It’s been about two months since the much-ballyhooed partnership between IBM and Apple really kicked off, and it’s going so well, the two have big plans for expansion, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich says in a research note.
The two are selling iPads with custom software for businesses. In December they released their first 10 apps, they have 12 more apps set to launch this quarter and “over 100” apps planned, Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts on the company’s quarterly earnings call a couple weeks ago.
The first 10 apps solved specific problems for specific industries — in tech industry lingo, they were apps for “vertical” industries. Each app had its own catchy name. For instance, there was a flight planning app for airlines (dubbed “Passenger+”) a customer-service app for insurance companies (“Retention”) and so on. (Here’s the full list of apps.)
Now, the two are working on what’s known as “horizontal” apps, says Milunovich. These are apps that any business could use. The one Milunovich mentions is a supply-chain app, which helps match how much product they expect to sell with how many materials they order.
The first ten apps were for verticals, such as banking (Trusted Advice, Advise & Grow), retail (Sales Assist, Pick & Pack), and airlines (Plan Flight, Passenger+) with over 100 industry apps coming. Now we hear that IBM will be adding horizontal apps as well over time, such as supply chain capabilities.”
The partnership itself is named “MobileFirst.” And talked Cook talked it up on the conference call insisting that interest from businesses is high, with over a dozen companies at trying the apps out and 130 more kicking the tires.
Another 12 apps will be released this quarter, including three new industries, healthcare, energy and utilities, and industrial products. This will bring us to a total of 22 apps and we’re on track to have over 100 by the end of 2015 …
In just over a month, more than a dozen enterprise customers have signed on as foundation clients to transform their companies with iPhone, iPad and IBM MobileFirst solutions including Miami Dade County, the seventh largest county in the United States by population, and American Eagle Outfitters, which operates more than 1,000 retail stores and ships to over 80 countries worldwide. And the list of new customers is expanding rapidly. IBM is engaged with more than 130 additional companies looking to empower their employees with MobileFirst for iOS solutions and the list keeps growing. We couldn’t be more pleased with this partnership.
His enthusiasm is understandable. Both companies need this partnership to work. Apple needs to boost lagging iPad sales. IBM needs to find new revenue streams in young, growing markets like cloud, mobile, security to replace lagging sales across all of its older, more established business units. These apps run on IBM’s cloud, and give IBM an entrance to sell more mobile services to these customers, such as device security and management, and data analysis.
Meanwhile, Apple has been hiring enterprise sales reps, too.
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