Apple and German software giant SAP just signed a key partnership

Apple and German database giant SAP just signed a new deal designed to push the iPhone and iPad into more businesses, everywhere.

It’s just the latest in a string of enterprise-focused partnerships from Apple, which has teamed up with tech titans like IBM and Cisco as it goes after lucrative big businesses.

In this case, the Apple-SAP partnership will be around the SAP HANA platform, the company’s system of relational databases for accounting purposes.

Those databases are designed to store massive amounts of business data, which can include inventory levels, transactions, or just about anything else. They call it “enterprise resource management.”

“As the leader in enterprise software and with 76% of business transactions touching an SAP system, SAP is the ideal partner to help us truly transform how businesses around the world are run on iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook in a release.

Basically, Apple is enabling SAP’s tremendous base of developers to quickly and easily build iOS apps that tap into that data. A new software development kit, or SDK, will speed up the development of those apps.

As part of the partnership, SAP will be building native iPhone and iPad apps that will let developers access their data on the go. Intriguingly, SAP says in the press release that those apps will be built with Swift, Apple’s home-grown programming language.

For Apple, this is an important partnership: While it’s had increasing success selling iPhones and iPads into the enterprise, it doesn’t have the knowledge, know-how, or existing relationships to build a database that could compete with SAP, even if it wanted to.

By joining up with SAP, it boosts the reach of both companies, the same way IBM is providing crucial business-apps running on the iPhone. And it’s a big part of the ongoing evolution of Apple’s enterprise strategy.

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