Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) announced Tuesday they are teaming up to sell more iPhones and iPads to government agencies and businesses.
MobileFirst for iOS, which will involve about 100 applications, is expected to be launched in the fall, the Associated Press reported. The combined effort is aimed at proving that iPhones and iPads are good for more than checking email and keeping track of appointments.
The announcement comes as Apple prepares to release iOS 8, which will provide expanded security management and productivity features.
Big Blue repositioned itself as a software and computer-services provider in 2005 with the sale of its personal computer business to Lenovo, while Apple has shifted its focus to mobile devices although it still produces and sells Macs, the Wall Street Journal noted.
"In '84, we were competitors. In 2014, I don't think you can find two more complementary companies," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a joint interview with his IBM counterpart Virginia Rometty. "This is a really landmark deal."
The deal is aimed at addressing key industry mobility issues, the companies said in a press release. The deal covers 100 "industry-specific" enterprise solutions, including "native apps developed exclusively" for iPhone and iPad, IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, AppleCare service and support, and packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.
The companies say they will fuse IBM's big data and analytics capabilities with Apple's consumer experience, hardware and software integration.
“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,” Cook said. “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.”
“Mobility -- combined with the phenomena of data and cloud -- is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions,” Rometty said. “This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services."