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Apple's Mobility Partner Program comes out of hiding

Bob Brown | Feb. 2, 2017
"I actually know people by their real names over at Apple," says one partner building apps for iOS devices

You won’t find many public references by Apple to its Mobility Partner Program, an expanding effort by the company to unite with software developers/integrators to boost sales of iPhones and iPads to businesses. In fact, Apple reportedly has discouraged partners in years past from discussing MPP out in the open.

However, the veil of secrecy surrounding the program is thinning. Apple’s public relations department didn't acknowledge my queries about MPP, such as how long the program has actually been around. But CEO Tim Cook has begun citing the program during Apple (AAPL - NASDAQ) earnings calls over the past year: He specified in October that more than 120 partners have signed on worldwide, and that’s up from about 90 at the start of the year. (MPP did not make the cut for Cook's Q1 2017 earnings report statement on Tuesday though.)

Apple has mainly touted the really big name partners like IBM, Cisco, SAP and Deloitte that it has sealed deals with over the past few years.

"We’ve seen Apple’s ambitions in the enterprise from its partnerships with Cisco and IBM. Much of Apple’s enterprise revenue and growth can likely be tied to the IBM partnership," says Gina Luk, principal analyst with market watcher Strategy Analytics Mobile Workforce Strategies (MWS). "To date, with IBM, Apple is now involved in more than 200 deployments of its iOS app for enterprises, and it is rapidly adding more applications with partnerships and development efforts."

In Q3 2016,  Apple’s iPhone accounted for 26% of the total business smartphone shipments and iPad accounted for 31% of the total business tablet shipments, according to Strategy Analytics MWS.

Looking to exploit such numbers and perhaps emboldened by Cook’s revelations about MPP, Apple mobility partners are increasingly making themselves known. 

I’ve interviewed a handful of these Apple Mobility Partner Program members over the past week or so to get a sense of what it’s like formally sidling up to Apple via the MPP and what it has meant to their enterprise customers.

ASYNCHRONY LABS: EARLY APPLE FANBOYS

Technology solution provider World Wide Technology’s Asynchrony Labs revealed this January that it is a new member of the MPP, and the results are so far, so good, according to Bob Elfanbaum, GM and co-founder of the labs. Asynchrony Labs is a 425-person agile software development subsidiary of WWT, a business that pulls in $9 billion-plus in annual revenue.

bob elfanbaum 2
WWT Asynchrony Labs

Asynchrony Labs GM Bob Elfanbaum: "We wanted to make sure this wasn’t just a marketing thing"

 

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