Apple, Salesforce join forces to boost mobile business apps

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(Bloomberg) --Apple Inc. and Inc. announced a partnership Monday that aims to increase the number of mobile applications for businesses available on iPhones and iPads.

As part of the agreement, Salesforce is updating its app with Apple’s latest features, including integrating it with digital voice assistant Siri, Face ID security and Business Chat, an iMessage customer service function. The companies are also working on a software development kit that will more easily allow businesses to write apps for iPhones and iPads that run on the Salesforce platform.

“Einstein could not be more excited to be friends with Siri!,” Salesforce Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff tweeted. “This is the best of both worlds.”

Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. Salesforce shares rose 1.7 percent to $158.15 at 11:29 a.m. in New York. Apple rose less than 1 percent to $219.48.

While Salesforce has offered mobile apps for years, the new updates could boost their appeal for Apple users. For Apple, the pact may entice an affluent base of Salesforce users to hold on to iPhones to get the most out of the enterprise software, which helps manage customer relationships.

Salesforce’s new mobile app will be available in early 2019. The company will launch a mobile app version of its online learning platform, Trailhead, by the end of 2018. The new Salesforce developer kit will also be available by the end of this year.

In recent years Apple has made similar alliances with SAP SE, International Business Machines Corp., General Electric Co., Deloitte LLP, Cisco Systems Inc., and Accenture Plc.

Bloomberg News