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IBM to offer business apps on the iPhones and iPads that *it* will sell

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July 16, 2014

Big Blue has been following the amazing success of Apple's very popular iPhones and iPads with great interest in the past two years, and now the IT behemoth has decided that it wants part of the action.

IBM and Apple late yesterday announced a new partnership to maximize each company's strategies. Starting sometime this fall, Apple is delivering devices exclusively to IBM, which the IT giant will then integrate with industry-specific apps for business and enterprise customers.

The idea is to provide specialized Apple devices to companies in banking, health care, insurance, retail, travel and transportation, to name just a few.

Big Blue said it will carefully listen to the specific needs of its huge list of business clients spread in over 250 different industries.

IBM will then craft tailored software that addresses those distinct needs. "For the first time ever, we're placing IBM's renowned big data analytics services at Apple iOS users' fingertips, which opens up a huge market opportunity for Apple," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement, calling the new partnership "a radical step in the immediate future of both companies."

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty promised a "transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform over the long haul."

No specific date has been set yet, but beginning sometime this fall, the iPhones and iPads will only be available through IBM representatives to meet their business clients' distinct needs.

They will include a private app catalog, data security services and a lot more, Apple and IBM added.

An IBM spokeswoman said it was too early to give some examples of what kinds of business apps would be available.

The two companies also said Apple devices would use IBM's vast and powerful cloud services, which offer data storage, various enterprise services and flexible work-sharing capabilities.

The new alliance makes sense on several levels. First, industry specific apps will lock down Apple's iOS market share in the enterprise segment.

Apple's iOS market share vs Google's Android share in the enterprise segment is the inverse of the consumer space. IBM gets to package iOS apps, embed its analytics tools, and then use its vast IT services and sales channel to offer those business apps to corporations.

Then, Apple gets a key enterprise partner without having to exclusively build and market apps to corporations. And of course, IBM also gets 'Apple's cool factor' that is legendary with all its users.

Consumerization will only go so far for Apple's enterprise ambitions, so this new deal is a win-win for both companies.

Forrester analyst Frank Gillett welcomed the new alliance-- "The Apple-IBM partnership is a landmark agreement, in our view. Given IBM's strong market strength and coverage in the business apps segment, this alliance gives Apple enterprise capabilities and credibility in just one stroke, and gives IBM a premium advantage in the race for mobile enterprise leadership. Look for Google and leading enterprise suppliers to seek similar partnerships that offer a credible alternative."

But of course, Apple's and Big Blue's win will cause other companies some pain, beginning with Google's Android. That operating system has some partners in the enterprise segment, but it's also an OS that has had more than its share of security issues lately.

And the Android OS has too many different versions to contend with, making that platform a bit challenging to manage. There's a reason iOS leads in enterprise market share. Gillett's point that Google will need partnerships is well taken. The problem is that it's going to be difficult to match IBM's coverage in just one pass as this new Apple deal will demonstrate going forward.

Then you have Samsung-- The South Korean company's business-to-business (B2B) unit has been the biggest leader of Android in the enterprise segment, up until today that is. An IBM exclusive with Apple's iOS basically locks out Android in the industry specific application department.

Now let's talk about Microsoft. Up until now, the software behemoth's biggest goal was to get Windows IT departments to go with Microsoft on the mobile segment. Now IBM and Apple will simply squash those plans.

Microsoft's mobile device management and collaboration platform will still be around for a while, but expect the company to be challenged with this new IBM-Apple exclusive deal.

And BlackBerry in all of this? The struggling Waterloo, Ontario-based company is now caught right in the center of an iOS and Android enterprise war, to say the least. Although Blackberry did pioneer (to a certain degree) secure business email messaging apps about eleven to twelve years ago, that lead is now gone, most industry experts say.

Finally, Oracle and SAP will also suffer as well. Both enterprise software companies have been pushing their business apps in enterprises with a focus on industries they dominate. But for businesses thinking mobile first, and globally, they number in the millions now, IBM just plowed its way into that vast and very lucrative market in just one scoop. And Apple will also benefit handsomely with this deal as well.

In other IT news

The OpenBSD project said earlier this morning that it has released its first portable version of LibreSSL, the team's new OpenSSL fork, meaning that it can be built for operating systems other than OpenBSD (Unix).

The LibreSSL project, which its main goal is to clean up the security bugs and inscrutable OpenSSL code, was founded about two months ago by a group of OpenBSD developers, so it only makes sense that getting it running on that operating system would be their main priority.

But with the release of LibreSSL 2.0 on Friday, many of the dependencies on OpenBSD have been removed and the library can now be built for various flavors of Linux, Solaris, OS X, and of course, FreeBSD itself.

Note that this is still considerably fewer platforms than the original OpenSSL library supported. However, OpenSSL's portability approach had become one of extreme overkill, with the code incorporating numerous workarounds to make it run on such outdated platforms as VMS, OS/2, NetWare, 16-bit Windows, and even DOS.

By comparison, LibreSSL is focusing on Unix-like operating systems for now, although a Windows port may appear in the near future, we are told.

In a presentation given two months ago, LibreSSL developer Bob Beck explained that much of the initial work on LibreSSL involved deleting old code that only existed to provide support for oddball systems.

Between that effort and removing redundant and unused code, the LibreSSL group was able to shrink the size of the OpenSSL codebase by about 23 percent.

The LibreSSL developers have also worked to get OpenSSL's inconsistent source code into "kernel normal form" (KNF), a standard C coding style used by the OpenBSD project.

Additionally, although the goal of the LibreSSL project is to create a secure, drop-in replacement for OpenSSL, the developers have also tried to undo some of the OpenSSL developers' more ill-advised design decisions.

For example, the OpenSSL library relies on an odd custom memory-management layer that behaves in a few strange ways, which makes it impossible to audit the code with tools designed to flag memory management issues.

The LibreSSL team has been replacing that same code with new routines that make use of memory allocation routines from the standard C library, making it far easier to detect various bugs in the code.

The portable version of LibreSSL 2.0 is available now from the LibreSSL directory of the various OpenBSD mirror sites around the Web.

Meanwhile, work is continuing on a parallel initiative to clean up the original OpenSSL code base, a project that has been sponsored by the Linux Foundation.

The LibreSSL project, on the other hand, says it has yet to receive a stable commitment of funding.

In other IT news

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Cray said earlier this morning that it has won a $174 million contract to supply a new supercomputer to the National Nuclear Security Administration to watch over its arsenal of nuclear facilities throughout the United States.

To be sure, the Cray XC supercomputer to be provided under the agreement will be hooked up to the company's Sonexion storage system.

Called “Trinity”, the powerful system is expected to have more than 8 times the capacity of the NNSA's current supercomputer, a Cray XE-6 unit dubbed Cielo, which the TOP 500 list says has 107,152 cores and a theoretical peak performance of just over 1028 Terra Flops.

Cray says that Trinity is a joint venture between “the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories as part of the NNSA Advanced Simulation and Computing Program (ASC)”.

To be installed at Los Alamos, the Trinity supercomputer will be based on Intel Xeon Haswell processors, as well as the upcoming “Knights Landing” Xeon powerful Phi processors.

The storage system will start at 82 PB of capacity with a design throughput of 1.7 TB per second.

The computer's main task will be to conduct simulations of the U.S. nuke stockpile, helping it to understand how its weapons are holding up as they age, while avoiding the need for underground detonations of devices.

Cray says the new system will test “the stockpile’s safety, security, reliability and performance.”

Source: IBM and Apple.

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