Apple/IBM deal wins praise; hardware impact debated

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

The Apple (AAPL +1.2%)/IBM (IBM +2.4%) deal is a "landmark agreement," that gives Apple "enterprise capabilities and credibility at one stroke," says Forrester's Frank Gillett. He notes that while the BYOD trend has bolstered Apple's enterprise presence, the company has until now "resisted servicing enterprises" out of fear of hurting its user experience.

Endpoint Technologies' Roger Kay: "What [the deal] allows Apple to do is not change its philosophy and lay off to IBM the whole issue of, how do you make iPhones work for IT managers who actually want to be treated like a valued customer."

Tim Cook: "We’re good at building a simple experience and in building devices ... The kind of deep industry expertise you would need to really transform the enterprise isn’t in our DNA. But it is in IBM’s." He also highlights the value of IBM's 100K+ consultants/sales workers.

RBC and Canaccord both think iPhone sales could get a boost; the former is also upbeat about the premium AppleCare service that will be developed. Baird thinks the deal "could help AAPL cement iOS as the preferred platform for enterprise."

Piper's Gene Munster, however, doesn't see a huge hardware impact. "We note that if half of the Fortune 500 were to each purchase an incremental 2,000 iPhones and 1,000 iPads above what they were planning to purchase ... it would mean about a half a percent to CY15 revenue." He also expects IBM to eventually offer similar Android solutions.

The deal strengthens IBM's MobileFirst initiative, through which Big Blue is already offering a variety of enterprise mobile apps/services. An IBM exec: "We wanted to focus on creating an absolutely irresistible workflow and processes and a design of apps that can be used by every user."