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IDC bullish on Apple-IBM deal

Enterprise mobility deal creates a 'formidable combination', says analyst

IDC bullish on Apple-IBM deal
Apple's need to develop the enterprise market for its iPhone is "imperative".

The partnership announced between Apple and IBM last week will create a "formidable combination" for enterprise mobility, according to John Delaney, associate vice president of mobility at IDC.

The deal will see IBM sell iPhones and iPads to its enterprise customers and develop cloud services optimised for those devices. Apple, meanwhile, will provide hardware support with a new dedicated AppleCare programme for enterprise customers.

In a statement, Delaney said that the deal may have an important impact on bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends, with IDC seeing a plateau in BYOD interest among EMEA enterprises. The Apple-IBM deal may cause further disruption to the still-emerging industry.  

"One of the main drivers of interest in BYOD is that end users want to use iPhones and iPads for their work," he said.

"If your employer gives you an iPhone and/or an iPad, as a result of a joint sale from Apple and IBM, why would you want to bring your own?

In terms of the benefits of the deal to the two vendors, Delaney said that it was particularly valuable to Apple, as the company's need to develop the enterprise market for its iPhone is "imperative".

"In search of additional markets, Apple cannot look to developing economies, or to the mass-market in developed economies, without making mid-price and low-price iPhones," he said.

"This is a move that Apple has resisted so far, and that would run counter to its very successful product strategy. Therefore, for future iPhone sales growth, Apple will rely increasingly on enterprise customers."

Delaney explained that Apple had already made strong inroads in the enterprise market, thanks largely to the security and management capabilities that were built into the mobile platform with the release of iOS 7 last year. He said that he expected more of the same to come with the release of iOS 8 later this year.

However, more needs to be done as enterprises move into a mature phase in their approach to mobility, Delaney said. He explained that enterprises are now taking an application-centric approach to mobility, rather than a device-centric one, and that the IBM deal would cater to this change.

"In IBM, Apple has forged a relationship with one of the strongest such partners around," he said.

"As well as its cast-iron credentials as an enterprise IT brand, IBM brings to the partnership an increasingly mature set of capabilities in the area of enterprise mobility. The combination of IBM's mobility competencies, and the large investments in marketing that IBM is making in its ‘Mobile First' practice, will provide Apple with a solid platform upon which to build and extend its enterprise business."

IBM also benefits from the deal, Delaney said, particularly when it comes to end-user pull. He explained that IT departments are increasingly placing weight on end-user preferences in their mobile selection and procurement processes. And with the iPhone and iPad being such popular end-user devices, mobility projects are more likely to succeed.

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