Apple and IBM are teaming up to create business apps that take IBM's big data and analytics capabilities to iPhones and iPads, in what could be seen as a direct challenge to Microsoft.
The exclusive partnership will also see IBM selling iPhones and iPads to its business clients worldwide.
A joint statement from the two vendors says the 'landmark' partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change.
“Apple and IBM’s shared vision for this partnership is to put in the hands of business professionals everywhere the unique capabilities of iPads and iPhones with a company’s knowledge, data, analytics and workflows.”
The companies plan to release 'a new class' of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed from the ground up for iPhone and iPad, along with OS-optimised IBM cloud services, security, analytics and mobile integration.
A new AppleCare service and support offering tailored for enterprise and new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management are also planned.
Apple CEO Tim Cook says: “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.”
Adds Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO: “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.
“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. We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without.
“Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”
The first of the IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions – the 'made for business apps' – will start becoming available in the US fall and into 2015. The companies say the apps will target specific industry issues or opportunities in retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others.
The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver services required for end-to-end enterprise capability, from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration.
Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalog, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions.
In addition to on-premise software solutions, the services will be available on Bluemix—IBM’s development platform on the IBM Cloud Marketplace.