On Tuesday, Apple and IBM announced a new partnership centered on enterprise mobile hardware, apps and related services. As part of the deal, IBM’s salespeople will sell Apple iPhones and iPads to their enterprise customers, and IBM will help customers manage the devices through a program called IBM MobileFirst Supply and Management. Apple will also offer support through AppleCare for Enterprise.
In addition, the companies will work together on IBM’s MobileFirst Platform for iOS, a set of enterprise apps for iPhones and iPads that tie to IBM cloud computing services.
The move surprised some industry watchers because IBM and Apple seem like unlikely bedfellows. The two have been rivals in the past, and their corporate cultures are very different. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted, “This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”