Apple and IBM in major deal to tackle corporate mobile market

IBM will develop apps for iOS and push Apple hardware to clients

Apple is making a big push for the corporate IT market through a partnership with IBM, which will develop iOS apps for its big data and analytics services and promote iPhones and iPads to clients.

The deal will see IBM, one of the industry's largest providers of corporate IT, develop more than 100 apps and services exclusively for Apple's iOS, the companies said in a statement Tuesday

It will also tailor its cloud services for iOS and provide iOS device activation, supply and management to its customers, including the ability to lease rather than buy Apple hardware.

Apple, meanwhile, will offer new AppleCare warranty services for enterprise customers that include 24-hour assistance and on-site support.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement that the partnership opens "a large market opportunity for Apple."

"This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver," he said.

The first IBM apps to stem from the collaboration could be out by the fall, the companies said -- which is when Apple's iOS 8 platform is expected to launch.

Initial apps will be targeted at the retail, health care, banking, travel, transportation, telecommunications and insurance industries.

The deal with IBM could provide a significant boost for Apple in the corporate sector, potentially leading to increased wide-scale deployment of its products among workers.

IBM claims three-quarters of Fortune 100 companies use its enterprise software, and it says it has enjoyed top market share for five straight years in IDC's ranking of the world's biggest enterprise social software makers.

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Martyn Williams

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