The Apple-IBM enterprise partnership has yielded its first fruit. Apple has launched AppleCare for Enterprise, a support service for corporate IT departments, helpdesks and more. Take a close look at the launch information, and you'll notice IBM plays a central role in the initiative.

Under former CEO Steve Jobs, Apple was mostly a consumer products company. But under current CEO Tim Cook, Apple sees growth opportunities in the enterprise -- especially amid the continued BYOD (bring your own device) wave. At the same time, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is trying to jumpstart IBM's Global Technology Services support business.

Apple and IBM announced an enterprise mobility partnership in July 2014. Fast forward to the present and the AppleCare for Enterprise launch has emerged. The AppleCare for Enterprise services include:

  • 24 by 7 phone support with priority onsite repairs.
  • A dedicated AppleCare account manager who tracks monthly activity, IT infrastructure issues, and more.
  • IT department-level coverage for Apple hardware and software covering Mobile Device Management, Active Directory and services like IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps. This includes one-hour response times for top priority issues.
  • Extended help desk services -- positioning Apple's pros to help your help desk pros.
  • Onsite next-day hardware support from IBM Global Technology Services.
  • Device Replacement for up to 10 percent of your covered devices.

At first, Apple and IBM seem like they're from different worlds. But the two companies have worked together during previous technology waves. In the 1990s, Apple and IBM were close partners on the PowerPC microprocessor and multiple software engagements designed to counter Intel chips and Microsoft Windows. Those Apple-IBM initiatives largely failed.
The current Apple-IBM relationship involves two companies working from positions of strength. Although iPad sales suffered a recent slowdown and IBM Global Technology Services has suffered a small sales dip, both Apple and IBM remain dominant in their respective mobile and IT services markets.

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