Microsoft: Attack of the Apple-IBM alliance

July 22 2014
Cool meets the experts: With the cooperation between Apple and IBM announced on 16 July, one of the most successful companies from the mobile segment will join forces with one of the leading providers in enterprise mobility management to form one powerful team.

The aim of the new partnership between Apple and IBM is to conquer one of the most lucrative markets in the entire IT sector: corporate clients. Thus, these two companies that would have previously been considered incompatible will now take on the last great bastion of Microsoft, whose operating systems and office applications dominate corporate IT the world over.

“Given Steve Job’s initial dislike of IBM, this new partnership is an astonishing strategic step for Apple - moving away from hardware innovation and into the strategic conquering of new markets,” explains Moritz Rehman, portfolio manager of GAMAX Funds Junior, and expert on brand investment at DJE Kapital AG. “It is questionable whether this partnership would have existed under Steve Jobs. At the same time, it is perhaps one of the best proofs there is that Tim Cook is stepping away from Steve Jobs’s legacy in his decision-making process and moving in the right direction. 

Rehmann continues, “With its innovations, the iPhone and the iPad, Apple clearly leads the market in the consumer sector and education sector, and it has clear potential if it can succeed in the integration of software and hardware for corporate applications.” 

Mobile devices in particular are a segment where Microsoft has been ‘dozing’ for a long time and now it is trying to catch up through initiatives like Microsoft’s Surface tablet and the expansion of its cloud services. The sales figures for the Surface in particular left a lot to be desired last year.

In future, IBM will be offering corporate solutions that are exclusively tailored to the iOS operating system, and not only sell the Apple hardware, but take over the on-site service.

Both companies’ cloud ambitions are also likely to be integrated into the products. 

Rehmann believes that this cooperation is “a reprint of an old partnership, following the alliance formed between IBM and Motorola to introduce the Power PC architecture used until 2005, when Apple switched to Intel. But the prospects for success look to be much greater this time.” 

The new alliance also forms a strong front not only against the corporate dominance of Microsoft, but also against the efforts of Google, together with Samsung, to shortly introduce an Android version that is more suitable for enterprise users. 

Blackberry, too, must expect stronger competition for enterprise customers. 

Rehmann: “It will be interesting to see the reaction of companies like SAP and Oracle, which also work using the Apple platform, to the now highly prominent role of IBM.”