BlackBerry, Dell not concerned about Apple-IBM deal

blackberry john chen

You would think hearing that Apple is teaming up with IBM to push further into the enterprise space would be worrisome for competitors. But both Dell and BlackBerry, who are each in the process of reshaping their businesses, say they’re unfazed.

In an interview this week, Dell’s John Swainson said that while he thought the announcement “made for a good press release,” he fails to see how the pair can prosper. Likewise, BlackBerry CEO John Chen likened the deal to “two elephants dancing.”

Reuters has more comments from Swainson: 

“I do not think that we take the Apple-IBM tie-up terribly seriously. I think it just made a good press release,” John Swainson, who heads Dell’s global software business, said in an interview with Reuters in Toronto on Thursday.

Swainson, who spent over two decades in senior roles at IBM, said, “I have some trouble understanding how IBM reps are going to really help Apple very much in terms of introducing devices into their accounts. I mean candidly, they weren’t very good at doing it when it was IBM-logoed products, so I do not get how introducing Apple-logoed stuff is going to be much better.”

And here’s the Financial Times, who spoke with Chen:

Mr Chen said that the partnership between Apple and IBM was both good and bad news for BlackBerry. He likened the tie-up to when “two elephants start dancing”, adding that it would be interesting to see how they worked together given both companies “are used to taking charge”.

Shares in BlackBerry fell almost 5% last week following the announcement by IBM and Apple. Analysts see the deal as a direct threat to the Canadian company, who is in the middle of restructuring itself around enterprise-specific software and services.

But Chen isn’t concerned. The CEO says that BlackBerry is more nimble now than ever before, and it is currently in discussions with a few companies to strike up a partnership of its own—although he didn’t say who. Some folks think Dell is on the list.

tim cook apple ibmTim Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty  

As part of their deal, Apple and IBM will produce more than 100 apps targeting industries such as retail, healthcare, banking and travel, with a focus on security. IBM will also begin selling iPhones and iPads pre-loaded with industry-specific solutions.