Why the Apple-IBM Deal Matters More to Banking Than You Might Think

  • JJ Hornblass
  • July 16, 2014
  • 1

canstockphoto4506847It would be easy to dismiss the Apple-IBM partnership announced yesterday as an iPhone sales deal.

In fact, the deal has significant implications for banking and banking technology. Hear that, SAP?

At the heart of the deal is a new opportunity for Apple to sell to corporations through IBM, which owns corporate technology globally. Simply put, Apple does not have the internal resources or expertise to transform its iOS platform into an engine for commercial mobile applications. IBM does.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, explained the import of the deal, in an article in The New York Times, as follows:

The 100 or so applications [that result from the partnership] will be introduced starting in the fall.

The applications, Mr. Cook said, will bring “big data analytics down to the fingertips” of Apple iPhone and iPad users in corporations. “IBM can do that,” he said, in a way that Apple cannot.

That is, for banking applications, in particular. Cook made a point of saying that it was IBM’s security prowess that is most crucial to the partnership and to corporate iOS applications:

Industry surveys show that corporate technology managers are reluctant to put applications that can pull sensitive corporate data on mobile devices, because of security concerns. IBM has a corps of 6,000 security researchers and developers in 25 security labs worldwide — another asset IBM brings to the partnership.

“It’s clear that IBM and security go hand in hand,” Mr. Cook said.

Ms. Rometty added that the partnership would seek to “remove all the inhibitors” corporations have to adopting smart mobile applications that mine crucial business data.

This is most clearly the case for banking. Banking, above all, demands the highest degree of security, and the partnership opens the door for IBM’s security imprimatur on iOS commercials apps. Oh, and IBM has 100,000 “industry and domain consultants and software developers.” I am sure SAP heard that.

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at hornblass@gmail.com or 212-564-8972.

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