Sources: Apple Is Buying More IBM Products And Drinking The IBM Enterprise Kool-Aid


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Apple is buying and deploying an increasing amount of IBM technology for internal use, in a sign of how the vendors' mobile enterprise partnership is spreading to new areas, sources familiar with the matter told CRN this week. 
 
Apple is using IBM software and hardware in its retail platform and in its corporate data centers, according to the sources.
 
"Apple and IBM will not call out this work as part of the partnership, but there is momentum at Apple to adopt more of the IBM stack," a source familiar with the partnership told CRN, speaking on condition of anonymity because the details are confidential. "IBM is becoming one the top software vendors to Apple." 
 
IBM has an internal team of about 25 salespeople that focuses on selling technology to Apple. That team is forecasted sell $82 million in IBM technology to Apple for fiscal 2016 -- a year-over-year increase of 22 percent -- said one source, who didn't want to be named because the sales figures are confidential. That team generated around $67 million in revenue during the Armonk, N.Y.-based vendor's fiscal 2015, which ended Dec. 31, the source said.
 
 
Sources said Apple's investment in IBM technology shows that it has bought into IBM's strategy of using data analytics, storage and cloud services to tackle business challenges. 
 
An IBM spokeswoman declined to comment on the sales figures, and Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.
 
Apple CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams are particularly interested in IBM's Watson cognitive computing technology, and have held high-level discussions with IBM about using its data analytics in Apple's long-rumored electric car project, as well as in health care and manufacturing offerings, the sources said. 
 
IBM last April said it would support Apple's ResearchKit, an open-source framework for medical researchers and developers, on its Watson Health Cloud, one of several efforts underway to commercialize the Watson technology in various industry segments. 
 
Big Blue is also helping Apple recognize the usefulness of solutions comprising multiple technologies, said the source. "IBM has a way of linking its products together better than most vendors," the source said. "IBM isn't really best-of-breed in any one technology area, but together, its different pieces fit well together."
 
IBM said in December it has jointly developed more than 100 iOS apps with Apple focused on dozens of different professions, including aviation, health care and utilities. IBM's SoftLayer cloud supports Apple's Swift programming language for building mobile apps.
 
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