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Apple, IBM gun for BlackBerry’s market in new alliance

Big Data & AnalyticsMobilitySoftware

BlackBerry is barely getting its bearings back, but now Apple Inc. and IBM Corp. have forged a global alliance that will see both develop business-focused mobile apps that threaten to eat into the Canadian company’s business.

In a statement yesterday, Apple and IBM announced “an exclusive partnership” that will bring IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad.”

“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,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “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 partnership could help the two companies make inroads into BlackBerry’s traditional market –  security-conscious organizations and government departments that purchase BlackBerrys handsets in bulk.  

Following the announcement, BlackBerry shares, which were up 0.7 per cent yesterday morning , fell about 4 per cent in a few hours.

Meanwhile, Apple was up nearly 2 per cent in after-hours trading yesterday at $97.00 a share, IBM shares were up almost two per cent above $192.30 a share.

At least one analyst said the deal could hurt BlackBerry.

The partnership could signal the end for BlackBerry, Carolina Milanesi, analyst for Kantor Worldpanel said in an interview with technology publication PCWorld.com. With IBM’s help, Apple will finally get a grip the business market with a sales and support team that is focused on the enteprise, she said.

But Charles King, industry analyst for Pund-IT said it’s still early to tell if this would deal the death blow to BlackBerry. He pointed out that a lot of other companies have already developed enterprise-focused mobile apps.

However, he thinks Microsoft’s Windows Phone may suffer from some adverse effects of the Apple-IBM alliance.

He said the users that Apple and IBM will be going after are those that Microsoft has been targeting with its Windows Phone.

The partnership will address key industry mobility challenges and bring about:

  • A new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad
  • A 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
  •  New packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

“Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions,” said Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM . “This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services.”

The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions.

The partnership will leverage IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities and Apple’s onsumer experience, hardware and software integration and developer platform.

“The combination will create apps that can transform specific aspects of how businesses and employees work using iPhone and iPad, allowing companies to achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction—faster and easier than ever before,” the statement said.

As part of the exclusive IBM MobileFirst for iOS agreement, IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide.

Specifically, the two companies are working together to deliver the essential elements of enterprise mobile solutions.

  • 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, healthcare, 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