Tim Cook and IBM CEO Ginny Rometty on Their Enterprise Partnership

Arik Hesseldahl, interviewing Cook and Rometty in Cupertino:

“If you were building a puzzle, they would fit nicely together with no overlap,” Cook said of the relationship. “We do not compete on anything. And when you do that you end up with something better than either of you could produce yourself.”

Calling Apple the “gold standard for consumers,” Rometty said the team-up will allow the two giants to address significant opportunities facing large businesses. “We will get to remake professions and unlock value that companies don’t yet have,” she said. “We’re addressing serious issues that before this had been inhibiting deployment of wireless in the enterprise.”

I’ve been trying to understand why Apple is treating this as such a big deal, and I’ve come away with two things:

  1. iOS devices are being used in 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies, but Cook’s comments suggest strongly that Apple could be selling a lot more of them. That the threshold for being counted as part of that 98 percent is low, and now that Apple has a foot in the door, they trust IBM to open the floodgates. The first step was getting iOS into a large percentage of big corporations; the next step is getting a higher percentage of the mobile devices in those companies to be iOS devices.

  2. It’s easy to focus on the iPhone, because the iPhone accounts for over half of Apple’s revenue and profit. But if this IBM/enterprise initiative works out, I suspect it will be at least as much about the iPad. iPhones will come along for the ride, but the shift could be about enterprises switching from Windows PCs to iPads — not for every employees, and maybe not even for most. But it’s about finding those places where a touchscreen tablet is a better form factor than a clamshell notebook.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014