Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) recently announced that their enterprise partnership has achieved its initial goal of building over 100 mobile business apps. The partnership, which started over a year ago, is intended to help Apple gain ground in the enterprise market while making IBM's software products more attractive to businesses.
In December alone, Apple and IBM launched 48 new apps for the automotive, chemical, petroleum, retail, and healthcare industries. IBM's portfolio of business apps now reaches 14 industries and 65 different job roles. A new iPhone app, for example, can help electrical workers share information about storm-related damage to colleagues and customers. A new iPad app helps eldercare workers quickly access medical records of elderly clients who live alone. Several other apps are specifically designed for the larger iPad Pro. All these apps can plug into IBM's Watson AI platform to access analytics and predictions.
Does it matter?
Apple needs to grow its enterprise presence because mainstream consumer demand for its iPhones and iPads could be peaking. Several analysts expect iPhone sales, which generated over 60% of its sales last quarter, to decline next year. Sales of iPads have already fallen annually for seven consecutive quarters.
Nonetheless, Good Technology reports that iOS devices accounted for 66% of all enterprise activations in the third quarter of 2015, suggesting that aggressive enterprise growth can offset slower consumer demand. IBM, which has posted 14 consecutive quarters of annual revenue declines, reported that its total software sales declined 10% year over year last quarter. Big Blue plans to reverse that decline by transitioning toward cloud-based software solutions like iOS apps. Therefore, crossing the 100-apps mark indicates that these efforts are accelerating and could strengthen both companies' long-term growth prospects.