Apple and IBM team up on 'historic' enterprise push

The two companies are focusing on mobile solutions for business

Apple and IBM on Tuesday unveiled an "exclusive partnership" that will meld IBM's big data and analytics capabilities with Apple's iPhone and iPad.

The partnership "aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change," according to a joint statement from the two companies.

In an interview with CNBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the deal "historic."

"It's huge, it's landmark," Cook said. "This is all about transforming the enterprise. We are just thrilled."

Cook said teams of employees from Apple and IBM have been working on the partnership for two years.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO, said the move would mean "growth for both our companies...and this idea...of remaking business and reenvisioning and reimagining professions. This is all about unlocking mobility in the enterprise."

She also said the pact will allow the two companies to tackle security issues in the workplace.

The joint statement offered more detail, saying the partnership will provide:

  • More than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  • IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • New AppleCare service and support tailored for the enterprise;
  • New "packaged offerings" from IBM for mobile device activation, supply and management.

The IBM MobileFirst for iOS agreement also calls for IBM to sell iPhones and iPads "with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide," according to the statement.

"iPhone and iPad ... have transformed the way people work with over 98% of the Fortune 500 and over 92% of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today," said Cook in the joint statement. "For the first time ever, were putting IBMs 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."

"This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing ... innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBMs leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services," said Rometty in the statement. "We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but cant imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform."

Cook told CNBC: "We knew that we needed to have a partner that deeply understood all of the different industry verticals, that had scale. That had a lot of dirt under their fingernails, so to speak, from understanding these verticals.

"We found a kindred spirit in IBM" he said. "...We fit together like a puzzle."

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