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Apple’s Cisco, IBM Partnerships Lay Groundwork for Enterprise Payoff

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Lynn HaberApple CEO Tim Cook has a lot to boast about this week — not only did the company post its highest ever quarterly revenue figures, but boosted by its partnerships with established vendors Cisco and IBM, claimed an expanding foothold in the enterprise.

Apple reported Q1 2017 revenue – for the three months ending December 31 – of $78.4 billion, compared to $75.9 billion for the same quarter last year. The bulk of the Silicon Valley giant’s sales – 64 percent – were outside of the U.S.

“We’re thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, services, Mac and Apple Watch,” said Cook in a statement. “Revenue from services grew strongly over last year, led by record customer activity on the App Store, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

But, the vendor’s recent partnerships with IBM in 2014 and Cisco in 2015 have provided some fuel to propel Apple into enterprise accounts — just as Cook hoped when he announced the agreementz. More recent partnerships, in 2016, with SAP, combine native apps for iPhone and iPad with the SAP Hana platform, and Deloitte LLP, which introduced a new Apple practice.

In July 2014, when IBM MobileFirst for iOS – a foray by the two companies to develop business applications that focused on improving enterprise mobility and bringing IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to the iPhone and iPad – was announced, Cook acknowledged a new and large market opportunity for Apple, poised to accelerate the company’s fortunes.{ad}

“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,” Cook said at the time. “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.”

By mid-December 2015, Apple and IBM announced that they had built more than 100 industry specific mobile apps – for retail, health care, banking, travel, transportation, telecommunications and insurance – as promised when the partnership was launched.

The Apple-IBM effort is grounded in four key capabilities:

  • A new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  • Unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • New AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and,  
  • New packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

Following on the heels of Apple’s IBM partnership, the vendor announced on Aug. 31, 2015, that it was teaming up with Cisco to optimize Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps, integrating the …

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… iPhone with Cisco enterprise environments and providing unique collaboration on the iPhone and iPad.

“iOS is the world’s best mobile platform, and nearly every Fortune 500 and Global 500 company today has put iOS at the center of their mobile strategy,” Cook stated at the time, adding that “the iPhone and iPad have become essential tools for the modern workforce and are changing the way work gets done. Together with Cisco, we believe we can give businesses the tools to maximize the potential of iOS and help employees become even more productive using the devices they already love.”{ad}

With the introduction of iOS 10 the following year, Apple optimized how the iPhone and iPad communicate with a Cisco wireless network; created a “fast lane” for critical business apps; and made Cisco Spark on iPhone a seamless experience.

All of this bodes well for partners as more Apple products in the corporate environment means increased solution sales opportunities as well as services around things like security, backup, etc.


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