It is no news that the consumer market for tablets, especially iPads, are drying up, with sales actually decreasing Year on Year on recent quarters, with sales decreasing by 3 million in Q1 2014 compared to a year earlier.
This leaves Apple, who has turned into a two trick pony with the iPad and iPhone, in a quandary, trying to find a solution to maintain the momentum that has made it the richest company in the world.
Enter IBM, who has been having its own troubles. Its share price is down from its recent highs after it reported a revenue decline of 3.9% year on year to $22.484 billion, and net income decline of 21.4% to $2.38 billion during its last financials on weakening hardware sales.
The solution appears for both companies to partner up and dump Apple’s unwanted tablets on enterprise.
Apple has just announced an exclusive partnership with IBM for IBM to sell Apple’s iPhones and iPads to enterprise and to support the tablets with apps which attempt to make them actually useful to companies and also to support them further with device management, security and analytics.
In return Apple will actually try and address the needs of enterprise with a new AppleCare service and a new supply and activation route for the IBM-sold devices.
The deal rather reminds me of the deal HP made to sell HP branded iPods. That of course did not go very far.
The IBM and Apple approach of course does represent a real threat to the progress of Windows Phone and tablets in enterprise. IBM has a fleet of 100,000 sales people working to sell their solutions, and as we saw in a recent article, Microsoft is only now ramping up its mobility sales teams.
Windows Phones and tablets however have a strong competitive advantage in enterprise when it comes to flexibility and cost, two important considerations for any successful company, and I suspect, just like the HP iPod, we will not be hearing much about this partnership in the near future.