Apple and IBM sign historic agreement

ibm apple partnership, Tim Cook of Apple, Ginni Rometty of IBM

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Apple CEO Tim Cook discuss their big partnership on Apple's Cuptertino campus.

Credit:IBM

Apple and IBM on Tuesday entered into a historic agreement wherein the two tech giants will work together and leverage their own unique strengths to make iOS even more prevalent in the enterprise.

As part of the deal, IBM will create enterprise-oriented apps exclusively for iOS that tap directly into its services offerings. As part of the agreement, IBM will optimize many of its cloud-based services for iOS. Just as intriguing is the fact that IBM itself will sell iOS devices to its corporate customers.

Interestingly enough, Apple CEO Tim Cook actually used to work at IBM back in the 80's before eventually winding up at Apple. Commenting on the deal, Cook told the Wall Street Journal that one can't "find two more complementary companies." Indeed, though Big Blue and Apple were once rivals, Apple today pads its coffers with hardware sales while IBM has by and large left the consumer hardware space.

The Journal adds:

Under the agreement, IBM's employees will provide on-site support and service of Apple products inside companies, similar to the AppleCare service that Apple sells to consumers. IBM said it planned to make more than 100,000 employees available to the Apple initiative. It is a rare partnership for Apple, which historically has avoided such alliances.

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The companies said Apple and IBM engineers are together developing more than 100 new apps for various industries. The first batch of apps is expected to be available in the fall when Apple releases the next version of its mobile software, iOS 8.

While Apple likes to tout iOS penetration at Fortune 500 companies, there's no denying that Apple, historically speaking, has never cared too much for the enterprise. In fact, Steve Jobs once remarked that enterprise sales bored him. But the Apple of today, the one led by Tim Cook, is different. More open to possibilities that once seemed outlandish, Apple couldn't have found a better enterprise partner than IBM.

Apple's press release on the recently inked deal reads in part:

"iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "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. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver."

Late on Tuesday, Cook and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty sat down with CNBC, where they both talked about the deal. You can view the interview below.

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