It could lead to a Win-Win-Win situation, if the strategies from this partnership are executed correctly. Apple can leverage on the enormous amount of trust that IBM has built up over the decades with enterprise customers (giant banks, government, insurance, education) who are always keen to improve their mobile workforce and the first thing that comes to mind is the device. Naturally they will think iPhone and iPad. Next thing is the apps. As an enterprise IT administrator I have not seen a lot of apps in the market that are produced by IBM (although in the press release they are saying they will develop more enterprise apps in the future in conjunction with this strategic partnership).
Another interesting question is: How will BlackBerry and Good Technology react to the Apple/IBM partnership?
BlackBerry should not be too worried by this partnership since they have made it very clear that their strategy is to focus purely on enterprise and this alliance should not affect that strategic direction. Good, on the other hand, has always been focusing on mobile email and secure application delivery for highly regulated corporations. The obvious advantage of BlackBerry and Good is that they have a highly robust and proven secure network infrastructure (NOC) which Apple + IBM do not have today (not sure if they will even consider doing that). As an enterprise IT Manager I must look at security as the top priority when considering building a mobile workforce.
BlackBerry and Good Technology will remain the “go-to” brands for large banking, finance and insurance corporations and government offices when they think of mobile email. I think this is hard to change over the next few years. Even though companies nowadays are keen on promoting BYOD, they will still need a secure and robust backend (including the end-to-end network transport platform) that they can prove to regulators they conform to certain security specifications (e.g. encryption for data in motion, at rest and in processing) or data protection standards that the industry requires. However, nowadays these enterprises are not just looking at secure email but also secure apps because they want to empower their staff to do more with the device besides writing or replying emails. This trend is going to continue. Securing mobile apps is going to be a key area that MDM companies will focus on as more and more enterprises embark on BYOD and reap the benefits out of it.