Apple and IBM Set Aside Three Decade Rivalry — Will Work Together on Business Apps

CNBC’s Josh Lipton spoke with Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief, and his counterpart at IBM, Virginia M. Rometty about the new partnership between the two companies. (Credit: Paul Sakuma/Feature Photo Service for IBM)
CNBC’s Josh Lipton spoke with Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief, and his counterpart at IBM, Virginia M. Rometty about the new partnership between the two companies. (Credit: Paul Sakuma/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Apple and International Business Machines will work together to create business software for iPhone and iPad users, setting aside a three-decade-old rivalry to cater to an increasingly mobile workforce.

IBM’s staff will sell Apple devices to its business customers, and the two companies will work together to develop applications tailored to work with IBM’s data analytics and cloud services, the companies said Tuesday. Apple also will offer customer-service support for the apps.

The partnership helps Apple pursue a bigger slice of the market for corporate users of smartphones and tablets. Working with its erstwhile foe also may help IBM chase other technology giants — including Apple — that have done a better job seizing on the mobile-computing boom.

With the deal, Apple gains a large sales force that will push its mobile devices to companies, while IBM, whose sales have been stagnating, adds the cachet of being partners with one of the best-known and most popular consumer-electronics brands.

“We really recognized almost simultaneously that we could be uniquely helpful to one another’s strategy and that there was literally no overlap,” Bridget Van Kralingen, IBM’s senior vice president of global business services, said in an interview. “It’s moved incredibly quickly and smoothly.”

The partnership, which was six months in the making, will offer services geared at security, mobile device management and big data and analytics. More than 100 apps targeting industry-specific issues in retail, health care, banking, travel, transportation and telecommunications will be released, IBM said.

SOURCE: Bloomberg News

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