Posted by:Nithin Rao July 30th, 2014

I know, the first thing on everyone’s mind after reading the title is this – “So, who caved in first, accepted defeat and decided to partner instead?

Well, let me set that record straight. Both Apple and IBM are winners, huge successes and have spawned their own thriving ecosystems. But, are they competing for superiority in the same space? Not completely true – while IBM is every enterprise’s trusted go-to partner for all things enterprise computing; they can’t hold a candle to what Apple has pulled off in the consumer space. And vis-a vis, neither has Apple managed to make inroads with traditional enterprises. Both victors in their own rights, in their own spheres!

Oh, but how things change! Social, Cloud, Mobile, Analytics, Big Data, Internet of Things and suddenly the spheres start to collide. Enterprises no longer operate in their own application fiefdom and need consumer-grade user experiences and corresponding analytics to thrive. Consumers, armed with smartphones and smarter tablets and fed on conveniences, are looking to accomplish all things personal and work on those same devices.

Ah, now you see the collision between the spheres. And the need one has for what the other has. By themselves, both are huge, but together they are massive and have the potential to take on the likes of Google and Microsoft.

Apple is sure to benefit from the Big Blue’s experience with enterprise solutions, their analytics horsepower and their long-standing customer relationships. IBM gets a front row seat in the world of consumer and enterprise mobility. Be it the iPad’s popularity with businesses, or technologies like iBeacon and HealthKit – IBM has a lot to gain. Imagine, the amount of valuable patient engagement data HealthKit can generate combined with the deep analytical capabilities of IBM. Or the insights that can be gotten through combing consumer behavior data gleaned through iBeacons.

Which is why the deal came with the news that IBM and Apple are developing a suite of 100+industry- specific enterprise apps to be loaded on Apple devices and unleashed in businesses. Yes, I said unleashed. The possibilities are many and exciting.

It brings to mind, Apple’s ad campaign to IBM in 1981, welcoming IBM to the personal computer market. Image below.


As Dylan sang, “The times, they are a changing”. We have come full circle now. The relationship dynamics of these two players has changed. An IBM-Apple alliance now holds promise for cloud, analytics and the mobile. With deeper integration capabilities, enterprise apps will now have the capability to sync with enterprise backend systems and will result in more robust app functionality.

A happy thought indeed! So, what are your thoughts on this?

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