Apple partners with Cisco to boost enterprise business

1 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple links up with Cisco Systems in bid to sell more iPhones and iPads.

The lucrative market to serve companies — known as the enterprise business — means Apple has teamed up the old guard of tech: first with IBM last year, and now with Cisco. The partnership, announced Monday, is aimed at helping Apple’s mobile devices communicate more effectively on corporate networks where Cisco gear is widely used, the companies said.“Through this engineering and go-to-market partnership, we’re offering our joint customers the ability to seamlessly extend that awesome Cisco environment to their favorite iOS devices. They also plan to jointly work on technology to help workers with iPhones and iPads better exploit Cisco’s collaboration products, including its video- and Web-conferencing services.

But it means Apple wants to connect Cisco’s expansive corporate networks with iOS devices, which long ago started taking bits of market share away from other smartphones, like the BlackBerry, but still face an uphill battle against Android phones. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Cisco Chairman John Chambers said their companies had spent 10 months working out details of a collaboration, which they outlined to thousands of Cisco sales representatives Monday at a gathering in Las Vegas. For Apple, it’s the second recently struck partnership with a former foe aimed at boosting sales to businesses, which traditionally have steered toward BlackBerry and Microsoft devices.

Cisco, which has an office in downtown Toronto, provides products and services that connect companies to the Internet as well as communications tools for virtual conferences and meetings. It will also allow business users to more easily use Cisco Spark, TelePresence and WebEx — for popular for remote collaboration and telecommuting workers — with iOS. Cisco customers could be affected in several ways: An employee in the office using an iPhone to video-conference a colleague abroad automatically would get a faster Internet connection than someone streaming a game on ESPN.com. IPad sales have fallen for six straight quarters; revenue from iPads declined 24% in the nine months ended June 27, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Cisco will also develop products specifically for Apple’s operating system. “iPhone and iPad have become essential tools for the modern workforce and are changing the way work gets done. And several Cisco apps, such as the collaboration tool Spark, will run smoother on Apple devices. “What makes this new partnership unique is that our engineering teams are innovating together to build joint solutions that our sales teams and partners will take jointly to our customers,” Cisco Chief Executive Chuck Robbins said in a blog post. One of the big benefits of the tie-up is Apple will be stronger in its device security for corporate networks, For anyone with an iPhone, it makes obvious sense to having better integration between iOS and Cisco VPNs — which allow workers to remotely access sensitive documents and email. iOS makes it fairly easy to set-up or login to a VPN, but if you work at a company with a more stringent firewall, the process can sometimes be daunting. By signing big partnerships with IBM and Cisco in the span of 13 months, Apple is showing it’s not resting on its laurels as a maker of smartphones and devices for consumers.

Chambers, who leaned heavily on acquisitions in turning Cisco into the biggest supplier of networking equipment, said the Apple deal underscores a shift to alliances for the biggest industry players. On last week’s MashTalk, Mashable Chief Correspondent Lance Ulanoff and I discussed the way Microsoft infiltrated the home; it started by winning over enterprise and then those office workers embraced Microsoft products at home. That’s in part why technology experts who closely follow Apple expect the company to soon release a larger-screened iPad that would be better-suited for completing work tasks. Apple and Cisco said they aim to establish a “fast lane” for iOS devices in the corporate world, prioritizing wireless and Web connections so critical business applications aren’t compromised by streaming cat videos and other nonbusiness fare. Another issue, they said, is that many workers now have their phone address books on their iPhones rather than on their work desk phones, which may be supplied by Cisco.

Apple is playing matchmaker to help companies bundle apps together for small businesses—coupling, for example, a digital cash-register app with a workplace scheduling app.

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