IBM is a services and consulting company, and as such it will sell you anything you want so long as you're willing to pay a service and support contract for it.
People are not aware that IBM has about as much in-house knowledge of Solaris and HP-UX as AIX, or Oracle as much as DB/2; customers routinely pay them to support other's software and hardware, and it's a business that works out nicely for them.
The only thing this means is that Apple will now be another official partner of IBM, with potentially some more help than usual, but believe me: if customers want IBM to support their app running Android or Windows Phone clients, you're damn sure they'll have that option and will have no issue doing the dance, though they may certainly entice you to use their partner's competition software if they can.
But from their core business standpoint, this is no more important than their current experience in using JD Edwards, RIM, Oracle, Cognos, Informix, or any of the other products through which IBM makes billions a year, directly or indirectly. And they would certainly never consider Apple hardware on the desktop for the vast majority of their customers.
This is a company with over 300000 employees worldwide, several hundreds of software and hardware partners in every possible IT subdomains, and a direct reach to tens of millions of people. This affects their regular business very, very little, which is still a core niche of banks, insurance companies, governments, military contractors and health care.
Apple has billions/trillions of iMessages/Push Notifications going through iCloud and how often have they failed ? Rarely. Also they run the world's largest media and app stores (iTunes) which again rarely fail. To say that they have completed failed at international scale web applications is a stretch.
Well, there was that 2+ year problem with sending messages to people who'd switched away from iOS (has the fix been released yet?). I'm sure most enterprise customers would consider that a serious failure.
And there happens to have been a small iCloud Mail outage this week: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/07/14/icloud-mail-outage/
So when you say rarely, I say: Compared to what? As a proportion of total message volume? Perhaps, but I don't think that's the right benchmark.
Compared to similar services from other companies selling to enterprises? That's a much higher bar. And one Apple will have trouble with (contrast the reliability of iMessage and SMS, for example).
For all intents and purposes "switching away from iOS" without signing off of iMessage on the device is equivalent to accidentally going off the grid. iMessage having a (IIRC) two week retention period, it'll bail out after that time. The only way Apple has to distingish between those cases is:
1. have you tell it to Apple and sign out of iMessage on the device (and its associated number on all other devices where said number is referenced)
2. use a timeout with a sensible value to delist the device (you would not want to be delisted after a too short delay, else loss of messages would make for interesting rants)
3. read your mind
They surely read the excuses of trade magazines in IT, but those will care more about the next version of Oracle Financials or .NET with the same or more importance than a partnership with Apple.
Honestly, this is popular just because it suck ups to Apple fans who feel they have something to prove by Apple's involvement in the enterprise.
Yeah, god forbid companies developing applications that are more complex than Silicon Valley's ephemeral, featureless und useless Twitter clones where a big button "I'm special" is enough to satisfy all needs of their teenage customers.
It's possible to make complex, enterprise software while at the same time making good software; it just rarely happens.
I can remember more than a few occasions where I got swept up by IBM marketing hype and then the terrible disappointment when it came to using the actual product.
Seriously, people have no idea of the staggering involvement IBM has in their lives, to a much greater extent than probably any other IT company in the world.
It's a perfect synergy, with IBM having dropped hardware some time ago and subsequently, most software, in favour of open-source + prestige R&D + consultancy services. Apple on the other hand, makes some of the best hardware around and turns a good profit doing it, and they also have some of the best software UX (if not necessarily the most powerful solutions). Put the two together and it's an extremely potent combination, as long as they can pull off the collaboration effectively. Apple is already making fairly serious inroads into corporate IT since BYOD became a thing. To a lesser extent, they've been a business brand longer than they've been perceived as purely consumer-oriented, with the design industry being the only thing that kept them alive in the 90s pre-iPod-turnaround.
It will also be interesting to see what impact this has on open source, because that's something that IBM currently supports heavily so they can avoid the cost of developing a lot of common business software in-house. This partnership might herald a preference for, for example, Apple servers running OSX, over Linux.
A more positive outcome is that we're likely to see significant improvements in Apple software to meet needs that IBM clients will demand: stuff that tends to sit on a dusty shelf for years, like fixing SMB support in OSX, might start seeing some serious engineering investment by Apple.
We also might see an end to Apple's "no rollbacks" policy, which IMO is a serious barrier to adoption in corporate environments (and is a huge pain for testing). No IT department worth its salt will ever push out a possibly breaking change like an OS update without a rollback plan, but Apple actively prevents that right now. Either that, or Apple will need to up it's release cycles to match the way SaaS is typically managed and take bug reports more seriously, although probably only when they come through a priority channel reserved for corporate customers, much like how Microsoft handles "unofficial" hotfixes that don't go into Windows update.
 Apologies for using the word "synergy" but it really is appropriate here.
Your post all seems to be very consumerist. IBM sells servers. Apple does not sell servers. IBM sells their own server hardware. IBM dropped their x64/x86 servers recently.
Apple makes consumer hardware, IBM makes expensively marked up enterprise hardware.
IBM makes TERRIBLE software, apple makes shiny consumer stuff, the absolute most that will come out of this is sametime and or notes getting a small bit more attention from IBM on iOS products. Most of IBM's crap is a thinly veiled customisation on top of Eclipse, it makes me laugh thinking about how that will translate to an iOS device. IBM's server side software, while marginally better - what apple hardware is that going to run on?
IBM clients couldn't give less of a hoot about samba shares in OSX. This news will have approximately zero effect.
IBM doesn't even make their own servers anymore - selling that business to lenovo (IBM only makes mainframes).
I assume this is relatively neutral for both parties, and reflects the deterioration of technical competence at IBM.
IBM will act as a giant sales arm, and apple would fulfill whatever contract IBM can land. only question is how big the scale they can accomplish together. you would think IBM enterprise is naturally large scale but not necessarily justifying largest-market-cap-in-the-world. apple's still going to need major consumer hits to keep growing.
Apple has $574bn market cap last check, to IBMs $190bn. Apple would almost need to acquire IBM to move the needle, and selfishly, as an apple-convert, i hope they aren't actually considering that.
would be a true shame for apple to stop building the consumer products of our dreams, to build some soul-less bullshit for "enterprise" courtesy of IBM. risk of the great dream dying.
also big risk of the IBM culture and mindset infecting apple.
i'm sure steve jobs would get a huge kick out of apple throwing a lifeline to IBM, thinking back to the 80s when IBM was "big blue" and a formidable technology competitor.
i could see steve going ahead with this for kicks, which is about how i think apple is going to approach it. can't harm apple if they ring-fence the work, and don't let IBM management practices become apple practices.
Can Apple support the cloud analytics needed to process the large amount of human-generated, personal sensor data for the many enterprise verticals that will be transformed by this data?
IBM has invested in "Smart City" initiatives, urban-scale control and coordination. Pick your favorite sci-fi movie. There is potential here to marry the personal operating system (Apple) and the city-state operating system (IBM).
Earlier this year, IBM adopted an ARM-like approach to their Power architecture, licensing IP to "OpenPower" partners. For example, here's a $4.88 billion joint project on servers & software for smart cities in China.
The joint project with Chinese firm Sichuan Huaxun Zhongxing Technologies Co. Ltd follows their announcement on May 18 that they will build a service center dedicated to the big data and cloud computing that is necessary for smart cities.
... "Cooperation with IBM will have an immense impact on the construction of smart cities in the world and fast-track the R&D level of high-end servers in China by 10 to 20 years," said He Wenjun, chairman of Huaxun Zhongxing Technologies.
The smart city concept was invented by IBM.
In 2012, China selected over 130 cities as pilot sites for a smart city program that will explore ways to foster a new type of urbanization.
No. Which is why they are looking to IBM to condense this "big data" on the server side and stream it to the iOS devices.
It is OK to think that way re hardware. But it is backwards re software. IBM sold off almost all their hardware divisions (laptops, printers, storage) because they make their money on services. IBM is basically a consultancy nowadays. IBM is doing what they do here: selling software consulting services and solutions that run on Apple. Apple isn't going to do any development work for this at all.
Lately I've been heavily involved in a project that tries to improve this situation - sort of a next generation Notes based on CouchDB, with fully relational data models, extremely fast development cycles and upcoming mobile+offline clients. Mid-term we want to offer interfaces to Notes/Domino, such that migration becomes a matter of hours per application. I'm curious to see, how IBM wants to solve the inability of Notes to be fully integrated onto iOS - their announcement didn't even mention it, it rather seems like they want to sell you expensive consulting months to create each application from the ground up using their cloud platforms. Cost-wise this will be multiple orders of magnitude off of what we're trying to offer.
This deal is just a press release. I imagine that an enterprise willing to pay up for Apple hardware, is not the kind of enterprise to settle for vendor-lock in mediocrity in software, while the PHB's buying enterprise class mediocrity from IBM will not pay up for Apple hardware.
I wonder how many reports Jony Ive has to him compared to his equivalent number in IBM.
This initiative probably has the MS Office 365 marketing people salivating.
The trick is to allow the analysis to happen within the app, and not as vlookups and pivot tables in Excel (as the user is more comfortable with).
Ultimately, this is Microsoft's failing as Excel should have become a cloud/server-powered think-desktop/tablet app a long time ago with versioning and multi-user support. Sure that existed back in the late 90s with ODBC and data links, but it was too fragile and was not significantly improved in the decade and a half since.
Some documents that I've prepared in Excel with complex (meaning not all that complex) don't come into Numbers properly (a stacked bar with one series as a line, for example).
It's not just the macros but 100s of little things that break compatibility.
If you use Numbers with Excel for anything but the most basic spreadsheet list you are going to have a bad time.
Its something of a stereotype but generally Excel to "something else" is less painful than old Excel to new Excel.
What Apple and IBM have really done is join an ongoing movement, something that has been going on for years. People already have these iPhones in their pockets, these iPads on their desks, and they very naturally have been integrating them with their life-and-business processes.
Sure, Google would love to have the IOS cache, but this deal more reinforces IOS market dominance than "disrupts" it, the leader.
It's not even a technical change for Apple... the same devices, used in the same way (I think they'd fail brand-damaging if they tried to suddenly be "enterprise", you need "dirt under your fingernails" as Cook said).
However... the imprimatur of IBM will open the floodgates for all those enterprise VP waiting for a sign that it's time to switch. (Just as the IBM PC did for personal computers?). Suddenly, the herd of VPs will place orders, each massive in their own right, overwhelming even Apple. That's the budget that previously was allocated to desktops/laptops...
So, in a market sense, this is arguably the key to the disruption. And looking back, the moment the dam breaks might well be seen as the disruption (rather than the warning drips and trickles). Certainly the most consequential.
It shows up over and over again, but its a failure of reasoning: on average no one uses any specialized software on a desktop, just a web browser and spreadsheet. But the average is not a real person to start with. All the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of bits of custom code people use to do their jobs do not easily translate to locked down mobile environments. Heck, ask anyone using Excel for a lot of work: there's more VBA out there that's utterly vital then anyone would care to admit.
If Apple aren't breaking into enterprise with Macs, they're not going to somehow manage it with iOS except in the same space they always have.
Agreed tablets won't replace desktop completely - just as desktops didn't replace mainframes completely.
I imagine a normal distribution, over how much PC functionality is needed, by how many people. On the left, people who hardly need a PC - they've already switched to mobiles. Then the middle, the average, where they need a spreadsheet/word processor (to varying degrees). Finally, on the right, tapering off into specialized domain software (including your VB scripts), CAD/CAM, simulation, desktop publishing, animation, visualization etc. This is the long tail you mean, where each person requires a different subset of functionality.
There'll be a process of adoption, step-by-step, left-to-right, which eventually will get stopped (perhaps at spreadsheets?). The question is whether IBM can create apps that really do meet their customer needs well enough to displace desktops. There are many roles where they can.
And if we look at degrees of usage, perhaps if some role only needs occasional spreadsheet access, they might have one PC in the office (instead of one on each desk). Or, rearrange job roles so specialist does that. Or, perhaps google spreadsheets are "good enough" for their use. Or maybe some specialised app, with their exact subset of functionality will rise to the fore - that will actually be better for their specific use, because customized to it...
today, software is far cheaper to build than when spreadsheets became standardized and ubiquitous.
One last data point: it could be that iPads become desktops. Add a keyboard and mouse and a stand... This isn't disruptive of the usage, just of the supplier!
The data point is that that's how I use my phone, with a bluetooth keyboard. I'm using it now. I do most of my programming and ssh on my phone now. It is awkward in some ways (mainly, the bt keyboard sucks), but mostly is more convenient than my desktop.
So maybe this isn't really "opening the floodgates" as I first said, just the beginning of a trickle, as IBM starts to displace desktop usage in the enterprise, role by role.
Besides this being just a traditional PR move by both companies (Apple doesn't have traction in the enterprise market, except for CEOs wanting the IT dept to support their iPhones -- and IBM doesn't have traction in the consumer market, nothing could be more boring than IBM products), this is two companies with cultures on opposite extreme sides of the spectrum.
Ol' Stevie would probably be very angry.
I don't think IBM wants to sell _both_ a corporate data initiative and a new phone at the same time.
iOS with a small i is Apple's OS for their devices.
They went to court over the difference, so it is important (to them at least :-)
In those areas, and many other corporate enterprise areas, Apple is on is already on its way out, specifically because they never really integrated or put any special effort on integrating with the existing corporate infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has used this time that Apple squandered to finally catch up for the most part.
A lot of large corporations gave Apple a chance 5 years ago and nothing ever really came of it. They will not be getting another chance any time soon.
Samsung's Knox Platform is likely going to bring a lot more competition to bear, particularly now that Google has partnered closely with them - so things are certainly going to heat up soon.
Does that mean 90%+ issue Apple devices to some employees? Or simply support (or tolerate? Or turn a blind eye to?) using them on the corporate network and/or corp email? Or something in between?
Corporates tend(ed) to use Blackberry for their management / key people. Those people tend to use Apple and Android for personal use.
(Big) Corporates tend to use IBM for data intensive / traditional mainframe roles (transaction processing, etc). Big ticket stuff.
(Big) Corporates tend to use Exchange. Great chance to cross-sell a now internal product, Blackberry, which was already approved by information security obsessive corporates. But Blackberry is unpopular, BBN its only selling point.
IBM now say 'Apple is OK too, we trust them'. Said executives now demand an iPhone / iPad app, which in reality was already developed 2-4 years ago, but only distributed to people in information security / in-the-know because they really wanted it and could get it. As Apple can now be cross-approved on the same terms as IBM, vendor approval is easy.
Not release a cooperation agreement, but this has been in the works for several years. Apple gain a lot. Not sure what IBM gain... perhaps cloud agreements with Apple? Perhaps support agreements, perhaps something much bigger?
"The Good Dynamics Secure Mobility Platform currently manages iOS, Android and Window Phone devices, so these are the only platforms included in the report. BlackBerrys, for example, are managed via BlackBerry Enterprise Service/Server (BES) or directly via Microsoft Exchange; as such, they're not represented in Good's report."
"Talking specifically about tablet activations, iPads made up 91.4 percent of all activations, while Android represented just 8.6 percent of tablets activated by customers."
Apple has already been doing a lot of work over the last couple of years geared towards making iOS more acceptable to enterprise and we're clearly going to see even more progress in that direction.
Say what you will about the quality of IBM's software and services, IBM probably understands enterprise-scale IT better than anyone else. A lot of that knowledge is now going to be transferred to Apple, as iOS and the related infrastructure is brought up to the standard that IBM clients will demand for this to work.
Cringely is very clear about the charades IBM is playing to maximize the short term buck.
I wonder whether Apple will bring IBM up or will IBM bring Apple down on that front.
While the UI of its client sucked compared to anything we see today, those were the days of Windows 3.1. Everything sucked back then.
It has aged poorly. But it had its place, and its time.
Those SPs were pretty massive too, hundreds and hundreds of lines long, calling other hundred lines SPs.
His Intel switch bet played off for Apple and I imagine this bet by Tim Cook will also play out for them. I look forward to having many more years of iOS work and many more years of Xcode and iOS SDK improvements :-). Stability and security will be at the top of the lists :-D
Don't forget the HP-branded iPods too, which was also a bit weird. That was under Steve too.
> Thanks to HP's distribution network, the iPod+HP was sold in retailers where Apple did not have any presence at the time, which included Wal-Mart, RadioShack, and Office Depot. Many of these retailers now sell Apple iPods.
In hindsight, the subsequent sales explosion makes it look unnecessary 
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple his laptop of choice was an IBM Thinkpad (560E). In fact, "he delivered it to Apple’s designers as a model of where the PowerBook line needed to go."
IBM and Microsoft signed an contract, that IBM AT clone computers would ship with Microsoft DOS and they would license (and pay for) every-single-copy of it. The openish IBM PC standard allowed for Microsoft to continually expand into their near monopoly on the Business, and Home PC market.
That agreement literally built Microsoft. When they signed that agreement, Microsoft didn't even own the rights to DOS, or had even made an OS. They just licensed a BASIC compiler.
Neither my memory nor the Wikipedia history suggest any formal IBM role in the development of 'Windows' itself, at least not through Windows 3.11. It wasn't a joint project (though I suppose the closeness of the partnership likely meant source/fix/feature sharing behind the scenes).
Then, IBM was formally cooperating with Microsoft on something they thought would be OS/2. To the extent anything co-developed then wound up in Windows NT, that was never IBM's intent. Again, Windows was the Microsoft-controlled branch, not the partnership product.
That would roughly match the assertion by rational-future about which you were dismissive.
But the kicker is that my job here revolves around VMware and Windows. VMware's web client needs a newer version of Flash than you can get on Linux outside of Chrome. And Chrome dropped RHEL 6.x ages ago. And every RDP app packed with RHEL 6.x is junk compared to CoRD or RDCMan.
If I could BYOD I'd happily go buy a new MBA and IBM could toss it into a Blendtec when I'm done here.
Go to w3, search for "approved OS" and take your pick.
I'm currently running fedora 20 with mate desktop. Works like a charm on a T430.
Haha, there's got to be a name for that paradox: you want to run Linux on your brand new computer, but the hardware isn't well supported.
a) Settle for a Linux install that sometimes does weird things (on my Lenovo Yoga 2, I have to close the laptop lid and re-open it to get the computer to come back from suspend properly).
b) Settle for Windows 8?
Unless you've got the time to write your own device drivers, the MBA is the most "rational" choice for a new laptop. (IBM pun not intended.)
Looks like it's still the case: http://security.stackexchange.com/questions/37916/what-are-t...
IBM makes complex expensive software that people are still trying to get rid of in the enterprise. Apple doesn't need a sales force for iPads, most top execs have been demanding iPads for the last 2 years already, it's just IT that's slow to adopt it because they fear loss of control with BYOD.
Only upside here is stuff like Watson and the likes. I can see IBM providing back-end services to Apple but that's about it.
Apple is gonna make IBM build a cloud base infrastructure with Apple User interface and QA. We are talking very high end costumers, not the typical small or medium corp. No one will be fired for buying Apple and IBM. Google, maybe.
Enterprise Cloud was one Horse race for Microsoft market. Now there are two.
A bit more than a few years. They still have pretty good profits (Windows and Office are still quite popular,) and even if that dried up suddenly and they had zero revenue, they could quite literally live on their cash reserves for a decade.
[edit: downvotes, seriously? I'm just pointing out that Microsoft is not a private company that can do whatever it likes with its cash pile if it is not performing. I guess that is uncomfortable for some reason.]
The problem for Apple is their secrecy and planned three year obsolescence is unattractive at scale for large businesses. A large part of IBM's continued relevance has been from their shift toward solutions leveraging open source as well as providing customers with clear roadmaps.
Without trying to sound too harsh, the problem with Google is that they have a faddish focus, and don't appear to maintain some product offerings once they are past the "look! It's NEW!" phase. If you made the recommendation to switch to Google's systems, would your manager be asking "How long is it going to be there for?". It's a pity. Do you see "enterprise" switching to systems like that? Do you see loads of Chromebooks and Chromeboxes (do they even still make them?) on desks instead of PCs? Honestly?
This is different to Microsoft's strategy where you can still run software from 20 years ago, and some businesses like only investing in software once, instead of an ongoing licensing fee. I do not see Microsoft disappearing quickly, despite how popular web apps are in startup circles; Windows still rules the enterprise desktop.
I myself write software on a Mac but everybody else here has never used a Mac and are flummoxed if presented with its desktop, and typically see Apple products are overpriced.
High end customers would involve large corporations where there would be a need for many PCs traditionally. Although iPads have become popular with BYOD, do most people just accept that it's a great consumer (consuming) device and not marvellous for creation of content? If large corporations were to switch their desktops to Apple machines, do you think the profit margin would increase or decrease?
It just isn't going to happen.
I have no inside info but I can't imagine that Apple isn't thinking of this as a move going forward.
Also, the article mentions retail as an initial target industry. Their Websphere platform powers some big ecommerce sites . Now they can go after those customers and sell them mobile retail solutions. Plus it's probably a big F&B for the sales team selling Websphere.
I'm sure the same goes for any commercial "products" IBM has for banking/travel/healthcare. Even if they just act as "implementation providers" for 3rd party products, to be able to say "choose us because we will also build you an iPad app for your BIGHealthDataSystem install" is pretty huge.
Also, this is great for iOS developers because there will be more jobs available.
Hopefully (and I'm reaching on this one), it also means IBM will create/contribute to more open-source iOS/Obj-C/Swift projects and tools.
It will be interesting to see how this works out. The one thing Apple lacks is the monster enterprise salesforce that IBM has. And that may be the strongest thing that IBM has left.
look at net income.
For the three months ended 29 March, Apple had $10.223B in net income. For roughly the same quarter (ending 31 March), IBM had $2.384B.
Apple is carrying $18.949B in cash and cash equivalents (though most of this is locked-up overseas), and another $22.401B in short-term marketable securities.
IBM is carrying $9.409B in cash and cash equivalents, and a mere $295M in markable securities.
Without IBM, Apple would have to build up an enterprise sales team or cede that market to Microsoft who has an existing enterprise sales team. So, if this partnership works out it plays to both companies strengths.
Finally, Apple has been encroaching on enterprise for years, each iOS update has included enterprise specific features (central management, per app vpn, single sign on to name a few from v7 & 8).
It became apparent soon after that Microsoft was the real threat to Apple's business model.
Otherwise, it's business as usual -- IBM customers have a need that has something to do with IT, IBM puts together an offering to address it.
This is for iOS a greenfield space, where Apple wants to lock up their position as the standard mobile platform. Apple can win without working too hard to displace the incumbent (likely Blackberry).
Although, anecdotally, at conferences with business types carrying laptops the majority seem to be MacBooks. I think Apple may be creeping in a bit.
For IBM this has to be their last shot before sliding off into oblivion, with their resurgence now looking incredibly temporary. All they really bring at this point is customer relationships and service monkeys, with the former being what Apple are really after.
At which point the entire worlds banking and transactional services will grind to halt. I don't think you quite appreciate how much of the world runs on IBM kit.
As soon as you figure out what a product actually does, you realize you could replace it a shell script that took 30 minutes to write.
The point is to get managers to buy something from IBM so they can have push notifications.
And the Fab IBM is trying to sell but no one wants?
Combined with extensions in iOS, I wonder if we can expect to see similar partnerships soon across the enterprise space?
My impression is the opposite; there's only one iPhone. The whole BYOD thing happened because if you gave employees Blackberries they'd still go out and buy iPhones.
BYOD doesn't scale directly.
The only meaningful differences for IBM I see are that it can throw a bunch of iPhones into the deal and bundle them under the service contract with Apple's blessings and that IBM can use iPhones in literature and dog and pony shows.
Also you seem to have missed the part where IBM state that they are going to develop more than 100 apps.
(Only kidding; the market is large enough that different devices can cater for different needs and price ranges. There appears to be a trend to see something new in this industry and proclaim the demise of other businesses due to them not making this new product or offering this new service. It's short-sighted.)
IBM knows it is the Post-PC and Post-Microsoft era.
IBM sees Apple using ARM for mobile devices, and Apple, Motorola, and IBM once were partners in the PowerPC technology. So possible IBM and Apple could make a new series of ARM chips for servers and mobile devices. Apple wants to drop Samsung for ARM chips and other stuff, and IBM could replace Samsung.
IBM could make ARM based servers that run OSX Server in a blade configuration for Apple, and Apple can license iOS to IBM for mobile devices, and OSX Server for servers.
I figure a new version of OSX called OSX/2 will be made, with puns towards OS/2 that came out of Microsoft-IBM working together. One that is ARM and X64 based and uses some universal binary format to make apps run on both platforms.