Apple-IBM deal threatens Android's enterprise push

And BlackBerry may get caught in the cross-fire

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The benefits to Apple in the Apple-IBM deal are far greater than they are to IBM.

"This is more about positioning iPads as productivity tools," said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar WorldPanel. "There is a wider opportunity for iPad, especially as Android has not made much headway in the enterprise with tablets and since Microsoft is still playing catch up. The opportunity as enterprises go through upgrades is huge, and this is why these vendors care. IBM takes away the biggest complaint IT managers have about Apple, that they do not understand enterprises."

Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group, added that it is "nearly impossible to beat IBM at back-end software." He said the Apple-IBM pairing will be much stronger than Google's Android L announcement, which includes use of software from Google's acquisition of Divide and some elements of Knox software for enterprises from Samsung.

"It is hard to beat IBM in the enterprise, and iOS starts out being naturally more secure than Android, so the Apple-IBM combination represents the very best of both worlds in terms of consumer focus on the device side and enterprise focus on the solution side," Enderle said.

"IBM has a century of doing business with companies who want a vendor who understands their needs and will listen. Meanwhile, Apple, Samsung and Google all have a history of not listening to the enterprise. Enterprise needs are very unique and vastly different from consumer needs," Enderle said.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said that the Apple-IBM deal won't materially hurt Google's new foray into the enterprise, but will make it a "bit more difficult." IBM should be helped, he said.

"Apple literally owns the consumer, but one bastion of future growth is in the enterprise, which makes it important to them," Moorhead said. "This deal makes IBM the go-to solution for all things Apple in the enterprise."

We're already doing this, say rivals

BlackBerry has begun offering device support for other platforms than its own in the past year, part of an appeal to keep its customers interested in its BlackBerry Enterprise Server software. Milanesi, in comments to the IDG News Service, said Apple's deal with IBM could be the "last straw" for BlackBerry.

However, Gold said the Apple-IBM deal doesn't put more pressure on BlackBerry, partly because BlackBerry is "already slipping badly in market share and doesn't have a tablet to offer." Tablet sales is where Apple stands to benefit the most.

In a statement, BlackBerry said the deal between Apple and IBM "underscores the ongoing need for secure end-to-end enterprise mobility solutions like those BlackBerry has delivered for years." BlackBerry said it has the most secure devices, software, servers and network to "enable enterprises to be confident that their data is protected from end to end."

BlackBerry warned potential Apple-IBM customers to "think twice about relying on any solution built on the foundation of a consumer technology that lacks the proven security benefits that BlackBerry has always delivered."

Rick Costanzo, general manager of global mobility solutions at SAP, said the Apple-IBM deal "validates what SAP has been doing for the past couple of years."

Instead of Apple-IBM's plans to build 100 services including apps for iOS, SAP has built 300 industry-related mobility apps for 20 industries in the past two years, Costanzo said in an interview. "Our reaction is welcome to the party," Costanzo said. SAP builds mobile apps for iOS, Windows Phone and Windows and Android, he noted. He also said that SAP has the ability to resell Apple hardware. The Apple-IBM news is "important but we've actually been doing this already."

This article, Apple-IBM deal threatens Androids enterprise push, was originally published at

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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