Apple Partners With Historic Rival IBM To Make IPhones More Business-Friendly

Apple muscles its way into enterprise.

Apple Partners With Historic Rival IBM To Make IPhones More Business-Friendly
[Image: Flickr user Ben Thompson]

Sound the death knell for BlackBerry (for the umpteenth time). Apple just announced a major new partnership with what once upon a time was its fiercest rival in the computing biz: IBM.


It’s a big deal. According to an announcement, the new global partnership between Apple and IBM will focus on bringing iPads and iPhones to enterprise. One of the major goals of the initiative will draw on IBM’s big data, analytics, and cloud computing capabilities to build new industry-specific products–like native business apps–for iOS.

Yes, iPhones and iPads are about to get a lot more work-friendly. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement:

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. 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.

Analysts and Wall Street are keen on the move. “[E]ven though IBM exited the hardware business [in 2004], it remained a powerful force in computing,” writes ASYMCO’s Horace Dediu. “IBM pivoted to primarily being a service company with a vast client base and increasing global reach. It essentially moved up the value chain to become an integrated services provider to business customers. IBM’s reach in breadth and depth of services is extraordinary.”

The partnership is especially interesting when you consider that Apple built its Mac empire by leveling the cannons at IBM in the first place. Remember this iconic 1984 Super Bowl commercial directed by Ridley Scott?

Man, how times have changed.

[Image: Shutterstock]

About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.