Why has sexy Apple gone to bed with big boring IBM?

The Big Blue Apple affair: Inspired by Jobs, driven by Microsoft and Android


Shocked by IBM's deal to sell and support iPads and iPhones in the enterprise?

You only have to look at Jean Pigozzi's photo of Steve Jobs in his younger, rebellious years to see just how far apart "cool" Apple once was from "legacy" IBM. He was pictured flipping the middle finger to the stuffed shirts at IBM while standing outside their stuffy offices in New York City .

Ah, glory days, when IBM had just released its first boring personal computer while the seven-year-old Apple was poised to throw its first beautifully conceived Macintosh into the fray.

But business is business, it seems.

The recent enterprise deal between the two firms also seems to run counter to the logic of BYOD (bring your own device to work), a trend we’ve been hit over the head with for the past few years.

BYOD works like this: consumers like iPhones, they buy iPhones, consumers work for companies, those consumers bring their iPhones to work place.

Not only that, but Apple enjoys 15 per cent of the global smartphone market, according to Gartner. Apple’s iPad is 36 per cent of the tablets with the iPad.

So why would Apple get its hands covered in blue?

The partnership with IBM sees the computing and services giant agreeing to sell iPads and iPhones loaded with 150 IBM business apps ported to iOS.

Apple does the easy bit – support.

The IBM-Apple deal comes at a timely moment – a moment when there are signs that we could be at a tipping point in Apple’s dominance of corporate devices.

Apple’s smartphone presence has been in near permanent retreat since the arrival of Android and with the ascendancy of Samsung’s Galaxy phones.

Apple's declining fortunes

Peak Apple was in the last quarter of 2011 – that was when the firm held 25 per cent of the worldwide share for devices sold by vendor, according to Gartner. On tablets, Apple is now losing share while Android gains – Android grew at 127 per cent last year, while the market share of iOS shank.

In the context of the supposed BYOD backdraft from consumer to enterprise, this is bad news for Apple.

Somebody else used to have massive market share in mobile phones, too. Who was it? Let me think. Ah, yes, Nokia. And in the enterprise, RIM.

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