IBM to sell iPhones & iPads – IDC comments

It’s all to do with MobileFirst for iOS apparently

market for MEM is evolving- delaney

If you’d asked GoMo News which was the most likely to happen – elephants flying or IBM selling Apple’s smartphones, up until now we would have gone for the elephants.  However, in a historic moment [July 15th 2014], IBM together with Apple announced IBM MobileFirst for iOS. [Read the full announcement here].This means that IBM will start selling iPhones & iPads and will develop cloud services optimised for Apple’s iOS. Apple will provide hardware support for devices through a dedicated large-enterprise AppleCare programme. How has this come about? Well, the market for is currently comprised of affluent people in developed economies – with the possible exception of China. Anyway that market is now a mature and overcrowded. So selling to affluent businesses  is the obvious answer. Below, John Delaney, associate vp for  mobility with IDC, provides a comprehensive overview of what he sees as happening.

According to Delaney, Apple’s need to develop the enterprise market for iPhones is imperative – and the same applies to iPads, albeit to a lesser extent.

Delaney says, “In search of additional markets, Apple cannot look to developing economies, or to the mass-market in developed economies, without making mid-price and low-price iPhones.

This is a move that Apple has resisted so far, and that would run counter to its very successful product strategy.

Therefore, for future iPhone sales growth, Apple will rely increasingly on enterprise customers.

Strong inroads to the enterprise have already been made by Apple, initially in combination with solutions for mobile device management (MDM) to make the devices sufficiently secure and manageable for enterprise adoption.

Hoever, the market for mobile enterprise management (MEM) is evolving as IT departments move into a more mature phase in their approach to mobility.

Rather than the heavily device-centric approaches that have predominated so far, enterprises’ mobility developments are becoming increasingly application-centric.

The fundamental reason for this is that as their attitudes mature, enterprises increasingly seek to use mobility to build competitive advantage.

Devices themselves are not a source of sustainable competitive advantage, because the same devices that are available to an enterprise are also available to its competitors.

Instead, competitive advantage stems from the things that an enterprise does with its devices; that is, from applications.

In this more mature phase, enterprises need to integrate mobile devices and applications with existing enterprise applications, software infrastructure and back-end systems.

This leads to an increasing importance, as indicated by IDC’s enterprise research, of IT service companies as preferred sources of supply for MEM solutions.

In IBM, Apple has forged a relationship with one of the strongest such partners around. As well as its cast-iron credentials as an enterprise IT brand, IBM brings to the partnership an increasingly mature set of capabilities in the area of enterprise mobility.

IBM’s capability in mobile application development is founded on Worklight, which it acquired in early 2012 and its more recent acquisition of Fibrelink adds MEM to the mobility toolset that IBM has at its disposal.

The combination of IBM’s mobility competencies, and the large investments in marketing that IBM is making in its ‘Mobile First’ practice, will provide Apple with a solid platform upon which to build and extend its enterprise business.

What does IBM get out of the deal? Most of all – huge end-user pull.

This is an increasingly important asset when pitching to the enterprise, partly because bring-your-own-device (BYOD) has, in effect, devolved some of the selection and procurement of devices to end users.

But even in enterprises that have not embraced BYOD, IDC’s research indicates that IT departments place increasing weight on end-user preferences in their mobile selection and procurement processes.

There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, if end users do not like the mobile tools their employer gives them, they have a lot of ways at their disposal to work around them.

Secondly, rollout and adoption of mobile systems is more likely to be successful if the systems use devices and applications that end users like, and with which they are familiar.

The Apple/IBM deal may itself have an impact on BYOD trends.

Already, in Europe, IDC’s enterprise research indicates that interest in BYOD may have reached a plateau.

In our most recent Enterprise Mobility Survey, the percentage of enterprises saying that they have not adopted BYOD, and do not intend to,  is almost the same as in the survey that we conducted a year previously (at just over 40 per cent).

One of the main drivers of interest in BYOD is that end users want to use iPhones and iPads for their work.

If your employer gives you an iPhone and/or an iPad, as a result of a joint sale from Apple and IBM, why would you want to bring your own?

It is likely that Apple will seek partnerships with additional IT services players, perhaps looking next at some of the systems integrators that are developing mobility practices.”

For those with long memories and experience in the IT industry, here at GoMo News we now have a new adage. “No-one will ever get fired for specifying iPhones.”

About Hans Cett

Hans Cett is an established freelance author and consultant specialising in the mobile communications industry. He also writes for Countdown2MWC - http://countdown2mwc.wordpress.com/
This article was published in Apple, IBM, Mobile Devices, mobile cloud, mobile news and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to IBM to sell iPhones & iPads – IDC comments

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