customers and Apple will offer an enterprise version of its AppleCare support services.
While the partnership is about mobile, analyst Jack Gold says the iPad is key to the deal – more so than the iPhone.
“If you look at the apps IBM is focused on they’re more suited to big screen than small screen devices. It’s about being able to do things like using ERP data to be able to make a better sale to my clients. These kind of apps will be more useful on a bigger screen,” Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates, said in an interview with TabTimes.
He also notes that enterprises are more likely to pay for tablet apps which have a better perceived value from an enterprise perspective.
In fact, most analysts responded positively to the announcement, declaring it the proverbial ‘win-win’ for both companies.
“Apple gets IBM to endorse its products in the enterprise to make sure they play nice with back end systems,” says Gold. “Co-selling the solutions helps both companies expand their markets. Apple gains a co-selling opportunity, but more importantly IBM to back them up in support services for the enterprise, an area Apple is weak in.”
The news is also an admission by Apple that it doesn’t have the resources or perhaps more accurately an interest in providing the kind of comprehensive support enterprise customers are used to from the likes of IBM, HP and Dell.
Despite that, enterprise customers have been banging on Apple’s door asking for more. Ironically, Microsoft further validated the iPad’s enterprise worthiness when it finally released iPad versions of Office apps earlier this.
Welcome to the enterprise Apple. Seriously.