The news that IBM and Apple are partnering to develop new enterprise mobile apps for iOS is a big announcement in the tech world. Two big, brand name companies are coming together to tackle a problem just about every business will likely be worrying about one day, if they’re not already.
It’s a classic “win-win” move for both companies. IBM gets a partnership with one of the leading mobile companies to develop applications for the iOS platform. Meanwhile, Apple’s is attempting to boost its platform in the business community with apps designed by IBM for the enterprise market.
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It makes sense that these companies would come together. But, they’re not alone in the industry talking about mobile apps for businesses. Here’s just an quick glimpse at some of the other companies trying to distinguish themselves in the business mobile app market:
On the heels of what some called a manifesto from newly-minted CEO Satya Nadella, Redmond’s Darling is making a strong play at optimizing its enterprise applications for mobile devices. Shortly after Nadella took over form Steve Ballmer the company rolled out its Office 365 suite for the iPad. The company says it is in a unique position to offer developers a single platform to write applications once and deploy them to a variety of devices, from mobile to desktop, all while giving them a cloud-based platform (Azure) to host them in. Microsoft wants to be the business productivity company, but if IBM can become a default provider of apps in the iOS platform, that could make Microsoft’s plans that much harder.
Google is increasingly attempting to position its suite of cloud-based apps for enterprise buyers. Specifically, it has Google Apps for Business campaign to lure businesses to switch over to services like Gmail, Docs, Calendar Spreadsheets and other services. All of those are of course integrated strongly with Apple iOS’s biggest operating system competitor in Android. Google is already giving Apple a run for its money in this market, and this IBM-Apple partnership adds a whole new dimension to it.
Salesforce is known as being a cloud-based sales application, but over the past few years the company has been attempting to position itself as a much broader platform company. Salesforce 1 is an application development platform for building mobile apps for businesses specifically for mobile devices. Salesforce is hoping to sell that into its existing formidable customer base, reminding customers that some of their most important customer data already resides in the Salseforce cloud, and offering opportunities to leverage that data to build new, customized apps for the business.
Even Amazon is hoping into the mobile game. Not only does the company have a new phone it’s selling in the market, but its cloud division - Amazon Web Services - just launched a new mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) product that will help users build mobile apps on its cloud.
This Apple-IBM partnership move sends ripples far and wide. There’s a whole range of other companies focused on various pockets of mobile app development. Apple competitors like Samsung would surely enjoy to have a partnership with a company so deeply engrained in the business world as IBM. Companies like Pivotal are attempting to be the spot for a new breed of mobile and cloud-based applications. Then there’s a whole wave of startup companies that offer businesses ways to produce their own mobile apps, from Parse (acquired by Facebook), to FeedHenry and Kinvey.
The world is going mobile, which means there are a lot of companies targeting mobile apps for businesses. IBM and Apple want to be at the forefront of that conversation, and with a partnership like the one they announced, they have a good chance to be.