Apple and IBM on Tuesday announced a “landmark” partnership to merge their respective strengths to tackle the enterprise market. The deal, which was announced after Tuesday’s market’s close, will see IBM’s big data capabilities combine with Apple’s user-friendly iOS operating system.

The two companies will work together on developing more than 100 software programmes for business customers to use on their iPad’s and iPhone’s, ultimately helping Apple become more attractive to corporations, while also strengthening IBM’s leadership in business software.

“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

The partnership between the two companies aims to redefine the way businesses work, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change. The companies will work on the following four capabilities:

• A new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively for iPhone and iPad;

• Unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;

• New AppleCare® service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and

• New packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

According to Forrester Research analyst, Frank Gillet, the announcement of the partnership is “a landmark agreement” but may not be the last we see in the tech industry.

“Given IBM’s market strength and coverage, this partnership gives Apple enterprise capabilities and credibility at one stroke — and gives IBM a premium advantage in the race for mobile enterprise leadership. Look for Google and leading enterprise suppliers to seek partnerships that offer a credible alternative.”

Although IBM have not released any concrete examples of what kinds of apps would develop, it is believed that, starting this fall, the devices will only be available through IBM representatives to their business clients, with a private app catalogue and data security services included.

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(Image Credit: ibmphoto24)

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