Apple struck up a partnership with IBM a little more than a year ago. The partnership, “IBM MobileFirst for iOS” centers around Apple and IBM creating more than 100 vertical-focused enterprise apps built only for the iPhone and iPad. The verticals targeted by IBM for this initiative have been retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, insurance and telecommunications.
The partnership uses IBM’s Fiberlink MaaS360 for mobile device management (MDM) and Apple is standardizing on IBM’s big data applications and analytics. Additionally, IBM sells industry-focused iPhones and iPads as a bundle. Private application and productivity suites are available to IBM customers, and services are available on IBM’s Bluemix development platform.
On the heels of that deal, Apple announced on August 31st a partnership with Cisco. The partnership is aimed at integrating iOS devices and applications with Cisco’s networking products. A key component is making iOS devices work more seamlessly with cloud, mobile, and premises-based collaboration tools such as Cisco Spark, Telepresence and WebEx.
On top of this Apple is building a coalition of at least 40 technology companies with a similar partnership goal.
What it appears is IBM is targeting larger corporations, while many of the 40 technology partners in the “mobility partner program” will target small-and-medium-sized businesses.
The opinion of some is that Apple is attempting to bring the passion of their consumer products into the workplace.
Will the strategy be a huge success for Apple? Only time will tell. It is my opinion that the iPad is much more a “consumption” device than a “production” device. The last two or three years when tablets really took off, there was the common comment made by pundits that it was “the end of the PC”. As we can all see, that did not happen. I believe the reason that did not happen is that the tablet also is more of a “consumption” device than a “production” device. When it comes to producing content, be it CAD, technical manuals, data processing etc. people in general (at least up until the millennial generation) are more comfortable with the power of a PC with a physical keyboard and mouse. There is evidence that the iPad is being trialed in the business world. Just go to your local Chili’s restaurant and you will see them on the table with interactive commercials and a menu. Again, that is in a consumption role and it is a perfect fit.