Alexander Wissel: Many analysts are trying to figure out what to make of the news that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is partnering with International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) to provide business solutions, applications and technology.
IBM is a leader in cloud services, data solutions and business management products. Apple is a leader in consumer technology products. Working together, IBM gets to shed its older, boring products image, while Apple gets to leverage IBM’s business solutions know how.
IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty emphatically stated that both IBM and Apple are on the same page with their goals to “transform the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.” It’s not just marketing copy either, both firms have challenged the status quo, and won, for years.
This partnership looks to provide Apple’s devices, with pre-loaded and jointly created software and apps, to IBM sales representatives. Both of these companies would be able to tap into new markets and expand their current footprints – without impacting their core businesses.
The companies are targeting the healthcare, banking, insurance, retail, travel and transportation industries.
In a joint interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Ginni Rometty yesterday, they gave an oft-used example of the iPad application with airline pilots, and expanded upon it.
Airline pilots in the transportation industry were one of the first groups to employ iPads to replace stacks of flight manuals. It simplified pilots information access, it provided ease of updating by the airlines, and it was cost effective because it shaved hundreds of pounds off their flights.
Now imagine that that same airline pilot, with enhanced IBM business intelligence solutions, can make a judgment call on whether the fuel tanks need to be topped off based on current reserves and flight plans.
If a pilot could decide that the fuel reserve was more than adequate, they could prevent tens of thousands of pounds of additional fuel from being loaded, and save money by flying lighter.
It’s information technology in the hands of people that can use it.
Tim Cook said, “For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple.” He added that this partnership was “a radical step.”
It’s just the kind of big picture, long-term thinking that investors like to hear. This partnership has the real potential to upend a number of industries in drastic ways.