Tech giant romance

Apple <3 IBM: The enterprise mobility alliance

Coman Hamilton
IBM.2

Two age-old rivals are teaming up to collaborate on a new kind of enterprise mobility. But what does it mean for developers?

They spent thirty years banging heads – and now they’re putting
them together. As dust slowly settles on the news that Apple and
IBM are joining forces to offer improved enterprise mobility, it’s
becoming
increasingly clear
what the partnership means for tech rivals.
But what about the average dev team?

IBM analytics, Apple devices

The alliance plans to combine the strengths of both
companies into a whole new level of enterprise mobility. For
developers, this means that teams can benefit IBM’s cloud services,
analytics and big data expertise, while working straight from
company iPhones and iPads.

For employees working with these new enterprise
solutions, this also means the ability to conduct everyday
business, from project management to analytics, with
company-specific apps, all tailor-made by Apple and IBM for
iOS.

Employers working with sensitive information may also
be able to use device management and security tools to monitor
their employee’s activities on company devices. The partnership
will also bring Apple’s support system AppleCare to an enterprise
level, meaning companies can get IT support straight from
Apple.

With Apple poised to make its long-anticipated entry
into the wearable device market, it’s also possible that some form
of smartwatch will play a role the enterprise mobility
alliance.

What language is that?

The technical details of the collaboration haven’t
been made public for the moment. Although we can’t be sure what
lingua franca the two companies are going to be
collaborating in, there’s a chance IBM will push to work on a HTML5
cross-platform version of its MobileFirst Platform. Apple will
naturally be stubborn about keeping this enterprise solution
iOS-native, meaning IBM developers will have to work with
Swift
or XCode.

Given Apple’s gradual move towards the former, it’s
less likely that Apple’s old school language of choice Objective-C
will make much of an appearance here.
Some

commentators
have argued that Swift is an attempt to broaden
the gap between iOS and Android development, making it difficult
for developers to keep a foot in both camps. With elements of
trendy languages like JavaScript and Python, Swift has the
potential to
steal mobile JVM developers
away from the Java-loyal Android
platform.

What do other tech companies think about this?

Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Blackberry won’t
exactly be happy  to see to two tech giants working together
like this. Apple and IBM’s rivals will have to work on how they can
bring their mobile enterprise solutions up to scratch.

Earlier this year, Microsoft’s push towards enterprise
mobility saw Office arrive on the iPad, together with a host of
improvements to its Enterprise Mobility Suite.

At the same time, Google’s recently announced answer to
enterprise mobility will struggle to do battle with an alliance of
this size. Google Work, the company’s first major attempt at a
mobile enterprise solution is scheduled to feature in Android
L.

Meanwhile, Apple can look forward to selling more devices and
gaining IBM’s contacts, while
IBM will increase its revenue from cloud services
. At the
thought of all of these beautiful synergies, Apple CEO Tim Cook
could be heard going mushy towards IBM CEO Ginni Rometty in a
CNBC interview:

“I think there’s no better two people on earth to do this, or
two companies on earth to do this. Or for that matter, any number
of companies. I think we fit together like a puzzle.”

Author
Coman Hamilton
Before becoming Editor of JAXenter.com (S&S Media Group), Coman completed an M.A. in Cultural Studies and wrote for numerous websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies. // Want to submit a story? Get me at coman[AT]jaxenter.com or linkedin.com/in/comanhamilton
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