Analyst: Apple, IBM Partnership No Big Deal for iPhone Sales

Apple and IBM announced a partnership on Tuesday to push iOS deeper into the enterprise market through the MobileFirst for iOS program. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster doesn't see the team up as a big deal for Apple sales, but only because the iPhone and iPad are already being tested or deployed in nearly every Fortune 500 company.

Piper Jaffray doesn't see MobileFirst having a big impact on Apple's bottom linePiper Jaffray doesn't see MobileFirst having a big impact on Apple's bottom line

In a note to investors he said,

We do not expect the IBM partnership to have a meaningful impact on Apple's financials overall primarily based on our belief that large corporations are already utilizing iPhones. We believe that IBM will add incremental functionality for corporate customers, but is unlikely to be the make or break factor for a large corporation in utilizing iOS.

The MobileFirst for iOS program is designed to make it easier for companies to use the iPhone and iPad as part of their mobile business management system. Over 100 industry-specific apps are in development, and the program will make it easier to deploy and manage iOS devices.

Mr. Munster added that if the program convinced half of the Fortune 500 companies to buy 2,000 more iPhones and 1,000 more iPads than they originally planned, it would add only half a percent to Apple's revenue in 2015. The real benefit Mr. Munster sees in the partnership will be stronger relationships with enterprise-level companies that are using iOS devices. 

The value in building stronger relationships with Fortune 500 companies shouldn't be underestimated, and MobileFirst shows Apple's strong commitment to the market and will likely boost confidence in potential enterprise-level customers. The big money for Apple, however, will still be in consumer sales.