Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Apple and IBM are known rivals, so it was a huge shock when the two companies recently announced that they would be partnering together to sell more of Apple’s iphones and ipods to corporate customers and government agencies.
As two of the largest companies, there has previously been a lot of tension and competition between the two, however Apple’s Tim Cook and IBM’s Ginny Rometty say that the hard feelings have faded away as technology has evolved and the companies have moved in new directions. IBM moved on from the PC business when they sold their division to Lenovo ten years ago, and Apple currently makes far more revenue from its iphones than they do from their Mac computers. Cook acknowledged the lack of competition and said that the product of this is, “…something better than either of you could produce yourself.”
So what are Apple and IBM benefiting from their new friendship? Although the two competitors have partnered together in the past, this time, its big. To most, it would look like Apple is getting the better end of the deal. IBM will be providing cloud functionality and services for business use on iOS based mobile platforms which would help bring AppleCare service to the business realm. However, we will also see IBM help sell Apple’s iOS devices containing versions of their own data analytics software to their clients; a mutually beneficial relationship.
Another win-win to this deal: Apple gets a huge partner without having to build and market to other companies solo. In return, IBM gets Apple’s “cool” factor, and loyal following. Companies such as Beats by Dr. Dre and Apple themselves have a certain something that IBM just has never been able to tap into throughout the years; Can you say popularity by association?
The new collaboration between Apple and IBM should worry many companies but Dell and Blackberry are letting it be known that they are not anxious at all. They argue that the bond between the two companies is not going to derail the efforts of their own companies to reinvent themselves. John Swainson, Dell’s global software business head, said in an interview with Reuters, “I do not think we take the Apple-IBM tie up seriously. I think it just made a good press release.” Companies like Microsoft however, might be a little more on edge because of their new emphasis on a cloud first, mobile first structure. What do you think? Should the teaming of these two giants be worrying for the rest of the tech companies?
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