Apple is working with mobile device management shop MobileIron to help deploy applications into the enterprise. The collaborative effort is part of a larger enterprise push by Apple that has it working with IBM and a number of other firms that sell products into the enterprise.
The IBM deal has led to the release of 25 IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps focused on supporting customers in several sectors. This past April, Apple expanded the partnership by allowing IBM greater integration of the HealthKit and ResearchKit data into Watson-based apps for customers in the medical field. IBM hopes to deliver nearly 100 enterprise-friendly iOS apps by the end of the year.
In its recent earnings call this April, Apple said that it is “working closely with more than two dozen other leading business software and solution providers including Box, Docusign, Microstrategy, Revel, and ServiceMax to bring a broad range of innovative mobile solutions to more customers on iPad.”
The company’s mobile enterprise push is evident across its developments for iPad — the addition of split-screen work in iOS 9 and potentially larger tablets both indicate that Apple wants iPad to fit better into enterprise environments. It’s also worth noting that Apple said that the iPad has “consistently been the number one tablet in the enterprise.”
However, overall iPad sales for Apple have been lackluster in recent quarters. Presuming some form of consumer saturation, it makes business sense that Apple would seek to expand its sales in other areas.
The company’s work with MobileIron, along with Box, DocuSign and Xero, is part of that effort. I spoke with the CEO of MobileIron, Bob Tinker, who said that his company is building a product called OneTouch to help large companies deploy apps onto their mobile devices. That dovetails with Apple’s work with other enterprise-facing firms. Even if they build compelling applications, without deployment and management tools, those apps might face limited deployment.
According to Tinker, Apple is sending partners to his firm to help them get their apps deployed. Unsurprisingly, Tinker said that his firm is “excited to be working with Apple.” Given the sheer scale of Apple, it’s easy to believe that statement.
Separately, TechCrunch has learned that the enterprise app push will involve “packages” of applications bundled together.
Details of the undertaking are scarce. Apple did not respond to several emails on the matter. I’ve heard conflicting things on whether or not the effort even has a formal name, for example.
MobileIron went public last year at $9 per share. The company’s shares initially rallied, but took a sharp hit after the firm missed investor expectations following its most recent earnings report. MobileIron competes with Good Technology and others in its space.