IBM, Apple, and the Next Level of Enterprise Mobility

The enterprise world and the mobility world have been frenemies (a portmanteau of friends and enemies) for decades since mobility made maddeningly moving targets of enterprise data management, application deployment, and especially security. The frenemy frenzy reached a fever pitch in recent years when smartphones and tablets began challenging the laptop computer as the dominant mobile device, and cloud computing and the mobile-app-portal-to-the-cloud deployment model rose to prominence on the wings of widespread availability of high-speed wireless connectivity options.

The recently announced IBM and Apple partnership means the enterprise and mobility worlds are colliding—in a good way.

IBM and Apple, which have historically been more enemies than frenemies over the years (especially 1984), have strengths and weaknesses that complement each other nicely to form a more complete approach to enterprise mobility. As Alex Bakker blogged, “Apple already has significant inroads in the Fortune 500, but does not want to directly service the enterprise market. IBM is a services organization, and sees iOS as the most mature, enterprise-ready mobile platform to build services around.”

As Dan Kusnetzky blogged, “Apple is known for not having strong enterprise chops. Its offerings are considered weak in the areas of enterprise management, security and the company doesn’t have a strong enterprise application and services ecosystem.” Whereas their new partner IBM “has extremely strong enterprise chops and is increasingly known for its efforts in cloud computing, big data and analytics, and developing the tools and frameworks for enterprise class mobility solutions. It is not known for having its own portfolio of enterprise applications. It is known for having a strong ecosystem that includes just about every major enterprise application and tools supplier.”

“The deal makes sense on many fronts,” Larry Dignan blogged. “First, industry-specific apps will lock down Apple’s iOS market share in the enterprise. Apple’s iOS market share vs. Android in the enterprise is the inverse of the consumer space. IBM gets to package iOS apps, embed its analytics tools, and then use its services and channel to sprinkle the apps into corporations. Another win-win: Apple gets a key enterprise partner without having to exclusively build and market to corporations. IBM gets Apple’s cool factor.”

“IBM and Apple,” Kusnetzky concluded, “have agreed to come together to throw an enterprise mobility and cloud computing party. All of their friends are, of course, invited to attend. Apple is bringing its endpoint hardware, software, cloud computing tools and strong ecosystem. IBM is bringing its enterprise mojo, servers, security products and management tools. While there is much to be done, it is clear that both Apple and IBM are focusing their resources to making mobility solutions a part of the IT infrastructure for companies of all sizes.”

Describing it as the next level of enterprise mobility, IBM and Apple are joining forces to bring businesses of all sizes the devices, services, security, and integration they need to exploit the full potential of mobility.


This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.


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