With the IBM Deal, Tim Cook Takes Apple Where Steve Jobs Never Could

When Steve Jobs advised Tim Cook to "just do what's right" as CEO of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) , he had to know that could mean taking the company in a new direction. Last week brought just that sort of change when Cook inked a deal with International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM  ) to bring 100 enterprise-class business apps to iPhones and iPads.

Should investors like the move? Guest host Alison Southwick puts this question to Fool analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite technology, movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.

Cook and IBM chief Ginni Rometty didn't offer much in the way of specifics. Rather, in announcing the deal, they focused on the long term implications of the tie-up.

"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. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver," Cook said in a press release announcing the deal.

How they'll manifest that grand vision isn't yet clear. All we know for sure is that Apple and IBM plan to build software "from the ground up" for addressing the needs of specific industries. Tim says thats a boon for IBM, which gets the bulk of its revenue and cash flow from multi-year services contracts involving dozens of consultants using a wide range of tailored technology. Now they'll have the iPhone and iPad to add to their arsenals.

As impressive as those numbers are, Nathan says it's a fair bet that Jobs' ego wouldn't have allowed him to make a deal with an old enemy. That Cook went ahead in spite of history proves that he won't let tradition drive strategy. Over the long term, that's likely to be good for Apple investors.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you rate this deal? Is it a win for Apple, IBM, or both? Click the video to watch as Alison puts Nathan and Tim on the spot, and then leave your take in the comments box below. You can also follow us on Twitter for more segments and regular geek news updates!

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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