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Apple and IBM join forces to create apps and sell iPads and iPhones to business

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 ((AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin, File))

Apple is stepping into the enterprise space in a big way after inking a deal with old foe IBM that will see the pair collaborate on more than 100 iOS apps for business and offer enhanced cloud computing services.

The move, announced by both firms on Tuesday, is likely to see the Cupertino company’s mobile devices gain increased prominence in the corporate sector as IBM pushes the tech giant’s products among its clients worldwide.

Besides the slew of industry-specific mobile applications, the partnership will also see IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics, and mobile integration.

Also in the pipeline is a brand new AppleCare service offering support tailored specifically for enterprise, the companies said.

Device and data security will be a major area of focus for the new partnership, as IBM’s more than 6,000 security researchers and developers help build a suite of iOS business-oriented apps that has the confidence of the business community when it comes to safeguarding data.

“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,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a release. “This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

IBM boss Ginni Rometty said its partnership with the iPhone and iPad maker would allow it to “leverage IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services.”

She added, “We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”

The news of Apple’s deal with IBM will come as a serious blow to BlackBerry, once a strong player in enterprise and currently an area of intense focus for CEO John Chen as he attempts to turn around the struggling company. Businesses and organizations have, in recent years, increasingly chosen iOS and Android devices over BlackBerry alternatives, though Apple has never really gone out of its way to push its products in the enterprise market.  The deal with IBM is set to change this.

As for Apple and IBM as a partnership, how times change. Thirty years ago, Apple’s iconic 1984 TV ad took a sideswipe at IBM as the pair battled for a share of the home computer market. Today, in a transformed tech world, the two corporate giants have seen an opportunity to work together – this time in the enterprise sector – with Cook and Rometty confident the move will prove lucrative for both companies.