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Apple joins forces with Cisco to enhance its corporate presence

01 September 2015

Apple yesterday joined hands with telecom network maker Cisco Systems Inc to enhance the performance of its iPad and iPhone devices on Cisco's corporate networks.

Cisco will provide services specially optimised for iOS devices across mobile, cloud, and on premises-based collaboration tools including Cisco Spark, Cisco Telepresence and Cisco WebEx, according to the statement released by the companies.

Apple is seeking to enlarge its foothold in the enterprise arena at a time when iPad sales are slowing while Cisco had been investing in products and services such as data analytics software, security and cloud-management tools.

Apple last year partnered with International Business Machines Corp to sell iPhones and iPads with applications geared at enterprise clients.

Apple shares dipped to $112.84 in late-afternoon trading, while Cisco dropped about 1 per cent at $25.75.

The partnership was aimed at making mobile devices work better with corporate networks using Cisco's equipment, part of Apple expansion plans in the corporate segment.

The partnership, announced yesterday by Cisco executive chairman John Chambers and Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook at Cisco's annual sales meeting in Las Vegas, will make it easier to use iPhones and iPads together with Cisco's products, including videoconferencing systems and the WebEx online meeting service.

"This is a major strategic partnership, something that neither company has done before," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group. "We have a shared vision of a completely seamless experience."

He added that engineers from both sides had been working together for 10 months, and Cisco and Apple sales staff would go on joint sales calls.

With sales of iPhones to consumers slowing, companies were emerging as a priority for Apple, according to Anurag Rana, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.

According to Apple, more than 95 per cent of large companies had employees using its products, mostly because they insisted on being able to use their personal devices for work.

Apple had only recently started to customise its products to cater to the specific needs of office workers.

"Apple's closed nature has always made it very difficult for enterprises to use iOS because they cannot customize it," Rana said.

"This could make their products somewhat more appealing to enterprise IT. The big question is how far is Apple willing to go to please the IT department, from being an absolute closed operating system. It's a step in the right direction."

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