2014 won't be like '1984' either
July 16, 2014 9:29 AM   Subscribe

CNBC: Apple, IBM in massive enterprise hardware, software partnership Tech behemoths Apple and IBM announced a partnership Tuesday that could make Apple—traditionally a consumer brand—a major player in the business market. IBM said it would create a class of more than 100 business applications exclusively for iPhones and iPads to run on Apple's iOS platform. In return, IBM will sell Apple's products with 100 industry-specific apps to its clients worldwide.

CNBC inteverview with Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty
CNBC interview transcript
IBM press release
Apple press release

New York Times: Apple Joins With IBM on Business Software
Apple is moving up to business class. And its seatmate will be IBM.
In a deal that could deepen Apple’s sales to corporations and strengthen IBM’s position in business software, the two companies announced a wide-ranging partnership intended to spread advanced mobile and data analysis technology in the corporate world.
IBM and Apple have been working together on the venture for several months, and they are jointly working on more than 100 business software programs developed exclusively for Apple’s iOS operating system and for use on iPhones and iPads. The applications will be tailored for use in industries including retail, health care, transportation, banking, insurance and telecommunications.
Under the partnership, IBM will serve as a sales force in corporate accounts for Apple products and provide on-site service, which have been gaps in Apple’s capabilities. . . .
Even without a direct sales force and service, Apple’s iPhones and iPads are used by over 92 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies. . . .
The partnership, analysts said, should help both companies woo software developers, who are increasingly focusing their efforts on mobile and cloud applications. . . .
Wall Street Journal: Apple, IBM Plan to Create Business Apps and Sell iPhones, iPads to IBM's Corporate Customers
Enemies during the early personal-computer wars, Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. said they will cooperate in the mobile era, striking an agreement to create simple-to-use business apps and sell iPhones and iPads to Big Blue's corporate customers. . . .
A partnership between the two companies would have been unthinkable 30 years ago . . . But both companies have evolved since those days. . . .
"In '84, we were competitors. In 2014, I don't think you can find two more complementary companies," said Mr. Cook, who worked at IBM for more than a decade before joining Apple, in a joint interview with Ms. Rometty. "This is a really landmark deal."
Techcrunch: Apple Teams Up With IBM For Huge, Expansive Enterprise Push
Apple has announced a strategic partnership with IBM that will see the enterprise giant transfer over 150 of their enterprise and IT apps and tools to Apple platforms natively, and will also have IBM selling Apple iPhones and iPads to its business clients all over the world.
Apple touts the access the partnership gives them to IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities, and talks about how the apps that it produces with IBM will be developed “from the ground up for iPhone and iPad.” These apps will supplement new cloud services aimed at iOS specifically, including security and analytics solutions, and device management tools for large-scale MDM deployments.
Apple cites the expertise resident in over 100,000 IBM industry and domain consultants as a valuable resource in making apps tailored to different needs. This isn’t about owning the general office; it’s about turning Apple’s software and devices into the core functional software in every vertical possible.
Apple has made headway on its own in the enterprise, thanks in large part to the iPad, the iPhone and the trend of bring-your-own-devices that we’ve seen arise over the last few years in workforces around the world. And while it has made efforts to highlight the advantages of its platform for business users, this is a very different thing.
PC World: Why the Apple-IBM deal matters
Apple’s partnership with IBM to tackle the mobile enterprise could have lasting ramifications for both companies—as well as for rivals Google, Microsoft and BlackBerry. It could also make life a lot easier for IT staff at large enterprises. . .
The deal is significant for several reasons. Apple devices are widely used by businesspeople, but the company has thus far been a “renegade” in the corporate world that slips in the back door with little regard for the needs of IT staff, said analyst Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies. “If IBM can come in and say, ‘We’ll make sure this Apple stuff works well with the other stuff you’ve got already,’ it will make the IT guy feel a lot better,” he said.
Slate: Et Tu, IBM? Apple’s Latest Move Is Not Good News for Microsoft

Meanwhile, Blackberry stock dropped 5% following the announcement
Reuters: Apple-IBM alliance dents BlackBerry's stock price
Business Insider: BlackBerry Is Tanking Following Apple's Big Partnership With IBM
posted by Herodios (61 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
[Satya Nadella nervously probes his cyanide tooth with his tongue.]
posted by Iridic at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2014 [12 favorites]


IBM will serve as a sales force in corporate accounts for Apple products and provide on-site service, which have been gaps in Apple’s capabilities

That's quite an understatement.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:37 AM on July 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


It seems really unclear what this will actually accomplish for either company.

I can't imagine running most of those IBM apps on iOS anyway and smartphone/tablet saturation in the business market seems about as high as it's going to get. Is IBM selling an exec an iPhone or iPad really going to make that much of a difference because it seems like most execs already have one or more already.
posted by vuron at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Time to trot out this comment again...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


IBM fully out of ideas.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:42 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


All these apps may be fine on their own, but without the sort of centralized control over each user, device, and piece of software that Microsoft has mastered with Active Directory, I don't see many IT departments embracing any of this. (not that that ever matters to C-levels)

An iPad is great for a lot of things, but the average user needs access to a small number of specific programs and nothing else. Every large PC deployment I've seen needs that centralized control, that is simply unavailable on iOS, just to manage software updates and so on.
posted by sopwath at 9:42 AM on July 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't know how it compares, but iOS has had an Enterprise strategy for a while now.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:45 AM on July 16, 2014


RIP: Apple's (relative) security through obscurity.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


That's the point that caught my eye, sopwath - the real issues with widescale iDevice enterprise deployment aren't apps, it's data security and remote control. People forget why BlackBerry was at the forefront of enterprise mobile for so long - it was because the enterprise could easily manage devices remotely. So if a C-level left their phone in the taxi, IT could have it remotely revoked and wiped and a replacement provisioned in a short time.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


(And honestly, the best thing that Nadella could do is push Win8.1 tablets to work better with AD. In a lot of ways, such a platform would be like sysadmin catnip.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:07 AM on July 16, 2014


iDevices are remotely wipeable.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:08 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


iDevices are remotely wipeable.
Sitting or standing?
posted by thelonius at 10:10 AM on July 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


I can't wait for the iOS cc:Mail client.
posted by birdherder at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


My wife works for a big multinational. She gave them her iPad and they gave it back with her able to get her corporate email, access documents - and have her machine wiped by the company.
posted by alasdair at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2014


So does this mean that IBM is going completely out of hardware?
posted by maryr at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2014


Yes, as Mat Honan found to his chagrin.

But that's only one small piece of the puzzle, though. The whole point of enterprise IT is full central management. It becomes uglier if we move to BYOD, because you now need to have segregation between the user and corporate parts of the phone.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Time to trot out this comment again...

Yeah, it's amazing how many commenters on this arrangement seem to have forgotten Taligent.

[Satya Nadella nervously probes his cyanide tooth with his tongue.]

I may be biased (disclosure: I work at Microsoft), but -- seriously? IBM is a body shop these days. They produce software that's designed to sell consulting hours. That's not a complementary fit to Apple; it's the antithesis of Apple's value proposition.


I can't believe I just used the phrase "value proposition" unironically...
posted by Slothrup at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


Lotus Notes, coming soon to the App Store!
posted by bonehead at 10:19 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm really struggling to think of any IBM Enterprise software I've used that I've ever actually wanted to use.

.... Eclipse?
posted by pwnguin at 10:24 AM on July 16, 2014


A little late for IBM; they should have been talking to Apple way back in the 80's, when Bill Gates was locking down PC's with his crappy software. As far as Apple goes, this is yet another indicator that Apple is plateauing - and doing so in relatively mundane ways.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:28 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


OK - so... We're not "Enterprise" but I work in an industry that has a somewhat small number of companies doing the same type of work we do.

Property assessment for municipalities. There are a couple options for software out there, but they're... clunky. We in the process of modernizing, and there are tools that help you draw/sketch out the floor plan of the house, but frankly, after looking at them and seeing some of our less techy workers, I don't see how much help they can be.

I have dreamed for an application that can do everything we need it to do, allow sketching these floor plans, automatic calculations based upon the very thick reference manual for calculations, and have the ability to upload and store data on central servers. For access to the workers in the field AND a version for public access.

Our current software provider provides some of these features, but ends up being trapped in the MS mode of programming/development, with all the attendant proprietary attitude that retains.

While I don't see this venture actually supporting the creation of such an app, godDAMN would I love to see it done. The problem here, is that the market is so small and specialized that the cost to implement it would be quite high (this is something my boss complains about, the cost - but I understand why it's so high, not a lot of customers to spread that cost out)... If you could have it subsidized by a larger corporation, and if they could create a nice tight package that would really work across the whole nation (as opposed to one state -- maybe the overall package would be national, and then modular plugins for the specific locales). This would distribute the load of development and reduce the cost.

But I don't think this is the kind of thing they're talking about, is it? But this is ABSOLUTELY the type of killer app for my profession, if it used simple and effective UI to make it easy to carry out the task/calculations without having to learn a bunch of keyboard commands and how to type 30-60 wpm...

Give it to me and let me be the salesperson!

(That said, I kinda wanna get outta this field, so, why do I care so much?)
posted by symbioid at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


It seems really unclear what this will actually accomplish for either company.

The same thing that Apple AIX and the PowerPC chip did for Motorola and IBM

it's the antithesis of Apple's value proposition.

I believe that is not correct. As one ex-CEO of Apple said "We are committed to maximizing shareholder value". How is that not still the IBM or Apple POV?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2014


Basically IBM is going to take already overpriced Apple hardware and add an overpriced support contract to it. It's so awful that it can't fail.
posted by empath at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


such a platform would be like sysadmin catnip.

You'd roll around acting stupid while others point and laugh until the effect wore off?

Then you sit around in the Sun awaiting another hit of the 'nip?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


It seems really unclear what this will actually accomplish for either company.

Agreed. Apple has (wisely) ignored the large enterprise market because nobody makes any money in the large enterprise market except with consulting hours. The large enterprise market *isn't* that large a market, compared to the regular consumer market. Apple has avoid it because the large enterprise market demands price cuts, and Apple knows it's getting penetration because execs are saying "give me a goddamn iPhone." So, the get a toehold in *and* the guys pay full price.

If Apple's position is "Yeah, we'll put your apps in the app store and mention you first", then at least is a no-lose strategy. If it doesn't work, oh well, if it does, maybe some more iDevice sales in the corporate environment. If Apple is going to invest significant amounts of money, I just don't see them making it back.

Then again, I've made legendarily wrong statements about Apple's decisions before. And Tim Cook is a wicked smart guy.
posted by eriko at 10:36 AM on July 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Then you sit around in the Sun awaiting another hit of the 'nip?

Then you find out it was actually Oracle high on ethylene and you have the world's worst big data hangover?
posted by Talez at 10:37 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


High on ethylene? I think you mean Octane.
posted by symbioid at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2014


I believe that is not correct. As one ex-CEO of Apple said "We are committed to maximizing shareholder value". How is that not still the IBM or Apple POV?
Cook said Apple's environmental efforts also made economic sense, but when challenged by conservative shareholder activism group to pledge that Apple wouldn't do anything related to the environment that didn't follow a clear profit motive, Cook bristled with a reply that "we do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive," and recommended that anyone who had a problem with that "should get out of the stock."
That's how.
posted by Talez at 10:40 AM on July 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Totally tinfoil hat speculation here, but perhaps this isn't really about the enterprise market so much as the fact that IBM can do Big, BIG data like no one else except the US government...

...and Google.
posted by digitalprimate at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


There really doesn't seem to be much of anything here, except maybe the part about how IBM will provide onsite support for Apple products at corps.
posted by smackfu at 10:52 AM on July 16, 2014


She gave them her iPad and they gave it back with her able to get her corporate email, access documents - and have her machine wiped by the company.

That's pretty standard and also why I opted out two jobs ago. I got some grief about it from a friend in management that I was very close with and explained patiently that there are two kinds of people who get admin rights to hardware I use: the people who provide it for me free of cost, and my wife. "So basically," I said, "either you've gotta buy me an iPhone and pay for the plan, or else let me penetrate you before I say yes to this."

That was the last conversation he and I had on the subject.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:06 AM on July 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


IBM can do Big, BIG data like no one else except the US government......and Google.

That pocket narc you let into your life. Such data gathering will only be used for good, right?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:08 AM on July 16, 2014


So how long is it before Apple just says fuck it, and buys IBM outright?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2014


I guess that this makes sense: Apple has always had trouble dealing with the enterprise and IBM lives to fleece market to big business.
posted by octothorpe at 11:29 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lots of people have iPads where I work, and the iPhone is one of two available phones we can get, so I don't see that as part of the issue. The company I work for has IT outsourced to IBM, and it's the worst IT support I've seen. If Apple wants to get anything out of IBM, they're going to have to push IBM pretty darn hard to get anything out of them. IBM is so bad at IT, another company I know about just said fuck it after less than a year I believe, canceled the contract and sourced their IT back in house.
posted by Eekacat at 11:46 AM on July 16, 2014


It seems really unclear what this will actually accomplish for either company.

IBM buys a little relevance in the world outside corporate computing and Apple gets some sales that they have no infrastructure to support.

IBM hasn't had any hardware an actual human would want since they sold off the Thinkpad. This will at least get their logo in some people's faces once in a while.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:51 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


A partnership between the two companies would have been unthinkable 30 years ago . . . But both companies have evolved since those days. . . .

Yeh. The original Apple (1 and 2) was wide-open, and IBM was quite proprietary. Very ironically, that began to change when Apple fronted the Macintosh (the commercial notwithstanding). Apple began its own long proprietary extend, embrace, extinguish - formerly open routines embedded in system calls etc., pay to play development ... and the rainbow logo was replaced by a grey chrome badge. (If only Jung and/or Freud had been alive ...)

That kind of 'evolution' reminds us that not all mutations are good mutations ... and that revolutionaries can grow up to become dictators.
posted by Twang at 12:26 PM on July 16, 2014


and the rainbow logo was replaced by a grey chrome badge.

This happened long after everything else you describe, closer to the era of Apple building their OS on an open source Unix userland. .
posted by Space Coyote at 12:31 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


The original Apple (1 and 2) was wide-open, and IBM was quite proprietary.

IBM the company was quite proprietary. The IBM PC, on the other hand, was built entirely from off-the-shelf components. That's one of the reasons why there were so many clones so quickly. IBM tried to fix this "problem" with the PS/2 and the Microchannel architecture. That was arguably the beginning of their slide into PC irrelevance.

Overheard at the time: "PS/2 little, OS/2 late."
posted by Slothrup at 12:36 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


The IBM PC, on the other hand, was built entirely from off-the-shelf components. That's one of the reasons why there were so many clones so quickly.

Partly, but the decision to not buy DOS outright was the bigger factor.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:43 PM on July 16, 2014


Can't wait to write iOS apps in RPG!
posted by kmz at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


The last time(s) they tried this (Taligent, OpenDoc, PReP/CHRP) it didn't really go anywhere.
posted by dmh at 1:11 PM on July 16, 2014


OpenDoc?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:18 PM on July 16, 2014


The iPhone is way to thick for my liking, indeed, the entire form factor I find deplorable but I guess when you don't have a choice, and your job requires it, you'll be stuck with it.
posted by juiceCake at 1:20 PM on July 16, 2014


OpenDoc

It's a common misspelling of "UpDoc".
posted by Talez at 1:28 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's a common misspelling of "UpDoc".

What's...
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:12 PM on July 16, 2014


Oh gods, Lotus Notes in the app store.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:16 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


In an ideal world this is a key step towards getting corporate (and retail!) citizens out from behind a desktop computer (or POS terminal!). So there is hope.

It's also cool to see Tim Cook using the light from Jobs' burnt bridges to help build new ones.
posted by furtive at 3:15 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


My lab has bought its workstations from IBM since the 360 days through the present. We use DB2 and TSM. We spend a LOT of money on support contracts for this mission-critical hardware and software. I've dealt with a fair number of vendors over my years in IT, academia, and federal service. IBM provides the worst support I've ever experienced, and it's not even close. They're about 100 times worse than Sun ever was. It horrifies me. Nobody on their team can ever answer any question. We have a TSM ticket that's been open for months, with no expectation that we'll ever get a solution. I hope Apple knows what they're getting into because, in my opinion, IBM as a brand stinks.
posted by wintermind at 4:25 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


And if you're a developer it's super fun too. Rational Application Developer is pretty much IBM answering the question "How could one make Eclipse worse than merely awful?"
posted by middleclasstool at 6:12 PM on July 16, 2014


Oh gods, Lotus Notes in the app store.

Big chunks of it are already there. And fairly widely used in enterprise-land, as far as I can tell.

Interestingly, the Notes access solution for iDevices seems to use the built in email and calendaring apps, while the 'droid product requires a separate, parallel client. I'm not quite sure what architectural or policy differences are behind that.
posted by CHoldredge at 6:26 PM on July 16, 2014


Maybe because on Androids the default email and calendar apps are Google's?
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:30 PM on July 16, 2014


"the Notes access solution for iDevices seems to use the built in email and calendaring apps, while the 'droid product requires a separate, parallel client. I'm not quite sure what architectural or policy differences are behind that."

The answer is ... Microsoft!

IBM offers something called Lotus Notes Traveler to support the native iOS clients. iOS directly supports Exchange through a protocol called ActiveSync, which was originally developed for Windows Mobile (Pocket PC) by Microsoft. Apple wanted people to be able to use their iDevices with the market-leading enterprise mail and calendaring product, so they licensed the ActiveSync protocol from Microsoft. IBM realized it was easier to support ActiveSync on the server side than to get Apple to change their clients, so ... they licensed ActiveSync from Microsoft too. Google did the same thing with Google Apps. You can connect to Apps on iOS using the Exchange option, and iOS has been a better Apps client than Android up until very recently due to the device management functionality baked into ActiveSync.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:51 PM on July 16, 2014


> I can't wait for the iOS cc:Mail client.

IBM uses Notes. No...really.
posted by kjs3 at 9:51 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


> nobody makes any money in the large enterprise market except with consulting hours.

You've apparently not written that yearly check to IBM, Oracle or Microsoft (or a hundred others) merely to have the right to use their software for another year. No consulting hours, no value add other than upgrades, and those we have to figure out ourselves.
posted by kjs3 at 9:57 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, Apple has outsourced many of its support contracts to IBM in recent years. That Apple care rep you talk to in many parts of the world is actually an IBM contractor.

I am not sure this will give either company what they want in the long run, beyond a pr splash and some more services contracts from Apple for IBM.

Difficult to see what the value proposition is, hardware changes are not such a big deal, but os migration and the application remediation that goes with it, is a gigantic pain. Microsoft has a lock on that and will for the foreseeable future.
posted by smoke at 1:57 AM on July 17, 2014


You've apparently not written that yearly check to IBM, Oracle or Microsoft (or a hundred others) merely to have the right to use their software for another year. No consulting hours, no value add other than upgrades, and those we have to figure out ourselves.

The product that I worked on at IBM hasn't been actively developed for a dozen years but they're still racking in bucks for it.They had software written in the sixties that corporations still paid for every year.
posted by octothorpe at 3:41 AM on July 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is a sales and marketing play, not a tech move. Apple gets IBM's famously effective sales goons pushing iProduct, IBM gets a slice of that fat margin and some juicy support contracts they've already started renegging on... they came from the future to tell you the replacement unit you needed two years from now is backordered until after time-travel is invented.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:05 AM on July 17, 2014


I do IT in public education. MS and AD is failing badly with the spread of iOS in the classroom and admin offices. AD is too much and too complicated when compared to DropBox which most teachers use anyway. Apple under Cook(worked for IBM) is making a renewed big play for Education and Corporate markets via byod...
posted by judson at 8:59 AM on July 17, 2014


[Satya Nadella nervously probes his cyanide tooth with his tongue.]

"Microsoft Corp. plans to cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, a 14% workforce reduction."
posted by jedicus at 9:10 AM on July 17, 2014


How on earth is the iPhone "too thick"??? My iPhone 5 is, if anything, way way way too thin to hold comfortably without a case. Am i misunderstanding what people are talking about?
posted by Yowser at 5:10 AM on July 18, 2014


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