Microsoft and IBM team up for Surface-specific enterprise apps

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

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Microsoft has announced a deal with IBM to expand the Surface Enterprise Initiative and push out new apps for Surface tablets and Surface Book laptops to IBM’s enterprise customers.

The move builds on Microsoft’s deal with Dell and HP last year reselling Surface tablets to open the initiative – and has interesting overtones with Apple’s IBM collaboration announced back in 2014.

The reason for the comparison is that the Microsoft/IBM deal looks on the surface – to pardon the expression – to be rather similar. IBM will build enterprise applications tailored specifically for the Surface and for financial services and CPG/retail industries – for example, developing an app for CPG and retail which puts Power BI, Microsoft’s business intelligence suite, on Surface for greater utilisation of real-time data and better employee visibility.

“IBM will design Surface solutions that allow financial services and CPG employees to tap in to their company’s information on-the-go,” said Murray Mitchell, global leader of Microsoft services at IBM. “We’ll apply experience of over 20 years as a Microsoft strategic partner to ensure the mobile apps blend with our client’s existing infrastructures creating dynamic, new mobile experiences uniquely suited to the needs of their employees.”

The partnership from Apple and IBM, after initial scepticism of the project, reached the goal of 100 apps across 14 different industries in December last year. As Business Insider reports, the move for Microsoft to team up with IBM does not stop the Apple/IBM partnership from continuing.

“We continue to invest in our Surface family of products because we have seen how innovative devices shift people’s behaviour, inspire ideas, catalyse collaboration, accelerate progress, and transform business,” wrote Brian Hall, Microsoft devices marketing GM in a blog post announcing the news. “We know we can do more.”

 

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