Watch out Blackberry, the iPhone is coming to eat your lunch — again.
Blackberry has already ceded the consumer smartphone market to Apple and others. The company has rebounded by refocusing on their core enterprise customer. But now Apple wants a piece of that business too — and it has another rich partner in IBM.
On Tuesday afternoon, Apple and IBM announced a partnership to build enterprise apps designed exclusively for iPhones and iPads. The collaboration is expected to bring more than 100 apps to iOS with IBM providing the cloud services.
Together, the pair hope to combine strengths — Apple’s consumer device know-how with IBM’s sterling enterprise reputation. As part of the agreement, IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads, preloaded with “industry-specific solutions” to business clients. It’s all a far cry from the days of 1983, when Steve Jobs literally flipped the bird to IBM.
But it’s also trouble for Blackberry, who recently doubled-down on the enterprise market with their QNX software. Blackberry shares surged last week after its efforts to get in on the burgeoning health care devices market in India were revealed.
Now those shares have done a U-turn, sinking about 8.5% in Wednesday morning trading. The stock is still up nearly 40% in 2014, but Blackberry investors can’t like seeing two tech behemoths entering the business space with such force. Blackberry was nearly destroyed by Apple the first time. Can they survive round 2?
“The partnership’s software around data security and device management pose immediate threats to mobile device management (MDM) software solutions deployed by firms such as BlackBerry,” Morningstar analyst Brian Colello wrote in a new note. ”Even if Apple-IBM’s security ‘mousetrap’ isn’t as good as ones offered by BlackBerry and others, these MDM vendors will have to overcome the extremely high hurdle of displacing IBM’s mobile device software preloaded on iPhones and iPads.”
In a statement, Blackberry responded to the Apple-IBM alliance with fierce words, saying it ”only underscores the ongoing need for secure end-to-end enterprise mobility solutions like those BlackBerry has delivered for years. Enterprises should think twice about relying on any solution built on the foundation of a consumer technology that lacks the proven security benefits that BlackBerry has always delivered.”
Meanwhile, Apple shares rose 1% and IBM shares went up 2%.