Business Technology

Thursday 18 September 2014

Apple and IBM announce 'landmark deal' to develop apps

Once bitter rivals, US tech giants Apple and IBM have now teamed up to develop business apps and sell iPhones and iPads to corporate customers

Published 16/07/2014 | 08:20

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Apple and IBM have agreed a “landmark deal” that will see the technology giants work together to develop apps for iPhones and iPads.

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Under the agreement, IBM will sell Apple devices to its corporate customers. These will be loaded with 100 business apps the two companies will develop, targeting industry-specific issues in retail, healthcare, banking, travel and telecommunications.

The move will give Apple a large sales force that will help it crack the business market after dominating the consumer sector. While IBM, which has seen its business stagnate, will gain access to Apple's ubiquitous mobile devices.

Despite the two US firms being bitter rivals in the Eighties, with Apple famously attacking IBM in an iconic advert entitled 1984, Apple chief executive Tim Cook insists times have changed.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs shows what he thinks of IBM in 1983

 "That was a long time ago. We do not compete on anything. And when you do that you end up with something better than either of you could produce yourself. This is a landmark deal,” he said.

"It's a watershed partnership that brings together the best of Apple and the best of IBM."

Mr Cook said Apple's devices are already used for work within all but a handful of Fortune 500 companies.

IBM is also pledging to provide better security to reassure companies concerned about hackers stealing vital information off the mobile devices of their employees.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chief executive, echoed Mr Cook's bullish view: "This is about two powerhouses unleashing the power of mobility for (businesses). This is going to remake professions and industries."

No financial terms were disclosed.

 The agreement dealt a major blow to struggling mobile phone maker BlackBerry, which has been trying to turn itself around after years of falling profits. Its shares slumped 4.2pc in after-hours trading.

“Apple just took a sword and stabbed it right in the heart of BlackBerry and said ‘you’re done’,” Ross Gerber, CEO of wealth management firm Gerber Kawasaki, told CNBC.

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