Former adversaries Apple and IBM have struck a landmark partnership to develop more than 100 business software programs for the iPhone and iPad, the companies announced this afternoon. The deal also calls for IBM to vend Apple devices featuring these tools to its business clients across the globe.
The partnership will fuse IBM’s big data and analytics proficiencies in the corporate realm with Apple’s ubiquity and usability, the two companies said in a statement.
The move could deal a serious blow to BlackBerry, which has been struggling for years to regain control of the mobile enterprise market. It also spells trouble for Microsoft, whose CEO recently said the company needs to strengthen its role as a purveyor of "productivity" and continue to focus on opportunities in mobile, where it has lagged.
Comprising brand new native apps and cloud services within industries as varied as retail, health care, banking, travel, transportation, telecommunications and insurance, Apple and IBM's software will enable businesses to “achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction,” the companies said.
The software will debut this fall and continue to roll out through 2015.
“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,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a statement. “This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”