Dell, BlackBerry downplay threat from Apple-IBM alliance

Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:52pm EDT
 
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By Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, July 25 (Reuters) - IBM Corp's recent move to partner with Apple Inc to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now.

Top executives at Dell and BlackBerry Ltd scoffed at the threat posed by the alliance this week, arguing the tie-up is unlikely to derail the efforts of their own companies to re-invent themselves.

"I do not think that we take the Apple-IBM tie-up terribly seriously. I think it just made a good press release," John Swainson, who heads Dell's global software business, said in an interview with Reuters in Toronto on Thursday.

PC maker Dell and smartphone maker BlackBerry are in the midst of reshaping their companies around software and services, as the needs of their big corporate clients morph.

Swainson, who spent over two decades in senior roles at IBM, said, "I have some trouble understanding how IBM reps are going to really help Apple very much in terms of introducing devices into their accounts. I mean candidly, they weren't very good at doing it when it was IBM-logoed products, so I do not get how introducing Apple-logoed stuff is going to be much better."

While conceding that Apple products hold more allure, Swainson said they lack the depth of security features that many large business clients like banks covet.

IBM and Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen similarly downplayed the threat of the alliance in an interview with the Financial Times on Thursday, likening the tie-up to when "two elephants start dancing."   Continued...