Apple and IBM unveiled a “landmark” partnership Tuesday to win over business customers by offering iPhones and iPads that are specially tailored to enterprise users.
The tie-up, which aims to boost Apple’s share of the market for mobile devices for businesses, will offer custom-made apps that bring the power of IBM’s supercomputing analytics to a mobile workforce, a joint statement said.
“The landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change,” the statement said.
“Apple and IBM’s shared vision for this partnership is to put in the hands of business professionals everywhere the unique capabilities of iPads and iPhones with a company’s knowledge, data, analytics and workflows.”
The companies plan to release more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including apps developed for the iOS platform, along with IBM cloud services, security and analytics.
As part of the deal, IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads tailored to specific industries.
“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,” said Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook.
“This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”
Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president, and CEO, said the alliance “will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally.”
Apple will create a new service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise, while IBM will manage some of the functions like device activation and security.
The deal includes a private app catalog and helps business customers transform IBM services for mobile devices.
The new offerings will be pushed through Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 8, which was unveiled in June.
The news comes with Apple seeking to boost growth amid a global onslaught of smartphones and tablets using the Google Android operating system. While Apple is popular among many consumers, its appeal to corporate users has been more limited.
The research firm IDC said it expects Android smartphones to remain ahead of the pack with an 80.4 percent market share in 2014, and that Apple’s market share for the iPhone is forecast to be 14.8 percent.
A survey by Strategy Analytics said Android grabbed 65.8 percent of global tablet sales in the first quarter, up from 53 percent a year ago. Apple, meanwhile, saw iPad sales slump, and its market share tumbled to 28.4 percent from 40.3 percent a year earlier.