My, how times are changing. Once dedicated competitors, IBM and Apple have just announced signing a wide-ranging, strategic partnership agreement to push the Apple platform into Enterprise situations.

When Apple first released iOS devices, they were intended specifically for consumers. What resulted over time is something different. CEOs started bringing iPhones and iPads into work with them and demanded that IT support them. In many ways, I think this caught Apple by surprise. And truly, Apple has accidentally changed the paradigm, inadvertently inventing the new market of BYOD. This change has the majority of other industry companies scrambling to stay relevant.

In the past, the market was split between consumer and business—and never the twain should meet. Devices were clearly defined as those for home use and those for office use. But Apple has proven it doesn't have to be that way. Now, we realize that consumers who can afford iOS devices are usually employed and they demand a single device that can do it all.

IBM, on the other hand, is recognized as a primary provider for business. And, the company's reluctance to brave the new, consumer/business fused world has made it somewhat irrelevant. In the 1990's, IBM was a leader in computing. Today, many find it hard to name a single thing the company does.

But, the company may be slowly waking up. IBM has spent the last few months building Cloud prominence through acquisitions, and with the announced partnership with Apple, it may be on the verge of a resurgence. If the partnership works, IBM could once again have something substantial to show.

Here's what the IBM/Apple partnership intends to bring:

  • Enterprise mobility: Apple and IBM will aggressively co-develop over 100 enterprise solutions, including iPhone and iPad apps. Apps will start to arrive in the fall.
  • IBM will resell iPhones and iPads to enterprises.
  • Apple and IBM will co-develop IBM Cloud services that are optimized for iOS. These services include security, MDM, and Big Data and analytics.
  • IBM will offer enterprise-specific AppleCare services for device activation and management.

For both companies, the new partnership is valuable. It could bring relevance again to IBM and provide a quick on-ramp into the modern computing industry. For Apple, it enables the company to stay focused on the experience without having to move into Enterprise support.

Best of both worlds.