Long-time fierce rivals IBM and Apple are getting together to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with applications aimed at business customers.
IBM will release more than 100 apps that can be used in retail, healthcare, banking, travel, transportation and telecommunications.
That is encroaching on the traditional territory of BlackBerry and the Canadian smartphone maker’s shares fell after the announcement.
IBM is attempting to shift its focus to software and services as its hardware sales continue to slump.
With the IBM tie-up, Apple addresses any concerns about smartphone software security and data privacy.
“We wanted to remove some of the existing barriers of mobile in enterprise,” Bridget van Kralingen, IBM’s senior vice president of global business services said.
She added that chief information officers worry about security, utilising cloud and installing apps in mobile devices.
The partnership, which was six months in the making, will offer services geared at security, mobile device management and big data and analytics.
The company also plans to develop cloud services optimized for Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS. The devices will operate through wireless carriers chosen by the client, van Kralingen said.
Apple and Samsung have steadily expanded their share of the mobile enterprise market in recent years, mostly at Blackberry’s expense, while Microsoft Windows phones have made little headway.
Increasingly, Apple’s expansion has been driven by employees bringing in their own devices and requesting corporate support, the so-called bring-your-own-IT trend.