Flashback 30 years and no one would have seen this coming: After decades as competitors, Apple and IBM announced a deal to work together to create simple-to-use business apps, and sell iPhones and iPads to IBM's corporate customers. WSJ's Niki Blasina reports.
The deal underscores Apple's push to expand the reach of the iPhone and iPad into the business world—beyond their traditional base among consumers. IBM, meanwhile, is hoping Apple's simplicity and popularity will help stem eight consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue declines, as it moves more of its business software onto the mobile devices used by employees.
The two companies said they hope to use the expertise of IBM's consultants and relationships with corporate customers to create business apps that offer the simplicity—a hallmark of Apple products—of today's consumer apps. The apps will draw on IBM computing services such as security, device management and big-data analytics.
Under the agreement, IBM's employees will provide on-site support and service of Apple products inside companies, similar to the AppleCare service that Apple sells to consumers. IBM said it planned to make more than 100,000 employees available to the Apple initiative. It is a rare partnership for Apple, which historically has avoided such alliances.
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