Apple controls presentation in IBM partnership as salespeople use Macs, Keynote to push iOS in enterprise
While Apple and IBM's enterprise partnership is specifically about iOS devices, Apple has also insisted that IBM's salespeople use Mac hardware when making their pitches to customers, ensuring that the company's tightly integrated ecosystem remains in focus.
IBM's salespeople have been forbidden from using Windows PCs or other devices, analyst Steven Milunovich of UBS said in a note to investors on Monday. When courting potential customers, IBM salespeople are reportedly required to "only" use Mac hardware and also to use Apple's own Keynote software for any presentations.
To Milunovich, this information dictates that Apple is in control in its relationship with IBM. The two longtime rivals now target very different markets, and their lack of direct competition has made for a unique and advantageous partnership.
Milunovich sees potential upside to the Apple-IBM deal, as Apple needs help in marketing its products to enterprise customers, while IBM is looking to gain a foothold in the mobile space.
As part of the deal, IBM has been developing enterprise-focused applications for iPad that are designed to cater to businesses' targeted needs. The first ten applications released by IBM were so-called "vertical" apps, which target specific businesses in a more narrow fashion.
Those first, vertical applications focused on banking, retail, and airlines. But with more than 100 industry apps in the works, Milunovich has learned that IBM is also planning to add so-called "horizontal," or broader appealing enterprise apps over time.
Specifically, IBM is said to be working on horizontal apps such as supply chain capabilities, which he believes will further bolster the MobileFirst for iOS initiative.
With iPad sales on the decline, Milunovich admitted that Apple's tablet sales need help to return to growth. In his note on Monday, he suggested that the rumored 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" could potentially play into Apple's ongoing enterprise push.
UBS has maintained its "buy" rating for AAPL stock with a 12-month price target of $130.