Roger Kay, principal analyst with Endpoint Technologies, agreed. "Among other things, this deal will create a legit entrée for Apple with IBM's enterprise customers," Kay told eWEEK. "Apple can't not want to improve relationships with this important segment, [which is] arguably one of the last that it has yet to conquer."
Kay also noted that IBM has no "endpoints" right now and the endpoints its customers have are mostly Microsoft, which won't be the only company impacted by Apple's pursuit of enterprise market share.
On a call with analysts, IBM made reference to "not having to deal with multiple versions of an OS, a clear dig at Google," said Kay. BlackBerry, he added, "is down for the count; they're not even a factor anymore."
Jackdaw's Dawson, however, expects BlackBerry will still have some boosters.
"BlackBerry is still considered the gold standard for smartphone security in the enterprise, but the number of companies that require that level of security, as opposed to what's available now with iOS and to a lesser extent Android, is shrinking all the time," Dawson said. "But there will always be some enterprises and government departments that want that extra layer of security, and BlackBerry will continue to fill that niche, at least for a while."
King, in his report, wrote that he expects BlackBerry's position to remain relatively unchanged, "unless IBM can help fix Apple's clear and obvious security issues."
In an email to eWEEK, King echoed Dawson, calling BlackBerry the "most secure platform for mobile computing" and the chosen solution where "security takes precedence over style."
"IBM does offer a full security framework and portfolio of services and solutions for enterprises, and I believe the Apple partnership could result in opportunities to leverage IBM's security solutions," King added. "However, that's entirely my opinion, as security wasn't mentioned or referred to in the announcement."
The full extent of the partnership's benefits may not be clear until the fall, when Apple introduces the devices that will run iOS 8 and its health care–related apps.
"As far as Apple's health initiative, this makes a lot of sense," said TBR's Gottheil. "Apple would like to sell a lot of smartwatches, but those might not be the winning medical devices. … Apple will also be happy if there are monitors that aren't fashionable but are attached to patients at the hospital, and they feed into your phone. … They mainly want to be the provider of the integrating solution, so ensure you're committing to Apple."