The answer is simple. You shouldn’t worry or gloat. It’s a big deal for Apple, yes. It’s also a big deal for IBM, too. It’s probably a good deal for the corporate enterprise, too. But there’s also a long list of who this deal is not good for.
The deal between Apple and IBM is relatively simple and makes plenty of sense, because neither company really competes with the other.
IBM will create industry specific applications for iOS devices because IBM is mostly a service company these days.
Apple will get to sell more iPhones and iPads (and probably Macs because they integrate so well together) into the enterprise, thanks to IBM.
Apple finally gets to sit at the enterprise table and doesn’t have to do much to get there. IBM wins because they don’t have to worry about the hardware. Apple wins because they don’t have to worry about industry specific, vertical market applications.
Corporate enterprise wins because they get a secure standard for mobile devices, with built-in support from two industry giants– IBM and Apple. And devices their employees actually like and want to use.
Win, win, win. And lose. Who loses in this dance of strange bedfellows? Interestingly, probably not Microsoft, which already has a huge presence in the enterprise. Why not? Microsoft has almost no presence in mobile devices (but won’t get much from here on), and that’s what the Apple and IBM deal is all about.
Microsoft’s Office suit already runs on iPhones and iPads and an Apple-IBM deal won’t change that.
The Big Losers
Without question the losers in this deal will be Google, Samsung, and BlackBerry. Android may dominate smartphone and tablet marketshare in the consumer industry, but has hardly any presence in the corporate world, thanks to ongoing fragmentation and security issues.
Samsung rides completely on Android’s coattails, so wherever Android goes, Samsung can be the leader. And wherever Android does not go, Samsung doesn’t go, either. What of BlackBerry? The once mighty Crackberry maker has been on life support for a few years. The Apple-IBM deal just pulled the plug.
Yes, it will take years to permeate and gel, so success isn’t guaranteed for either Apple or IBM and there is precedent for failure. Does anyone remember Taligent (talent and intelligence)? It was a deal back in the early 1990s whereby IBM and Apple pronounced themselves allies who wanted to build the next great operating system to combat Microsoft.
Politics is often involved in the relationships of strange bedfellows, and Taligent, while promising, died a few years later with little to show for the money and effort provided by both IBM and Apple. This new 21st century Apple-IBM deal looks more promising because the companies– unlike the 1980s and early 1990s– don’t compete in the same space, and each can leverage the strengths of the other so the sum of both is greater than the individual parts.