Apple and IBM's partnership means big things for retail

Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) announced an exclusive deal that will introduce new business apps to the iPhone and iPad. The enterprise-specific apps for Apple's iOS will be aimed at companies in the retail, healthcare and transportation industries, among others.

The two companies intend to redefine the way work gets done and set the bar for mobile business solutions. Tools will include security, analytics and device management.

"IPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "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. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver."

It is also a meaningful partnership for retailers. The ease of Apple's iOS combined with IBM's data and analytics capabilities should help simplify big data for merchants.

"Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions," said Ginni Rometty, IBM president and CEO. "This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM's leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services. 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."

"We are saying these [apps and services] will be specifically for the iPhone and iPad," a spokeswoman for IBM told PCWorld when asked what's "exclusive" about the deal. "They are the best mobile devices in the world, from our view."

The partnership will give Apple a foothold in the business world while helping IBM to shed its corporate image and maybe end eight consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue declines, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The solution could have ramifications for rivals Google, Microsoft and BlackBerry as Apple makes its mobile platform more enterprise-friendly.

For more:
-See this Apple press release
-See this PCWorld article
-See this Wall Street Journal article

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