As BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) continues trying to crawl out of the hole it dug itself into, there’s a fresh danger standing in its way. In July, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) announced that they had struck a deal to focus on enterprise customers, which of course are BlackBerry’s bread and butter.
Understandably, shares of BlackBerry tumbled right after that deal was announced.
First apps from Apple – IBM partnership released
This week the very first apps from the partnership between Apple and IBM were released. Apple has now firmly planted a foot in the enterprise market with ten new apps for enterprise customers. The ten apps fall under the umbrella of the IBM MobileFirst for IOS.
The new apps include: Plan Flight and Passenger for the transportation market; Advice & Grow and Trusted Advice, which target banking and financial customers; Retention, which is for insurance companies; Case Advice and Incident Aware for government customers; Sales Assist and Pick and Pack, which target retail customers; and Expert Tech for the telecommunications industry.
BlackBerry, Microsoft should pay attention
In a post on The Street, Chris Ciaccia explained how BlackBerry and also Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are threatened by the Apple – IBM partnership. He notes that the industry-specific apps could play a major role in the enterprise market going forward because enterprise customers tend to have very specific and unique needs.
In July analyst Ben Reitzes of Barclays said the partnership between Apple and IBM could have a severely negative impact on BlackBerry’s attempts to get back into the game. The struggling Canadian smartphone maker aims to do this by returning to its enterprise-focused roots.
He said while Apple didn’t have a strong foothold in the enterprise market, these industry-specific apps could go a long way toward shifting customers away from traditional enterprise-focused options like BlackBerry. Microsoft’s new strategy is also threatened by the Apple – IBM deal, as CEO Satya Nadella has emphasized the importance of enterprise customers for the company going forward.
How Apple will benefit
By releasing apps that target enterprise customers’ unique needs, Apple aims to further the adoption of its devices. Many of the Apple devices that are currently in use at workplaces are there because of bring-your-own-device plans in which employees use their iPhones for work purposes. Apple wants enterprise customers to actually buy its iPhones and iPads, however, which would bring it across the threshold from the consumer market into the enterprise market.
IBM benefits Apple by using its massive sales force and connections within the enterprise market to push Apple’s products into the hands of business customers. Ciaccia estimates it will take about 10 quarters before we begin to really see all of the benefits from this first wave of apps developed under the two companies’ partnership.