Apple scores a big win with IBM deal

Just wait until corporate IT departments start ripping out their PC gear to install Macs and iStuff.

By Staff Jul 16, 2014 12:47PM

(From left) Apple & IBM logos © Hitij/epa/CorbisHow big a deal is the Apple-IBM deal? Wrong question. How smart is the Apple-IBM deal for Apple? Very.

I know IBM (IBM) is rallying harder than Apple (AAPL) on its newfound affiliation with the best ecosystem in the world. That's all well and good, and perhaps Ginny Rometty can spin the earnings that are reported Thursday with some Apple-infused excitement.

But to me, this is all about IT -- meaning that the objections of the IT departments are finally being met from the ground up. logoWe all know what's been going on at companies in this country for years and years. Ingrained IT people have been reluctant to support Apple, because Apple is a consumer company. It always wants us to carry around many devices. It always pleads that it is security that keeps the WINTEL system in place with its Blackberry adjunct.

We are all sick of hearing it. We -- or if you are older, like me, our kids -- would not want to buy a WINTEL device unless someone put a gun to our heads, which is exactly what the IT departments in almost all large companies have been doing for years and years.

IBM rebuts the objection. IBM is one of those shot-calling companies that shouldn't be calling the shots but just does. All of us have experienced, at one time or another, the brick wall that is IBM, which stands for "you can't use Apple in this barren ecosystem."

Now IBM will stand for "you have to retrain all of your people to support Apple, and we are no longer blessing the security issue against Apple."

Now, of course, the Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), Blackberry (BBRY) nexus has always provided a healthy discount to anything Apple. The cost of a PC and a phone from any of those companies is pretty much nil. They just want in to be able to sell you value-added products.

It will be interesting to see if companies are willing to pay to buy all Apple systems for the enterprise. Would they rather give you a cheap HP or Dell desktop and pay for your Blackberry? Or will they go all in on Apple and bet it might actually be cheaper to buy you Apple hardware for the office and sync it with your iPhone?

It amounts to what Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) have to do. They would much rather sell you a cheap Samsung phone than to have to pay full freight and subsidy for an iPhone.

Will the troops be able to clamor for the Apple ecosystem, or will they have to settle for an iPhone or a tablet or a personal computer that has to sync with the cheap stuff from Dell or HP?

That, to me, is the real question. Apple is not a Trojan horse company. It is not willing to give away anything to get an account -- not a PC and not a phone. But the IT people will be besieged with requests to allow Apple consumers to be part of the overall system, and the companies may just have to buy hardware if IBM suggests they do.

So to me, watch the wins. Watch the rip-outs. Watch the ground-up groundswell. That's what will tell you if we can really raise numbers for Apple.

Raise numbers for IBM off this? I just don't see it.

But it is hard to believe that numbers can stay the same for Apple.

And the numbers are all that matter, especially when you are dealing with a stock that sells for 15x earnings.

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Jim Cramer's Action Alerts Plus: Check out this charitable trust portfolio for the stocks Cramer thinks could be winners. The portfolio
is long AAPL.

More from TheStreet

Jul 16, 2014 1:19PM
Seems like Cramer is making this overly complicated.

When it comes to technology, most businesses just need 3 things:

#1 - hardware/software that does what you and/or your clients need it to do.

#2 - hardware/software that is cost effective.

#3 - hardware/software that is user friendly, efficient, adaptable, dependable and durable.

Apple may make great products, but if a small business has to pony up thousands of dollars per employee to get on board, that could easily be prohibitive.  This is especially true since much of the hardware adaptability isn't universal, ie one type of charger plug needed for one device and a completely different size plug for the next generation of that same device, etc...  Not to mention, if many of your clients aren't willing to get on board, that can leave you in a bad spot.

Jul 16, 2014 1:25PM
Maybe Apple will start receiving the same amount of attention from the hackers that they have given the PC world.
Jul 16, 2014 1:34PM
Cost is king. Until Apple competes on cost, they will not displace the WINTEL platform.

Edit: Apparently, Cramer manages a portfolio that is "long" Apple. Big surprise!
Jul 16, 2014 1:55PM
Nobody is holding gun to my head, yet I like windows product. I like apple too. Both are good for different purposes. Don't want to be a slave to Apple kingdom.
Jul 16, 2014 2:39PM
Well Jimmy boy, I'm writing this on my 3 year old Toshiba notebook that cost $1000 after finding your rantings about Crapple and I've Been Moved on my Lumia 900 Windows Phone MSN web page. I retired in 2010 after making a nice little living for 44 years in enterprise IT and putting up with dumb critics and monkeys like yourself acting like they knew what's best for the enterprise. You see Jimmy boy Apple doesn't have an enterprise IT ecosystem but IBM does and IBM doesn't have a consumer ecosystem but Apple does.  If you want to see the real and only enterprise ecosystem that's been dumbed down for consuming individuals like you than look at Microsoft.  Hopefully, Apple and IBM create lots of demand for Windows servers powered by Intel chips,  Have fun with your overprice Apple iToys.   PS  Most IT users are paid to work at enterprise not run it by failed democracy.
Jul 16, 2014 2:14PM
The iOS gui interface is just too slow for business.  On a PC or laptop, I can work rings around a mac user - to do REAL work.
Jul 16, 2014 3:08PM
The Street .com staff are Apple bigots and trolls!
Jul 16, 2014 3:29PM
"It is not willing to give away anything to get an account -- not a PC and not a phone. But the IT people will be besieged with requests to allow Apple consumers to be part of the overall system, and the companies may just have to buy hardware if IBM suggests they do."

Jimmy, Apple products have to be the most overrated keeping up with the Jones products ever produced. Companies buy what ever hits the Bottom Line best and they aren't that concerned about what IBM or anyone else suggests they do.
Jul 16, 2014 3:04PM
As an IT Admin I'm always amused by people who feel the need to think one OS is better than the other. They both have their place Apple for the arts and Windows for business. Where were all these know-IT all's when nobody wanted to be in IT just a few short years ago.
Jul 16, 2014 5:13PM
One day IBM will wake up with a hickey and wonder why it got in bed with Apple.
Jul 16, 2014 4:07PM
It's just junk, Cramer. Very soon the sucker generation buying all the toys will swap that crap for food. Tech is a train wreck built on fake money. 
Jul 16, 2014 4:10PM
We were able to hang in there nicely today; manipulators leaving the floor in a foul mood, too bad for them....They thought it would be another yesterday, glad it wasn't, buyers did their thing, now lets hope we can follow this up tomorrow....Easier said than done.
Jul 16, 2014 6:17PM


Who cares?  Today was "dog pile on Conoco" day.



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