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July 16, 2014

Apple, IBM Partner on Enterprise Apps for iPhone, iPad

ios7 iPhone 5s
Apple image — The iPhone 5S.

Former foes Apple and IBM are friends once again and, to prove it, the technology powerhouses have teamed up to build enterprise apps designed only for iPhones and iPads.

The new class of business apps will bring big data and analytics capabilities to Apple’s handsets, challenging longtime industry leader Microsoft’s offerings.

“The landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change—grounded in four core capabilities,” the companies said in a joint press release.

Those four capabilities are:

  • A new lot of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, fashioned exclusively for the iPhone and iPad;
  • Unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • New AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise;  and
  • New packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

As part of the new partnership, IBM will sell iPhones and iPads with the specially-designed technology to its business clients across the globe.

“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,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “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.”

The “essential elements of enterprise mobile solutions” which will be delivered to customers, according to the two companies, are:

Mobile solutions that transform business: The companies will collaborate to build IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions—a new class of “made-for-business apps” targeting specific industry issues or opportunities in retail, health-care, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others, that will become available starting this fall and into 2015.

Mobile platform: The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver the services required for an end-to-end enterprise capability, from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration. Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalog, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In addition to on-premise software solutions, all these services will be available on Bluemix—IBM’s development platform on the IBM Cloud Marketplace.

Mobile service and support: AppleCare for Enterprise will provide IT departments and end users with 24/7 assistance from Apple’s award-winning customer support group, with on-site service delivered by IBM.

Packaged service offerings: IBM is introducing IBM MobileFirst Supply and Management for device supply, activation and management services for iPhone and iPad, with leasing options.