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Summary:

“Landmark” collaboration announced by IBM and Apple will combine IBM’s enterprise know-how with Apple’s glitzy consumer devices.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Apple CEO Tim Cook taking a casual stroll.
photo: IBM

Ah, remember the good old days, when IBM forbade its own employees from using Siri or other non-enterprise software and devices for fear of data leakage or theft?  So much for that.

Now, IBM and Apple will collaborate on selling iPads and iPhones into enterprise accounts and developing business applications for iOS. Presumably this means that IBM has loosened up its restrictions on Apple device use by its own employees.

As of two years ago, IBM armed its employees with Blackberries and actually disabled access to Siri and consumer-oriented file storage and share services including Apple iCloud and Dropbox for IBMers who insisted on using iOS devices. Presumably those are the very sorts of IT concerns that this deal will alleviate.

In what played out as mutual admiration session over at Re/code, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty described Apple as “the gold standard for consumers.”

Since selling off its PC division to Lenovo ten years ago, IBM has not been a force in that market. Conversely,  Apple has relied on consumers to bring its iPhones and iPads into the enterprise through the back door — those devices were initially unsanctioned and unwelcomed by IT departments. C-level execs led the charge that forced IT to change those policies, in what became known as the bring-your-own-device movement.

“If you were building a puzzle [these two companies] would fit nicely together with no overlap,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told Re/code. “We do not compete on anything. And when you do that you end up with something better than either of you could produce yourself.”

If this “landmark” collaboration bears fruit — and many such alliances do not — it will be a boon for both companies. Apple gets a new IBM enterprise sales force and 100 new iOS applications for business. And IBM, which has touted a “mobile first” mantra for a few years now, can bask in the reflected glow of Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices. And both companies can take aim at mutual competitors Google with its Android alliance and Microsoft, which is trying to position Windows Phone as an enterprise-friendly mobile option.

  1. Steve Ardire Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Hi Barb – I just tweeted so perhaps 27 years later Apple Knowledge Navigator concept https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umJsITGzXd0 will be powered by @IBMWatson #ensw

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    1. ha now that is digging DEEP into the archives. thanks for the link.

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  2. It depends on this… Siri (cough, Watson) which of these tender proposals should I go with?

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  3. I’m pretty sure that the ban on “data leakage”-causing tools and apps like Siri, Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Translate will remain firm.

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  4. Managing iOS devices with Mobile Device Management platforms for firms is a huge headache.

    As long as there is no way to prevent an Apple iOS user who owns the iPhone or iPad from being an administrator of their device this Apple push to the enterprise will never work.

    Apple has no real corporate AppleID program that allows firms to manage multiple iOS devices under a single AppleID account.

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  5. What a brilliant move by IBM CEO Rometty.

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    1. why brilliant? i really would love to hear

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